Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Why I'm Turning to High Protein Snacks to Improve My Workouts

If you read my blog on a regular basis then you will know that I've been becoming more concerned with the quality of what I am eating as opposed to the quantity. It's very easy when you are on a long term weight loss journey to slip into a pattern of just repeating the same food because it's low fat or low calorie when there may be other choices that would be of more benefit to your body.

Now that I am following the SparkPeople App, I receive a daily nutritional breakdown of everything that I eat and I was very surprised to see that my protein intake is lower than they recommend. This probably explains why my energy levels have been quite low especially when I am exercising most days and it may even be a minor cause of why I have been picking up niggling little injuries lately.

I've been doing some research into how I can improve my protein consumption and how this will benefit me and my workout routine in particular. Protein is the main tool that the body uses to repair itself so this becomes even more important when you work out. Eating protein snacks will help strengthen your muscles and aid their growth. It will also help to reduce your hunger and regulate your blood sugar levels. A heavy workout routine and a lack of protein will result in you feeling constantly tired, you will take longer to recover from workout sessions and you may find yourself picking up more injuries.

There are a lot of websites giving information about the benefits of protein, personally I found www.nuts.com to be really useful. As well as selling a great range of snacks, they provide information, ideas and recipes. I was surprised to learn that how many complex proteins the body needs to function and that insulin is actually a protein. The information and advice given on their page about High Protein Snacks is really useful. I definitely want to try out their recipe ideas! I used to just think of meat or eggs when I thought about eating protein but there are so many more possibilities, I can't wait to get experimenting. By increasing my protein intake, particularly after workouts, I should increase my energy levels and make my workouts more effective. It should also help me to tone up more.

I am definitely a grazer in my daily eating pattern. I tend to prefer three smaller meals with a range of snacks spread out in between so the quality of my snacks is really important to my diet. I generally feel that this is another area I need to work on. The registered dietitian at Nuts.com highlights the healthiest snacks you can eat on their Healthy Snacks page and I found this really useful to read. They all contain protein or fibre, are low in saturated fat and have a maximum of 160 calories. Perfect choices really!

This graphic was also really helpful

The raw chocolate chip granola bites look particularly yummy!

I'm starting working out again from Monday now that my knee is on the mend and I'm definitely going to build more protein snacks into my diet especially for after my workouts. They will  help my muscles to recover and build plus they will make me feel fuller. The final deciding factor is that your body burns more calories to break down protein so, in a way, it will be like I'm continuing my workout. Definitely a win-win situation. 

I'll keep you posted how I get on with the protein snacks and will share some pictures of my favourites. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


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