With my clients, I always advocate that they consume good sources of lean protein and colourful plants with every single meal of the day.
Beyond the obvious of preventing a protein deficiency and ensuring a baseline of protein synthesis, you need protein to actually thrive. Adequate protein consumption is necessary for optimal functioning including athletic performance, good immune function, metabolism, and weight management.
You can only store so much protein at a time, so the body needs its stores to be continually replenished. This means you should be consuming moderate amounts of protein at regular intervals throughout the day.
Eating protein and colourful plants with every meal will not only provide you with a wide variety of nutrients, but it will also help promote satiety and balanced blood sugar levels.
As an athlete, you should know about good sources of lean protein and you should be able to be flexible with these protein sources when life throws you a curve ball. You should also be able to prepare at least 5-8 different kinds of colourful vegetables.
If you need a refresher on lean protein and colourful plants, check out this Super Market Survival Guide.
- Get one palm-size serving of protein and at least one fist-size serving of colorful fruits or vegetables at EVERY meal today.
Make sure you put more emphasis on vegetables than fruit. Here are a few ways to include protein and plants in your meals.
- Chicken (protein) on a salad of mixed greens (plants).
- Steak (protein) and sautéed peppers (plants) with rice.
- Scrambled eggs (protein) with spinach (plants).
- Make a game out of it.
You don’t have to get this perfect, I know I don’t! Figure out how to make it work for you. Have fun, try some new stuff, and get creative. Maybe you can hide protein or vegetables in a dessert?
- Plan. Prep. Set reminders.
Write out a meal plan for the week and prep some protein and colourful plants so they’re easy to grab from the refrigerator when you’re in a pinch. I like to cut up veggie sticks in the fridge for snacks all week and separate them into portions. If you find yourself forgetting to eat throughout the day, set reminders in your phone at 4 hour intervals to get a well-balanced meal into you.
Looking for more of a challenge?
If getting protein and colourful plants in every meal is easy for you, step outside your comfort zone, add some more variety and make sure you nail down the consistency.
- Instead of relying on fruits, try going all-veggie for a meal or for the day.
- Pick a new lean protein source or vegetable you’ve never tried before.
- Try cooking or prepping your protein or vegetable a new way.
- Try getting protein and veggies in a tough situation, like on a road trip during a racing weekend.