Need A Protein Boost? There’s More Options Than You Think…
Ok, you’re getting a bit more serious with your fitness, increasing the reps, dialling in your workout routines and taking some interest in your nutrition. The chances are, you’ve probably already worked out that getting your daily protein is an absolute must, especially if you’re wanting to build lean muscle.
But does that mean you need to eat shed-loads of meat? Do you really need to bring out that inner caveman? If you’re not eating a whole cow every single day you’re not going to build muscle, right? Wrong!
You’d be surprised by how many protein sources there are and just how easily it is to meet your daily protein goal, just by following a balanced diet. Here’s our guide to the best sources of protein for women…
Meat & Fish
Chicken is one of the big hitters when it comes to protein, typically offering 30g+ of protein per 100g, with 20g per 100 calories more than achievable. This is particularly handy if you’re on a restricted calorie diet, or defecit, looking to cut down for the summer. We’re massive fans of chicken here at BG as it’s just so versatile, the only downside being the relatively high cost.
If you’re looking to include chicken in your diet, we recommend sticking to lean, skinless and fresh cuts, such as breast or thighs (which are super juicy in curries!). Stay clear of frozen, bulk buy chicken breasts, they may look like pretty good value for money, but they’re often artificially bulked with water and salt.
Pork has seen a major boost in popularity over the past few years, thanks to it’s comparatively low cost against chicken. If you’re using pork, celebrate it’s differences to chicken, instead of trying to replicate it! Pork loin steaks, pork shoulders and loin fillets are all packed with flavour.
Surprisingly, pork can offer very similar protein per grams as chicken, roughly 30g per 100g.
Whilst pork is a lean meat, processed pork such as Spam, Salami and Chorizo are higher in fats and carbohydrates so should be eaten in moderation.
We had to include Tuna in our Meat & Fish list because a) it’s pretty good value for money and b) it’s so god damn tasty!
At 16g of protein per 100 calories and 29g of protein per 100g Tuna is a staple of any muscle building diet and should be part of yours too! At around £2 per tin, it’s a pretty cheap and easy way to add protein to your diet, ideal in salads or on jacket potatoes.
As well as being protein rich, Tuna is also packed with healthy fats and oils, which can improve digestion and promote healthy skin and joints; win/win!
Other Meats & Fish
OK, we’ll be honest, pretty much all lean meat and fish offers a pretty good source of protein. In fact, we’re big advocates of natural protein sources, so, realistically, the majority of your protein should come from sources such as meat and fish.
You can’t really go far wrong introducing a bigger portion of meat or fish into your diet to boost your protein levels, just remember a few key things;
- Avoid processed meats, they wont offer a lean source of protein
- Avoid fattier cuts, or at least factor these into your nutrition
- Oily fish is good for you in moderation
- Avoid added extras such as breaded or battered fish or chicken
- Frozen meats will often include bulking such as salt or water
Dairy products are another great source of protein, which are generally a good source of healthy fats too. Obviously, dairy products, being generally higher in calories per 100g than meats, should be eaten in moderation, but they’re a definite go to if you’re looking to give your daily protein levels a real boost.
Did we mention that dairy is super tasty too? Who doesn’t love a breakfast yogurt or a bit of cheese on toast?
Isn’t milk brilliant! (Sorry, we may be showing our age with that reference). Seriously though, milk is a diet staple which can boost your daily protein count pretty easily.
Which type of milk you use really depends on personal preference and goals, but keep in mind that skimmed, semi-skimmed and full fat milk have different macro splits, so they’ll offer slightly differing results; particularly important if you’re tracking your diet down to finer details.
Cheese comes in all shapes and sizes, different strengths and different textures, so we’re sure there’s a cheese out there for you. Whilst most are high in fat, cheese offers a pretty impressive protein breakdown, with Parmesan for example packing 18g per 100 calories! It’s also worth keeping in mind that some fats, in moderation can benefit your body; making cheese a good ‘all rounder’ to add to your diet.
Beware of processed cheeses such as cheese slices (are they even real anyway?) which will be a pretty poor return on your calories.
If you’re looking to mix in some protein rich foods with your breakfast and set you up for the day, you can’t go far wrong with Natural Yogurt. A typical cupful delivers around 9g of protein.
Try mixing natural yogurt with oats and fruits for a super filling, nutrition rich start to your day.
Head into any bodybuilding gym and you’ll soon pick up on the god like status eggs have when it comes to building muscle. All claims are well and truly founded!
A single egg packs around 6-7g of protein, with added extras such as vitamin D, helping boost your immune system and choline which helps metabolism. There’s some debate around eating the whole egg, or just whites and, whilst the yolk includes healthy cholesterol, if you’re getting really granular with your nutrition, you’ll need to factor this in.
Most supermarkets now sell egg whites, including liquid whites which are a super easy way to pump up your protein.
Protein Powder & Supplements
Protein powder is, by far, the most popular fitness supplement on the market and with good reason; it offers eye watering protein at a low cost, that’s easy to use.
Protein powders come in all shapes and sizes, with blends available to suit most goals, including lean muscle building, bulking and cutting. Typically, protein powders will deliver around 20g of protein per serving, with some women’s protein powder serving 30g in one shake!
All In One Whey Protein is a good ‘all rounder’ if you’re looking to add a balanced supplement to your daily schedule, which is what most beginners opt for. If you’re vegan or following a gluten free diet don’t worry, there’s plenty of protein powder out there for you too!
The Wrap Up
By now, we’re pretty sure we’ve convinced you; protein sources come in all shapes and sizes! At the end of the day, the basics always ring true; maintain a healthy, balanced diet and you’ll not go far wrong; including your daily protein intake.
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