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"Why Should You Incorporate More Protein into Your Diet? The Top 5 Reasons Explained"

Updated: Apr 12

Protein isn't just about bulking up at the gym; it's a fundamental component of a healthy diet. Here are five key reasons why you should prioritize adding complete protein to every meal, along with some delicious recipe ideas to get you started.

1. Blood Sugar Stability

Including a complete source of protein (one that includes all 9 essential amino acids) at each meal and snack can mitigate the glycemic response, preventing sudden spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. This stability promotes sustained energy levels, reduces cravings, increases satiety, and reduces the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes over time.

Recipe Idea: Protein Yogurt Parfait - 26 g of protein

Protein-rich foods trigger the release of leptin, the "satiety hormone," which signals to your brain that you're full. This helps curb hunger and prevents overeating, supporting weight management goals and reducing the risk of obesity-related complications.

Recipe Idea: Tuna Chickpea Avocado Salad with Honey Dijon Apple Cider Vinaigrette - 26 g of protein

3. Muscle Repair and Building

We lose 3-8% of muscle mass per decade after the age of 30. Protein serves as the building blocks for muscle tissue, making it essential for muscle growth and maintenance. By engaging in resistance training and consuming adequate protein, you can optimize your body composition, preserve lean muscle mass, and prevent muscle breakdown. Including sources of the amino acid, leucine is especially beneficial for muscle repair and building. Food sources of leucine include legumes, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, eggs, cottage cheese, spirulina, and oats.

Recipe Idea: Quinoa, Lentil and Kale Salad - 19g of protein

4. Boosted Metabolism

Protein has a higher thermic effect compared to fats and carbohydrates, meaning it requires more energy to digest, absorb, and metabolize. This can temporarily boost your resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn at rest) and calorie expenditure, supporting weight management efforts.

Recipe Idea: Cottage Cheese Crackers with Salsa - 14 g of protein

5. Essential Amino Acids

Complete lean protein sources provide all nine essential amino acids necessary for various bodily functions, including enzyme production and immune function. Incorporating a variety of these sources into your diet ensures you get the right proportions for optimal health and muscle maintenance.

Recipe Idea: Coconut Crusted Haddock with Meal Prep Broccoli Quinoa Salad - 41 g of protein

Complete lean protein sources are those that provide all 9 essential amino acids in adequate proportions. Here are some of the best sources of complete lean protein along with information on amino acids:

  • Chicken Breast or Thighs: a popular source of lean protein, providing all essential amino acids in good proportions, and low in fat, making it an excellent choice for those looking to build or maintain muscle mass.

  • Turkey: Similar to chicken, turkey is another lean protein source rich in essential amino acids. It's often preferred for its slightly different taste and can be used in various dishes.

  • Fish: Fish such as salmon, tuna, and cod are rich in complete protein and also provide essential omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation and supporting heart health.

  • Eggs: Eggs (the white & the yolk*) are a versatile and inexpensive source of complete protein. They contain all essential amino acids in good proportions, along with various vitamins and minerals.

  • Greek Yogurt: Plain Greek yogurt is higher in protein compared to regular yogurt due to the straining process that removes excess whey. It's also lower in sugar, making it a healthy choice for boosting protein intake.

  • Tofu and Soy Products: Tofu, tempeh (fermented soy cake) and edamame (organic or non-GMO) are plant-based sources of complete protein. They are especially beneficial for vegetarians and vegans.

  • Quinoa: Quinoa is a unique plant-based complete protein source. It's also rich in fiber and various vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious addition to any diet.

  • Hemp Seeds: are a complete source of protein and an essential fatty acid. Hemp seeds are easy to incorporate - add to salads, smoothies, oatmeal, toast, or a crust for fish & chicken.

  • Protein Powder: whey protein powder or plant-based protein powder provides a quick and easy way to incorporate the essential amino acids into your daily diet. Add protein powder to smoothies, oatmeal, baking, or yogurt to increase your grams of daily protein.

  • Collagen Protein Powder: collagen is the most abundant protein in humans, but production declines as we age. Collagen protein powder is not a complete protein as it only includes 3 amino acids (glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline), however it has various health benefits, particularly for skin, joints, bones, gut and overall vitality. Collagen is a protein that serves as a building block for your skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and we stop producing it after the age of 25. Combining collagen powder with protein powder is recommended. 

  • Lean Beef: Lean cuts of beef such as sirloin or tenderloin provide complete protein along with important nutrients like iron and zinc. It's essential to choose lean cuts to minimize saturated fat intake (enjoy 2-3 times per month).

Amino acids are often categorized into three groups:

  • Essential amino acids: These are amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own and must be obtained from the diet. They include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

  • Non-essential amino acids: These amino acids can be produced by the body, so it's not necessary to obtain them from the diet. They include alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.

  • Conditional amino acids: These amino acids are usually not essential except in times of illness or stress when the body's demand for them may exceed its ability to produce them. Examples include arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.

Meeting Your Protein Needs

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for most healthy adults is around 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. Calculate your protein intake based on individual factors, such as weight, activity level, and fitness goals, to ensure you're meeting your needs.

Start your day with my go-to breakfast!

Yogurt Protein Parfait with Walnuts & Berries - 27 grams of protein


  • 3 cups Plain Greek Yogurt

  • 1 1/2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk

  • 1/2 cup Chia Seeds

  • 2 tbsps Collagen Peptides Protein Powder

  • 1 cup Vanilla Protein Powder

  • 2 tsps Cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup Walnuts

  • 1/2 cup Blueberries


  1. Using a whisk, combine Greek yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, collagen, protein powder and cinnamon until all ingredients are incorporated.

  2. Top with walnuts and blueberries. Enjoy!

By making complete protein a priority at every meal, you can reap the numerous benefits it offers for your health, energy levels, and overall well-being. So, why wait? Contact me today for a protein-rich meal plan and start incorporating these protein-packed recipes into your daily routine and feel the difference!

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