Whether you want to strip body fat, or build lean muscle, eating red meat helps by keeping you fuller for longer and curbing hunger cravings.
A powerful source of energy and nutrients – such as vitamin B2, iron and zinc, red meat also helps the functioning of bones and muscles. When selecting your meat look out for fresh, lean cuts which have a vibrant red color, and opt for grass-fed beef, which has higher levels of omega-3 fats.
Enjoy red meat twice a week, and chicken, fish or vegetable sources of protein on other days.
Eggs are a great source of protein. They contain amino acids, which aid the development of muscles, are beneficial for healthy bones and have anti-inflammatory properties. There is much debate around the labelling of eggs, while “cage-free” and “free-range” don’t necessarily mean organic, your best bet is to buy eggs from the local farmer’s market to ensure freshness.
Legumes and beans
The perfect vegan source of protein, beans and lentils also up your intake of calcium and iron, and are full of fiber. Combine them with whole grains like buckwheat, millet or teff, and you’ll have a delicious meal offering a full range of essential amino acids, or make your own hummus (add extra immune-boosting garlic and lemon in winter!) or baked beans for an easy and nutritious snack.
Eating nuts for fat-loss may seem counterproductive at first, but studies have shown that the healthy fats in nuts help curb hunger cravings and control your appetite.
Almonds, for example are high in protein, calcium and vitamin E. Cashews are high in iron and walnuts have healthy levels of omega-3s and antioxidants.
Opt for raw, unsalted, or dry roasted nuts to avoid extra calories and eat about a handful a day.
If you’re thinking, “What on earth is whey protein?” (and wondering why you should have it) then read on.
Simply put, milk is made of two proteins: casein and whey. Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or formed as a by-product of cheese making. It’s a popular supplement for those training a lot as it promotes the growth of lean muscle, encourages fat loss and supplies essential nutrients, and it helps prevent joint problems and osteoporosis.
If you struggle to get enough protein into your diet from time to time, adding some whey protein to your morning smoothie, or having it as an after-workout shake can top you up – and, unlike a juicy steak, it’s easy to eat on-the-go. Be sure to avoid whey powders that have added sugars, or are artificially sweetened and flavored – keep it as pure as possible.