The Importance of Prioritizing Protein in Your Meal Prep

The Importance of Prioritizing Protein in Your Meal Prep

Posted by AthleticsFit - Meal Plan Delivery Service in Miami-Dade and Broward County On Mar 8th 2022

Did you know that the average American household spends 3,000 dollars a year eating out? For some, that number might seem low but keep in mind that single-person households factor into that number as well.

Not only is that a lot of money, but eating out on a regular basis can negatively impact your health. For those reasons, meal prep has become popular. Not only does it allow you to make healthier choices, but it can save you money and time.

As you prep your meals for the week, how do you factor in protein? Do you know how much protein you need or why it is so important?

Keep reading to learn the importance of protein and why you need to plan for it when meal prepping.

What Is Protein?

Did you know that your body is made up of almost 20 percent protein? It's in every cell of your body, and your body can't function correctly without it.

It's an essential macronutrient in your diet. Macronutrients are foods that provide nutritional benefits and calories. Because it is a macronutrient, it can help fuel your body and give you the energy you need.

While carbs and fat are mainly used for fuel, if you eat enough protein, some of it gets used for that purpose as well. But, your body first uses the protein you eat for other essential functions.

When you look at protein, it gets made up of long chains of amino acids. Amino acids are the reason that protein is an essential acid; these are the building blocks of your body.

The Benefits of Protein

So, the importance of protein does in part come down to amino acids and the fact that your body needs it to function correctly. Still, there are many other reasons that prioritizing protein is essential when meal prepping.

These reasons come down to how protein works in your body and the benefits it provides.

Building and Maintaining Muscle

Have you seen pre-workout and post-workout supplements used by people working out and wondered, what's the big deal? Often, you will find that these drinks have some type of protein, whether it be animal or plant protein.

Protein is essential to your muscles.

Muscle is one of the many parts of your body that has protein in it. In fact, muscles are mainly made up of protein.

Are you looking to build more muscle? If so, you need to increase your protein intake. This will help you to "bulk up."

Protein also helps you maintain your muscles.

Reduced Fat Storage

Are you looking to get rid of excess fat? Or maybe you just don't want to put on pounds. Eating protein can help with this.

One study looked at different diets, and how much weight was gained by participants when they overate. When looking at a diet high in carbohydrates and fat, participants gained a mean of 2.68 kg over 30 days.

But, participants who overate but had a diet high in fat and protein only gained a mean of 1.75 kg. Because of this, researchers believe that it's possible that protein is the least likely of different macronutrients to get stored as body fat when you do overeat.

This is especially true if you're weight training on a regular basis.

Protein Is a Thermogenic Macronutrient

Your body needs a certain number of calories per day just to complete its normal functions. For example, digesting food burns calories, eating burns calories, sitting and typing burns calories.

Every function your body performs throughout the day burns calories. Protein is the most thermogenic macronutrient. What does that mean?

When you digest protein, you burn more calories in that process than you do when you digest fat or carbohydrates. Because it requires more calories to digest the protein, you'll see a small spike in metabolism when you eat more protein.

Reduced Appetite

Do you consistently have problems with overeating? Or maybe you just feel like you're also hungry?

It's possible that you need more protein in your diet. Protein can help you feel more satisfied and reduce hunger throughout the day. One study looked at 19 subjects and protein consumed.

One group ate a diet that consisted of 15 percent protein, while the other group ate a diet that consisted of 30 percent of protein. The individuals who ate more protein ended up eating almost 500 fewer calories a day. The study noted that satiety was increased for participants eating a diet higher in protein.

When you wake up in the morning, starting your day with a high-protein breakfast could help to reduce hunger throughout the day.

Decreased Cravings

Cravings can be tough, especially if the things you are craving don't fit into your diet plan. However, increasing your protein intake can help to reduce cravings.

One study looked at 27 overweight men on energy-restricted diets. One diet was higher in protein, while the other diet just had a normal amount of protein.

Researchers looked at the desire participants had to eat certain foods during this time. They found that increasing protein intake helped to decrease cravings and increase satiety.

Eating meat or fish with your meals is also thought to help reduce cravings, especially sugar cravings (19,20,21). In one study,

How Much Protein Do You Need?

When you're planning your diet, how much protein do you need? Around 10 to 35 percent of your daily energy intake should be from protein.

To make this simpler, if you are eating a 2000 calorie diet, around 200 to 700 calories should consist of protein. However, as you age, the need for protein increases. Also, if you're regularly weight training, you should increase your protein intake.

Get Your Meal Prep Right

Meal prep can help with healthy eating and saving money; however, it's important to prioritize protein. Getting enough protein is essential to keep your body functioning correctly and to reap the benefits from it.

Are you wanting to eat out less and be healthier, but aren't sure where to start? Let us do the meal prep for you.

Athletics Fits has customizable meal plans that will help make your life easier. Start using our meal prep services today.