If you are struggling to lose weight the solution is often easier than you may think. Simply adding a bit more protein into your meal plan can help you to achieve your weight loss goals without hunger, deprivation, or cravings. And let’s face it- if you are hungry or craving everything in sight, even if you lose weight, it will be short lived keeping it off. When you set off to lose weight, the ultimate goal is to keep that weight off. In order to do this, you have to make sure the ways in which you lose weight are lifestyle changes you can maintain for life. When you think about the many lifestyle changes you can start implementing to promote weight loss, what could possibility be easier than simply eating more? That’s right! You can eat more to lose more- you just have to make sure you are eating more of the right things. And what should you eat more of? Protein!
Have you ever had a day where you just felt like no matter what you ate you were still hungry? Not all calories are created equal. If you are eating meal after meal packed full of empty calories that digest rapidly, such as foods rich in refined carbohydrates and added sugars, you will continue to feel hungry no matter what you eat. Protein, however, is a much more slowly digested nutrient. It can take anywhere from 3-4 hours for your body to break down and digest protein. Adding a source of high quality protein to each meal and snack can help to squash hunger and cravings, making it easier to stick to your weight loss routine.
Stabilizing blood sugar levels
If you have diabetes or insulin resistance, you know how essential it is to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day. However, even if you do not have one of these conditions, it’s still vital to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar. When blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day, it can bring on changes in mood, energy, appetite, and increase the occurrence of those annoying cravings. When you eat a meal that contains a good source of protein and fiber, you can help to slow the digestion of your meal down slightly, which allows your body to maintain more consistent blood sugar levels over a longer period of time, The result: less hunger, increased energy, and reduced cravings- a recipe for success when it comes to weight management!
Building and maintaining lean body mass
Every client I have ever worked with who wants to reduce body weight asks me the same question- how can I boost my metabolism? Your metabolism in large part is determined by your age, body size, and genetics. However, the amount of muscle mass you have also plays a role in the amount of calories your body will burn each day. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism. The best way to increase your level of muscle mass is to incorporate resistance exercise (such as weight training, Pilates, or exercises such as pushups and pullups) at least two to three times per week. In addition, your body requires adequate protein to help build and strengthen muscle mass. Consuming adequate protein throughout the day, but especially making sure to eat a good source within 30 minutes to an hour after performing resistance exercise will help your body to maximize muscle gains. So how much protein do you need each day? This will vary from person to person based on your age, sex, size, and activity level, but generally using the Recommended Daily Allowance for protein of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight will provide an adequate amount. You can also use this calculator to help you determine your individual protein needs http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/fnic/interactiveDRI/
Pack in More Protein Each Day with this Protein Powered Low Carb Nacho Recipe
Now that you know how much protein you need each day and why you need it, how will you fit it all in? Sometimes it can be as simple as just giving your favorite snacks a bit of a makeover. One favorite in our house is nachos, but the traditional nacho isn’t exactly the most nutritious choice to indulge in each day. That’s why I gave it a makeover to boost the fiber, protein, and nutrient content of our nachos while still making sure they taste as great as they always have! The secret ingredient is swapping out standard tortilla chips for chips made from Flatout ProteinUP Flatbread. These flatbreads are packed full of whole grains, protein, and fiber while being reduced in carbohydrate. They made the perfect addition to this nacho recipe. Head over to FlatoutFinder.com to find out which of your local stores have them in stock. I can’t wait for you to give it a try and tell me what you think!
Protein Powered Vegetarian Low Carb Nachos
- 2 Flatout ProteinUp Flatbreads
- ½ cup shredded part-skim cheddar cheese
- ½ cup black beans, canned and drained
- 1/3 cup diced fresh tomatoes
- 1/3 cup diced onions
- 1/3 cup diced bell peppers
- 4 tbsp canned tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)
- 4 slices of jarred, pickled jalapeños
- 1 Tbs canned sliced black olives
- ¼ tsp chopped cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Olive oil spray
- A pinch of pepper
- A pinch of saltDirections:
Preheat oven to 300 F. Using a pizza cutter, slice the flatbread into chip-sized pieces. Place chips onto a lined baked sheet (you can line with parchment paper or foil). Spray evenly with olive oil spray. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crispy.
As chips are baking in the oven, in a small bowl mix together diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, jalapenos, and black beans along with the salsa, cilantro, and cumin. Remove chips from oven and spread mixture evenly over top. Sprinkle shredded cheese and olives over mixture and return to the oven. Make for another 2-4 minutes until the cheese has melted. Serve warm with a side of salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Flatout Flatbread. All opinions are my own.