When I first started counting macros, hitting my protein goal seemed impossible. I realized how little protein I had been eating before…like half of what I should have been eating.
Eating 3 chicken breasts a day to hit my protein goals is extreme and I didn’t know where to turn in order to get enough protein, but not go over on my other macros. So, like most of you, I searched around on Instagram and looked to what others were doing. So many of my fitness idols were using protein powders so I decided to give it a try!
I walked into a wellness store with no idea what I was doing, staring at a huge wall of ungodly sized canisters of protein powder after protein powder. After talking to the sales clerk, I decided to buy a single use packet to test out how I liked it. I went with one that had a mild vanilla flavor and added it to my oatmeal the next morning.
The taste was fine, and it kept me full…but WEIRDLY FULL! Seriously, my stomach felt full for hours and hours after. Even into that evening I still felt swollen and uncomfortable. I don’t know all the science behind it, but the bloat was real and I just felt icky. That feeling stayed with me even through the next day. It took about 48 hours for me to feel back to normal.
Based on that experience, I never tried protein powder again. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever use them, it’s just that I prefer to get my macro/micronutrients from WHOLE and REAL foods. By using real food as my protein source, I feel like I am eating more and enjoying the textures, flavors, etc. more than I would by just adding a tasteless powder to my meals.
Here are some tips you can use if you are struggling to hit your protein goals and don’t want to turn to a protein powder:
- Eat larger portions of meat with your meals. For example, if you are usually grilling a 3.5 oz. chicken breast for dinner, try eating two of them or selecting a bigger one around 5 or 6 oz.
- Incorporate protein into every meal and snack. Add egg whites to your oatmeal in the mornings (see my recipe for protein oats here), switch from regular yogurt to Greek yogurt which has tons more protein, and if you are having a snack full of carbs such as fruit or crackers, try adding some slices of lunch meat or canned tuna to beef it up (hey, that’s a pun 🙂 ).
- Look for sides/toppings that contain high amounts of protein. For example, you can add quinoa, cheese, or eggs to just about any meal you make because they go with any flavor profile.
What are your thoughts on protein powders? Love ’em? Hate ’em? I would love to hear!