One of the main components to have as part of a balanced diet is protein. We need protein for our muscles, bones, and the rest of your body.
So how much protein do we actually need? The Institute of Medicine recommends getting between 10% - 35% of total calories from protein. A diet high in protein generally is defined as consuming 25% - 30% of calories from protein.
Protein recommendations vary based on your activity level and health status. On average, 0.8 – 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight is recommended to promote fullness and weight loss. So on average, a healthy sedentary man will need about 56 grams per day and a healthy sedentary woman will need about 46 grams per day.
If you are active where you workout 3-5 times weekly, I would suggest to consume between 1.0 – 1.2 grams per kilogram.
However, 1.2 – 1.7 grams per kilogram is suggested if you’re an endurance athlete, and 1.4 – 1.8 grams per kilogram is recommended if you are a strength athlete.
The best sources of protein are meats, fish, eggs and dairy products. They have all the essential amino acids that your body needs. For Vegans, of course you may still fulfill your protein requirements through high protein plant-based food such as nuts and seeds, quinoa, oatmeal, legumes, tofu, beans, tempeh, spinach and more. So how can we add more protein into our diet?
1) Protein Bar
- If you are busy and active, the most convenient way to add more protein into your diet is of course to add protein powder either into your shakes or any snacks. If you prefer to chew like me, then you can opt for protein bars.
- What I have here are RXBars. They are a great filling, portable snack which you can have post-workout and may also prevent you from munching on junks when you are feeling hungry.
- It comes in 4 different flavours: Apple cinnamon, blueberry, my favourite, coconut cacao and coffee cacao; and it’s 100% Paleo and natural. (They do not contain grains, added sugar, gluten, soy, dairy or any artificial ingredients)
- Each bar has about 220 calories and 15g of protein. I’m sure you know that I’m all about using minimum natural ingredients to make healthy delicious recipes. One RXBar has no more than 8 ingredients and the main 4 ingredients are 4 egg whites, 1 date, 1 fig and 8 almonds.
- Because it is high in protein and fibre, one bar is enough to keep hunger at bay. I would recommend you to keep one bar in your purse in case of emergency. so if you have a busy morning and have no time for breakfast or snack, you can have one RXBar to keep you going through the day.
- Try them out and let me know your favourite flavor.
My current favourite breakfast or snack to go is my 2 ingredients Chocolate Muffins.
2) Chocolate Muffins (Serves 6)
Yes, you only need 2 ingredients to make these extremely delicious chocolaty muffins.
- 2 Eggs (156Cals, 12g protein)
- 100g Dark Chocolate Bar (504Cals, 4.7g protein)
1) Separate the egg white and yolk.
2) In a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate pieces. Allow it to cool down for about 5 minutes.
3) Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius or 340 Fahrenheit.
4) In the meantime, beat the egg white with a hand mixer until soft peak.
5) Once the chocolate is cool, combine the melted chocolate and egg yolks in a separate bowl.
6) Then slowly fold in the egg white and mix well.
7) Place the chocolate mixture in a muffin tray and bake for 30 - 35 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
DONE! You can make them overnight, keep them in the fridge, and have 2 or 3 muffins for breakfast. Or pack them in a container and take them with your to school or work. Each muffin has 110cals and 2.8g of protein. Nobody would believe that this is actually healthy with only 2 ingredients! This is perfect to satisfy your chocolate cravings.
Another extremely easy breakfast or snack-to-go is my No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
3) Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (serves 16)
This recipe takes less than 5 minutes to make and they are a great healthy substitute to your store bought cookies without all the processed ingredients. They are soft and naturally sweetened. Believe me, you would want to eat the entire batch after taking your first bite. So be warn! The ingredients you’ll need are:
- 1 can Chickpeas, washed & drained (290Cals, 17.2g protein)
- ¼ cup (64g) Peanut Butter (390Cals, 16.25g protein)
- 2 tbsp. Honey (128Cals)
- 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract (24Cals)
- 1/3 cup (50g) Chocolate Chips (256.5Cals, 2.9g protein)
- Combine chickpeas, peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Then transfer the dough to a bowl and fold in the chocolate chips.
- Next, use a measuring spoon, form 16 mini cookie dough balls and place them on a baking sheet.
- You may choose to freeze them until solid or chill them in the fridge for a softer texture.
Or, just eat immediately! Chickpeas are used as the foundation to this healthy cookie dough but don’t worry you can barely taste the chickpeas. Peanut butter adds a slight nutty flavor, or you may replace it with almond or cashew butter. You can also replace the chocolate chips with seeds or even dried fruits. So experiment with your favourite ingredients.
Each mini cookie dough only has 68Cals and 2.5g of protein. Again, you can pack them into your snack containers and bring it out with you.
So try my 2 recipes out, and don’t forget to share your healthy snacks with friends and colleagues at school or work.