If you’re someone looking to put on muscle and size, we all know the two main ingredients required are an effective gym program and a solid intake of protein. The most widely consumed sources of protein are animal-based whole foods – such as chicken, beef or turkey – although it has been proven you can consume a significant amount of protein on a plant-based diet too – or protein powders added into smoothies and shakes.
It’s worth noting, however, that some food labels can be a little deceiving when it comes to the actual amount of protein you can expect to consume in certain products, so you may need to err on the side of caution if you’re someone who religiously counts their calories, and make adjustments where needed.
To help give you an extra top up throughout each day, fitness coach James Kew says snacking can be the way forward.
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Taking to Instagram with a recent post, James admits it can be difficult for many to hit their protein goals – which are worked out based on their current body composition and ideal targets – but some simple changes to your daily meal plan can make small but significant differences.
“Have a veggie burger and some feta cheese wrapped up inside a lavash, and you have a quick and easy 35g of protein!”, he provides as an example.
“Hitting your protein targets doesn’t need to be difficult, and it certainly doesn’t need to be brogan. Plenty of people will tell you to avoid bread, but not all bread is created equally. There are some amazing options out there, and some can provide you with a nice little protein boost.”
“High protein doesn’t need to mean 20+ grams of protein. If you add in foods throughout your day with some extra protein, it can add up quickly.”
“It’s a great idea to build meals around a major protein source, but if getting in enough protein is difficult for you, adding in foods [such as those in the Instagram post] can be extremely beneficial. 9-10 grams of protein may not seem like much, but it can really add up and be a huge help.”
He lists edamame, lavash bread, chickpea pasta, light string cheese, fat-free feta cheese, whole wheat bread, fava beans, black bean burgers, low carb flour tortilla, nutritional yeast, pumpkin seeds and lentils as potential sources of convenient-to-add protein.
His message is certainly valid, and can carry over to other food groups such as carbohydrates and healthy fats. While you will still likely want your protein target to be the highest, introducing extra carbs and fats via snacks throughout the day can all help you reach your overall calorie target (if you’re looking to bulk).
It may seem counterintuitive, that eating more can help you in your quest for gains, as you’ll likely assume you’ll just end up putting on extra body fat through the carbs and fats the majority of foods also contain. But as long as you’re sticking to a rigorous gym routine full of various workouts, you’ll use up the extra energy you’re feeding your body.