This diet is said to help maintain satiety and improve appetite control, thus reducing the total amount of calories you consume daily . A high-protein diet can also promote muscle growth and increase muscle mass and lean body mass .
If you wish to start a high-protein diet, here are some of the best tips and strategies to help you increase your protein intake and achieve your health goals.
Tip #1: Set Your Protein Intake Goals.
Many people on a high-protein diet decrease their consumption of carbohydrates to compensate for the increase in calories from proteins.
Before you begin meal planning and prepping for a high-protein diet, it’s essential to understand your body’s needs and the amount of protein you should consume each day on this diet.
While there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules dictating how much protein to eat on this diet, a good place to start is consuming enough proteins to meet 20-25% of your total energy requirements daily. One gram of protein delivers around 4 calories. So, if you eat a total of 2000 calories each day, this equates to about 100 grams of protein daily.
You can also use your body weight to calculate your protein intake goals. Based on the Dietary Reference Intake report for macronutrients, the current recommendation is 0.8g/kg of body weight daily for adults. However, many experts agree that this amount of protein may not be enough for all individuals. Some research has also discovered that diets providing between 1.2 and 1.6 grams of protein per kg each day can help to maintain and improve lean body mass .
In other words, you should generally consume a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kg daily. However, you may consume up to 1.6 grams per kg daily to reap the benefits of a high-protein diet.
Once you’ve determined your daily protein intake goals, you’ll have a concrete target to work towards when planning your meals.
Tip #2: Spread Your Protein Intake Across the Day
Some research has found that consuming a moderate amount of protein during each meal is more beneficial for muscle growth and repair compared to skewing your protein intake towards one evening meal . Of course, having a balanced amount of protein during each meal will not improve muscle-related outcomes if you do not increase your protein intake at all .
Distributing your daily protein intake across several meals will also make it easier to increase your overall protein consumption each day.
Tip #3: Go for High-Quality Sources of Proteins
Try to avoid highly-processed, high-sodium meats, such as ham, sausages, bacon, and salami.
Instead, opt for high-quality sources of proteins that aren’t saturated with unhealthy fats or sugars. One good example of a high-protein food is lean meat, such as chicken breast or turkey breast.
Other healthy protein-rich foods include the following:
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yoghurt
- Legumes, chickpeas, and beans
- Almonds, pistachios, and other nuts
- Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and other seeds
- Certain veggies, such as Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, broccoli, beans, and corn
Some of these sources of proteins are also rich in essential nutrients, including healthy fats, fibre, minerals, and vitamins. For instance, nuts and seeds are excellent sources of fibre, magnesium, zinc, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin E.
Tip #4: Stock Up on High-Protein Snacks
Apart from helping you meet your daily protein consumption goals, high-protein snacks can also keep you fuller for longer. In fact, researchers have found that eating high-protein and less calorie-dense snacks may improve appetite control, satiety, and the regulation of your calorie intake .
Here are some healthy high-protein snacks to add to your shopping list:
- Cottage cheese and fruits
- Roasted chickpeas
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Steamed edamame
- Apple slices with almond butter or peanut butter
- Chia seed pudding
- Almonds and other nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chicken breast salad
- Protein shakes
Tip #5: Include Different Sources of Proteins in Your Diet
Complete protein sources contain all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. On the other hand, incomplete protein sources do not contain all nine amino acids.
Animal proteins are often complete sources of proteins. Some examples of complete protein sources include the following:
- Dairy products
- Certain soy products, such as edamame and tofu
Here are some examples of incomplete protein sources:
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
If you’re leaning toward a plant-based or vegan diet, it’s important to vary your consumption of different protein sources to ensure you get all the amino acids your body needs. That’s because plant-based proteins tend to lack one or more essential amino acids.
Tip #6: Try Bulk Prepping Your Meals
If you don’t have the time or energy to create and follow a high-protein meal plan during the weekdays, batch-prepping your meals in advance is a practical solution.
Most foods can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months, though there are, of course, exceptions to this. What’s safest is to follow the guidelines for storing foods in the fridge and freezer provided by FoodSafety.gov.
Instead of meal-prepping different recipes each day, double two or three recipes and alternate between them throughout the week. This will make the process a lot simpler and quicker. It will also help to label the containers of each meal with its name, the date it was made, and any specific re-heating instructions.
Tip #7: Get More Protein in Your Breakfast
Another way to increase your protein consumption and achieve your daily intake goals is by having a protein-rich breakfast. There are various ways you can do this, and some examples are included below:
- Swap out cereal for hard-boiled eggs
- Make high-protein pancakes by adding protein powder to your pancake mix
- Eat toast with high-protein foods, like smoked salmon or scrambled eggs
- Add peanut butter, nut butter, or protein powder to your breakfast smoothies
- Top your oats with blueberries and Greek yoghurt
A high-protein diet is not suitable for all population groups. But for most healthy people, it can be one method of promoting weight loss and muscle gain.
Suppose you’re making significant changes to your diet plan. In that case, it’s always best to consult your nutritionist, dietitian, or healthcare professional beforehand, especially if you have any medical conditions or are on any medications. Some research has also found that a high-protein diet might not be safe for pregnant mothers .
If you’re struggling to find the time and energy to meal prep healthy, high-protein meals each day, meal prep providers offer a fantastic solution. They deliver nutritious, ready-made meals right to your doorstep so you can fulfil your daily protein intake goals without the fuss of cooking or meal planning.
Some meal prep providers in Australia that offer high-protein meals include:
Planning to get started on a high-protein diet?
Feel free to check out our complete guide to a high-protein diet for beginners and our list of the top high-protein foods and high-protein snacks to stock up on.
Explore in more detail
- A Beginner’s Guide to the High-Protein Diet
- High Protein Foods for Muscle Gain and Weight Loss
- Best High-Protein Snacks for Weight Loss, Muscle Gain, & Satiety
- Highest Protein Vegetables
- Top High-Protein Meal Plans for a High-Protein Diet
- High-Protein Diet Tips for Beginners
- 10 Cheap Ways to Add Protein to Your Breakfast
- High-Protein Diet for Weight Loss: What Does Research Say?
- High-Protein Diet Side Effects and Risks
- High Protein Foods for Muscle Gain and Weight Loss