Tag Archives: Protein

Categories Free Resources, How To’s, Wellness

7 important things to know about protein intake

How much protein do we really need? How do we get enough of it? Should we follow a high-protein diet?
Protein is found in every cell of our body and has many functions. It is involved in many chemical reactions and is an important macronutrient for putting some meat on our bones, making blood, skin, hair, enzymes and more.
To keep our body in a healthy state, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) per day for an adult is 0.8 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight. However, depending on our sex, age, lifestyle, frequency and intensity of physical activity, goals and other factors, an individual may need more than that. Let’s look at some important points to consider:

1. Too much of a good thing

Although protein is an important macronutrient, the expression “the more, the better” does not apply to its daily intake. A healthy diet should consist of all 3 macronutrients which are properly balanced and designed to the individual and their personal goal.

2. Remember your personal goal

Different people may have different goals when it comes to weight management, health and fitness. If someone is a bodybuilder, while your lifestyle is sedentary, the amount of protein requirements will be substantially different for the two of you. Your protein intake should be matching your goals, life choices, biology and other factors. Remember we are not all the same.

3. Consider the source of protein

Protein can come from animal and plant foods. When choosing your protein, remember it comes in a package that normally includes other macronutrients or other characteristics. For example, animal protein such as beef, chicken, fish, dairy and eggs, will also include some fats. While fats are an important macronutrient, some animal protein provide high amounts of saturated fats aside from protein. Saturated fats should be consumed in moderation.
On the other hand, protein from plant sources may have a reduced bioavailability. Being aware of that and incorporating cooked veggies and grains into our food intake can help increase bioavailability.

4. Adjust the total food intake

When our goal is to maintain or lose bodyweight, whenever we increase the intake of a certain macronutrient, we should make adjustments so we do not consume more food than we require. Meaning, if you have not changed anything in your diet except increase your protein intake, you may experience some weight gain due to overconsmption of calories. Swapping foods can be a good solution in this case. For example, instead of snacking on a couple fruits, swap with a few carrot sticks and hummus dip, while maintaining a similar caloric amount.

5. Get to know your protein powder

Some people may choose to incorporate protein powder into their food intake. While such powders are a great way to supplement our diet with protein and a great solution when you are in a hurry or on the go, we should learn what is really in our powder. Such powders may come from different sources (dairy, eggs, plant-based) and can often contain other ingredients such as vitamins and minerals, thickeners, added sugars or other sweeteners, as well as artificial flavouring. When choosing a protein powder, make sure to read the nutrition and ingredient labels first and see if you are okay with the final product.

6. High-protein diets

A very high-protein diet normally encourages an extremely low carb intake which may translate into overall minimal consumption of fruits and vegetables. While high-protein diets may offer certain benefits to certain people for a limited time period and under clinical supervision, studies have shown over and over again that daily consumption of enough fruits and vegetables contributes to our health in many ways and can be helpful and even preventative for many diseases.

7. Protein for vegetarians and vegans

Getting enough protein from non-animal sources is possible. Although a bit more planning may be required, achieving the protein intake requirements only through plant protein can be done. While vegetarians who eat dairy, eggs or fish can meet their protein intake requirements quite easily, vegans need to plan a bit more but can still get enough protein regularly. A common concern in some vegetarian diets or a vegan lifestyle is unintentionally creating a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals. If you plan to become a vegetarian or vegan, a professional nutritional guidance or in-depth planning should be done to avoid such deficiencies.

Categories Dining, Recipes

Carrot and Red Lentil Soup

Carrot and Red Lentil Soup

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
It’s a chilly evening, and you are craving a super quick, easy-to-make dish that will satisfy your hunger, nourish you and, most importantly, be delicious. I give you one of my favourite soups to make and eat. It’s high in fibre, satisfying, delicious and super-quick to prepare. Plus it’s vegetarian!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins

Equipment

  • A medium-sized pot
  • A sharp knife
  • Serving bowls

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 litre carrot juice or water
  • ½ cup red lentils thoroughly washed and drained of access water
  • Optional your favourite chopped herbs

Instructions
 

  • In a pot, heat olive oil. Add the onion and saute until the onion turns translucent. Add garlic, celery, ginger and carrots. Cook until softens.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for about 15 minutes until lentils are soft.
  • If the soup is too thick, add some more carrot juice or water.
  • Adjust spices to taste.
  • To serve, place the desired amount in a serving bowl and garnish with your favourite herbs, such as cilantro, basil, parsley, dill or mint.

