Everyone knows our bodies need protein! But sitting down to a big steak dinner might not be the best way to fuel your body’s needs. If you lead an active lifestyle, and want to impact your strength and endurance gains, it is essential to eat adequate amounts of protein throughout the day instead of one high protein meal. It is a great idea to find a few high-protein snacks that you like and take them with you to enjoy throughout the day. These are also good to curb your hunger, so you are less likely to make poor food choices when mealtime comes! Be careful though, as many pre-packaged snack foods are high in sugars and refined carbohydrates, which will only leave you craving more food!
These are just a few examples. There are several options to pack more protein into your daily routine! The bottom line is to have healthy, high protein snacks around when hunger hits in between meals to keep you full and satisfied.
Protein also helps your body recover after an intense workout or activity. A period of time called the anabolic window occurs about 45 minutes to an hour after exercise. Eating a protein snack within that window of time prevents your body from using its own muscle tissue for energy. It will also encourage lean muscle growth and aid in the recovery and rebuilding of muscle tissue. Protein will also prevent your body from losing muscle mass while dieting. The key to dieting is to lose fat, not muscle! If you just cut calories without keeping your protein levels up, your body could start breaking down muscle tissue first. When your body has more lean muscle mass, you burn more calories even during periods of inactivity.
Protein cannot be stored in your body for later use like carbohydrates and fat. Since protein is processed slower, it keeps you feeling full longer and keeps your blood sugar levels balanced. This helps cut down on low-energy crashes and junk-food cravings. If you are dieting, this is a big benefit!
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