You’ve heard it all before… when aiming for weight loss ‘Portion control is key’, ‘Everything in moderation’, but what actually IS a good portion size when it comes to the protein side of things?
We could make this post super boring and just give you the answer, but what is the fun in that?
Firstly, let’s discuss WHAT protein even is…
Protein is the building blocks of our body for tissue growth and repair. Protein plays a key role in our blood and fuelling our bodies cells. Protein is stored in our muscles, so if our body doesn’t get ENOUGH protein through diet, we will start to lose muscle mass. Protein is broken down in to amino acids. You may have heard the term ‘ESSENTIAL amino acids’ before, which basically means that these types of amino acids can only be sourced from food. In other words, your body can’t synthesise these and therefore should be included in your diet.
So protein is in meat, right?
Short answer – YES
Long answer – YES, but also in plenty of other plant and animal based products such as fish, eggs, dairy (yoghurt, milk, cheese), nuts and seeds, tofu, legumes and beans.
Let’s break down the protein myths…
NO, protein is not a ‘fat blaster’ and magic wand for weight loss. In fact, if we have too much of it (just like anything else), it does pretty much the opposite!
YES, if you are using your muscles through strength-based exercises, your protein requirements will be higher.
YES, diets in the western world (that includes Australia) tend to be much higher in protein than what the body needs. Hence, protein shakes may be unnecessary for you!
YES, individuals over 65 years DO need more protein then us spring chickens. That is because
YES, muscle burns more energy than fat, so low protein diets resulting in muscle wastage IS NOT recommended for long term WEIGHT MANAGEMENT.
YES, protein can help you to feel fuller for longer. Which means if you are trying to get a hold of your weight and cut back on the after-dinner dessert, then making sure you are getting ENOUGH protein can help you!
Goodo… now that we know what protein is, where we find it and touched on the protein myths, HOW MUCH do we really NEED?
Well, for the average person its around 1g protein per 1kg of body weight per day. So a 70kg female needs 70g protein (#quickmaths). Breaking that down, it’s around 20-30g protein at each meal. This is all dependent on the individual, based on age, gender, physical activity and health (for example, kidney function).
STOP RIGHT THERE… don’t go away calculating EXACTLY how much protein you are having during the day, every day, because that would just take waaaaaay too much time.
Let’s talk PORTIONS – What can you do to be a protein portion perfector?
Whipping up something for dinner and don’t know how much protein you should include? Well think about your go-to dinners, whether it be chicken schnitzel, steak and salad, or spaghetti bolognaise, have a THINK about your protein portions. Does protein take up ¼ of your plate? maybe a little bit more? maybe a little bit less?
Your hand is your BEST FRIEND when it comes to portion control! As a general rule, your protein portion should be around the same size as your palm (including thickness). If you have a big hand, then that is GREAT NEWS for you! Fish is the exception, which can make up the same size as your entire hand (fingers included).
Look at it through another lens, for those of you who view things mathematically, protein should make up around ¼ of your plate. Now the ideal plate is about 25cm in diameter and YES if you measured your plates these days you will find most of our crockery is HUGE, well bigger than it needs to be. So finding a plate that you cant overfill and then sticking to the ¼ of a plate for your protein will make your protein portions perfect!
Now that you have the basic knowledge of protein, what do you do now? You can take this information and set your plate portion up and be on your way or if your feeling that you would like some more help with your portions then we are here to help – as a thank you for getting on and reading our very FIRST Blog we would like to offer you a free phone consult to help you customise your perfect protein portions.