Notes

For a spicier version, while mixing in the spices add some chilli flakes or a bit of chilli pepper powder.
The quantities here are for about 4 servings. You can double all ingredients to have more as this soup is great the next day too.
Categories Recipes, Snacking

Scrumptious Chocolate-Banana Muffins

Scrumptious Chocolate-Banana Muffins

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
I love a fruit & chocolate combo. Maybe it is the different flavours and textures that complement each other or because I feel chocolate makes everything better. So I took some ripe bananas I had on the counter and combined them with some rich cocoa powder into these gorgeous, soft, chocolaty muffins. With whole wheat flour for extra fibre and some protein powder for a more filling treat, these muffins will keep you fuller for longer. Plus, all ingredients go into one bowl to save on dirty dishes and work. In about 45 minutes from now, you could bite into your new favourite muffin.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • 12-muffin baking tray
  • Parchment paper baking cups

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ripe, large bananas peeled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder optional
  • Dark chocolate chips optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 350 F or 180 C.
  • Line a muffin baking tray with parchment paper baking cups. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl mash the bananas with a fork.
  • Add to the mashed bananas the sugar, eggs, oil and cocoa powder and mix with the fork until combined.
  • Add to the mixture flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add chocolate protein powder if using. Mix with the fork until well combined. Overmixing can decrease fluffiness.
  • Fill each baking cup with the chocolate mixture to reach ⅔ of its height. Top with some chocolate chips, if using.
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out almost dry with a few crumbs attached, and the muffins’ top is a bit bouncy.
  • Let cool in the baking tray for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring the muffins onto a cooling rack.

Notes

These muffins freeze well. To freeze, muffins should be completely cooled to room temperature and kept frozen in an air-tight container.
Categories Dining, Recipes, Snacking

High-Protein Oat Pancakes

High-Protein Oat Pancakes

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
As a mother to two athletic boys and as an active person myself, I had to find creative ways to incorporate more protein in each meal. Here is an easy way to turn a breakfast favourite into a high-protein meal that will keep anyone feeling fuller for longer. You can make these pancakes gluten-free if you ensure the ingredients provided are GF such as the oats and the baking powder.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 39 mins

Equipment

  • Food processor or blender
  • Frying pan
  • Small ladle
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups large oats (GF if preferred)
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup water or milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder (GF if preferred)
  • Coconut oil for frying

Instructions
 

  • Place oats in a food processor or blender and process until the texture resembles sand.
  • Peel the bananas and chop them into bite-size pieces. Add to the processed oats.
  • Add the eggs, yogurt, water or milk, honey or maple, and salt and blend until smooth.
  • Add the baking powder and blend for another 20 seconds. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Mixture should be slightly runny and not too thick. Add more liquid if necessary.
  • Heat a large flat frying pan or a pancake pan on medium-high heat. Place a teaspoon of coconut oil in the pan and let it melt. With a heat-proof baking brush, spread the oil to cover the cooking surface of the pan.
  • With the ladle, place the desired amount of pancake mixture and fry until a few small bubbles form at the top of the pancake, and the bottom is golden-brown. Flip the pancake and fry for another minute on the other side.
  • Place the cooked pancakes on a dish and cover them with tin foil to keep warm while the other pancakes are being cooked.
  • Repeat the frying process with the rest of the mixture.

Notes

These pancakes are more on the neutral side - not sweet or salty, so any toppings of your choice would work well. Here are some options:
Maple syrup, honey, Blueberry sauce, whipped ricotta, nut butter, chocolate sauce, cocoa nibs, chopped nuts, desiccated coconut or coconut flakes.
Categories Recipes, Sipping - Cold

Protein Mango Mania

Protein Mango Mania

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
Need extra protein today? This delicious smoothie provides us with protein, healthy fats and complex carbs. It’s an easy and delicious way to get some protein into your body. Don’t miss out on the celery that contains natural sodium to can help replenish some electrolytes after a sweaty workout.
Prep Time 5 mins

Equipment

  • A powerful blender
  • A large glass cup or Mason jar

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup plant-based milk of choice
  • 1 cup chopped mango frozen
  • ½ banana fresh or frozen
  • ½ celery stick
  • 1 scoop Vanilla or unflavoured protein powder
  • ½ cup Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup ice optional

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients in a powerful blender in the order listed above. Blend thoroughly until smooth. Add more water or milk if needed to your desired consistency.

Notes

This smoothie is wonderful during a hot summer day. Celery contains natural sodium which can help replenish electrolytes and the protein powder can help with muscle-building after a workout. It is best consumed as soon as possible after prep to take the most advantage of its benefits.