I like healthy food. For real, I’d choose roasted vegetables over mac and cheese every day of the week and twice on Sunday (seriously, not a fan of pasta). But what I’ve come to learn is that just choosing healthy food is not enough to make my body, or any body, run (literally or figuratively) as it should. There are three pieces you need to think about when composing a basic meal: fats, carbs and protein. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the majority of the population does not have a difficult time consuming enough fat or carbs. The missing piece to your hungry-all-the-time puzzle is protein.

You can’t go near a fitness establishment without having some sort of protein shake being shaken in its fancy blender bottle in your face. Okay, maybe some establishments but even there you’ll see muscle milk (yuck!).  The thing is protein is not reserved for body builders, or post workout snacks. Proteins are literally the main building blocks of the body. Without protein, there is no you. Proteins are present in the outer and inner membranes of every living cell. Your hair, your nails and the outer layers of your skin are made of the protein keratin. Your muscle tissue, part of your bones, your red blood cells and even your plasma all contain protein. Your ability to see, think, hear, and move require your nerve cells to send messages back and forth to each other which requires neurotransmitters. You know what making neurotransmitters requires? I’ll spare you the extra work thinking (since that would require enough protein)… the answer is protein.

So where are we dropping the ball? We keep trying to eat less! We’ve been brainwashed to believe we need to eat less, cut back, or deprive. WRONG. You need to eat different things and choose better combinations but not eat less.  In fact, most of you probably need to eat more.  To put it into perspective we will use chicken as an example, since it is most people’s biggest source of protein.  Three ounces of chicken (which is the typical chicken breast) is about the volume of a deck of cards, or the old iPhone 4. Three ounces of chicken is about 31 grams of protein. I would have to eat almost five chicken breasts per day to get the protein I want.

The MINIMUM amount of protein you should consume should be .5 to .7 grams per pound of your bodyweight. So a 150 pound person should be consuming AT LEAST 75-105 grams of protein per day (that’s three to four chicken breasts worth of protein per day). Do you need to eat that much chicken everyday? No.  Here are some examples of about 30 grams of protein:

Now that you know how many servings of fruit, vegetables and protein you should be consuming you can stop eating less and start eating better!

Sweat & Smiles,