If you are like just about everyone else in the world who has tried to lose weight, you have probably come across many stumbling blocks. You have probably tried at least one of the many fad diets that are out there, or you have attempted to stop eating completely with no success. The fact is that this type of yo-yo dieting doesn’t work. It never has, and it never will.
When you come right down to it, the best and easiest way to lose weight effectively and keep it off is to maintain a healthy diet and participate in some form of exercise. You don’t need to go out and purchase any expensive diet plans where you have to buy certain foods from the creators of the diets, nor do you need to hit the gym for three or four hours every day. All you really need is a little common sense and the proper nutrients, especially protein.
Protein is necessary for just about every cell in the body, from your muscles to your hair to your fingernails, and everything else in between. It is necessary for muscle growth and maintenance, not to mention muscle recovery following exercise or workouts. Protein also provides our bodies with energy, and the energy burned from protein outweighs the energy burned from carbohydrates or fats. Having the right amount of protein in your diet can actually promote weight loss.
Do I Need a Special Diet Plan?
Unless you are on a specific diet for medical reasons, or are a bodybuilder or athlete who must have certain amounts of certain nutrients, you don’t need to follow any sort of specialized diet plan to be able to get more protein and lose weight. With the exception of protein supplements, protein mainly comes from food sources, and there are a number of delicious foods out there that are protein-laden and are fit for most weight-loss promoting diets.
One of the first things that you should do before going on any type of diet is to consult your physician. You many have conditions that require you to eat certain foods, or to not eat other foods. Your doctor can help you to decide exactly what your dietary needs are and how you should go about getting them. Another great source of dietary information is a nutritionist, who can also help you to figure out the best diet for you.
Even if you are not looking to lose weight, you can still benefit from a diet that is high in protein. It will promote healthy muscles and provide you with much-needed energy throughout the day.
Even when you are on a diet, you should try not to deprive yourself of foods that you really love. If you want a sweet or greasy treat once in a while, go ahead and have it. Just don’t go overboard. Pretty much anything is alright on occasion and in moderation. In fact, you can use protein supplements to make a sweet treat a little bit healthier. Take two scoops of chocolate protein powder, one cup of skim milk, and one scoop of chocolate ice cream, and mix in a blender for a delicious protein-packed milkshake.
The following are healthy meal plan choices that you can easily adhere to because the foods are all quite delicious and satisfying. These are only options, and this does not mean that you should eat all of these foods per sitting.
Breakfasts: eggs (boiled, poached or scrambled); whole wheat toast with cream cheese; skim milk; protein supplements
Mid-Morning Snacks: protein supplements (shakes, smoothies, shots or snack bars); herbal or green tea sweetened with one teaspoon of honey; fruit
Lunches: beans (any type, they’re loaded with protein), tossed chicken salad with shredded, cubed, cottage or ricotta cheese; beef or chicken roll-up with pickles, mustard, lettuce, cheese and tomato; herbal and green teas, water or diet soda
Afternoon Snacks: protein supplement, such as shakes, smoothies or snack bars; diet soda, water, green and herbal tea; fruit (bananas are loaded with nutrients, and are filling too); light microwave popcorn
Dinners: lean red meat; poultry, white meat; pork; beans, all kinds; fish; lasagna; spaghetti and meat sauce; baked potatoes; mixed vegetables; water or skim milk
Evening Snacks: light microwave popcorn; protein supplement shake, smoothie or snack bar; herbal or green tea, sweetened with honey; fruits and vegetables with creamy Caesar dip (mix C light cream cheese with one or two tablespoons of light Caesar salad dressing, or another light dressing of your choice); water
Protein Supplements for Weight Loss
As previously mentioned, protein is essential to maintain a healthy, strong body, and it is also great when it comes to weight loss. There are a number of ways that you can get the right proteins that you need for weight loss, including through food sources, but if you are looking for the ideal way to replace meals to promote weight loss without losing essential protein, vitamins and nutrients, protein supplements are the way to go. Protein supplements can be used on their own or mixed with drinks and foods, so they are an extremely versatile form of protein.
Protein Powders are terrific sources of protein supplements because they are so versatile. There are so many delicious shakes and smoothies that you can make with protein powders, and they can also be used in a number of your favorite cooking recipes. You can get protein powders either unflavored or in a variety of delicious flavors, including fruit punch (tastes great in a protein fruit smoothie), and chocolate and vanilla, for those of us with a sweet tooth.
One of the most commonly used forms of protein used in powders is whey. This protein is milk-based, a bi-product of the cheese-making process, and is extremely popular because it is quickly and easily digested, with effects taking place almost immediately. This is why whey protein is so popular with athletes and bodybuilders.
Liquid proteins are often used by bodybuilders, athletes and many people who exercise following workouts to promote muscle recovery. Whey and casein are the main proteins in these supplements, with whey promoting immediate muscle recovery and casein promoting long-term muscle growth. Liquid protein supplements are also great for people who don’t get a lot of meat in their diets, including vegetarians.
There are two basic types of liquid protein shake: without fat and carbohydrates for protein enriched diets, and with fat and carbohydrates for pre and post-workout purposes.
Protein shots are great for the busy person who wants a quick protein fix and a little boost of energy. These shots pack 25 to 30 grams of protein per serving, giving the average adult at least half of the recommended daily amount of protein. They are available in delicious flavors, including grape, raspberry and green apple.
Protein bars are another tasty meal replacement or a great mid-afternoon snack for the person who needs a protein/energy boost later in the day. Not only are they loaded with protein, they are also chock-full of a number of important vitamins and nutrients and are available in a number of tasty flavors, including chocolate.
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