Walking down the aisle of the supermarket is an assault on all fronts: countless nutritional claims made, none substantiated, and a ton of confusion when the dust settles. As a result, we fall into the same pattern of eating in ways that don’t fuel our bodies properly. But all hope isn’t lost. Substituting and changing how you eat certain foods can have a positive chain-reaction effect, and can allow you to still enjoy the foods you used to without the worry of consuming them too much.
Nicki Paritsis, a registered dietitian and personal trainer, says that protein should be a priority in your meals throughout the day since it benefits musculoskeletal health and immune-system functions.
“The most bioavailable forms of protein come from animal sources: grass-fed meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy,” she says. “But plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, and organic soy are also beneficial options to include in your diet.”
If you’re struggling with cooking your meals, Paritsis recommends spreading out your intake across meals or picking a high-protein, easy-to-prepare breakfast like eggs and bacon, Greek yogurt with nuts, or finding a tasty protein bar.
She also stresses the importance of protein supplements for those who don’t quite have the bandwidth or means to cook every meal.
“While [supplements] aren’t necessary to reach your protein goals, they’re a great way to add extra protein to meals and snacks. Choose a whey protein (whey protein isolate or beef protein if you’re sensitive to lactose) and mix it into smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods, or simply water or milk of your choice,” she adds.
In finding more cookable, protein-dense options, the third problem most people encounter in dieting — that is, moderating sweets or cheat meals — tends to solve itself. Protein and whole foods will keep you satiated longer, reducing the cravings that come from a more processed and palatable diet.
A way to moderate junk food effectively without giving it up would be following the 80-20 rule, eating the healthier options 80 percent of the time and saving sweets for the other 20 percent.