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One Small Change | Prepping proteins and veggies

Consuming more lean protein takes intentionality. Prepping your protein ahead of time can be a game-changer!

For many of us, the pandemic hasn't been great for our health and fitness level. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and discouraged we're here to help.

13 is ON YOUR SIDE with a new series "One Small Change" every Friday morning. We're encouraging you to make one easy change a week with big benefits.

It's Week 3 of making One Small Change for better health! How are you guys doing? Are you still drinking more water and getting more sleep? 13 ON YOUR SIDE's Meredith TerHaar is doing great with the water, not so great with the sleep!

This week, Jessica Luepke, founder and co-owner of Valeo Training in Holland is encouraging us to try the practice of food prepping.

However, food or meal prep can feel overwhelming, so we found a perfect first step is to focus just on prepping proteins and veggies.

Protein includes food like meat, fish, beans, Greek yogurt and eggs. Vegetables can be a rainbow of produce like spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, and peppers.

Why focus on prepping protein and veggies?

Protein is a repair nutrient and helps us keep our lean muscle. This is especially important because for every decade after age 30, we lose 3-5% of our muscle mass, which slows our metabolism and makes it difficult to function well in our later years. Ensuring we do things like lift weights and consume adequate lean protein is really essential.

Protein also produces important molecules for good immune function. It’s very grounding and can help stabilize your blood sugar, making you feel balanced and satisfied after a meal.

And, if your goal is to get to a healthier weight, bumping up your protein intake can make a massive difference. Not only does protein help you feel fuller faster, it positively affects the hormones that control body fat, especially around our mid-section.

Ok, so how much protein should you have each day?

Take a look at your palm – this is a serving size just right for you.

  • Women, aim for 1-2 palm size portion of protein each meal or snack.
  • Men, aim for 2-3 palms size portions of protein with each meal or snack.

This is over 80 grams a day for women and over 120 grams a day for men.

Most of us don’t reach that and, instead, fill in the nutritional gaps with extra carbohydrates and fats, which can make it difficult to feel well and stay at a healthy weight.

So, consuming more lean protein takes intentionality. Prepping your protein ahead of time can be a game-changer! 

  • Throw in a bag of frozen chicken breasts or thighs in the crockpot or Instant Pot and shred with an electric mixer.
  • Sauté some steak, ground beef or turkey and add some veggies for a quick hash that’s delicious with eggs, on top of your salad or as a side to a smoothie. You could even turn it into sloppy joe or tacos with the fam!
  • Edamame and black beans can be a great addition for those wanting to stick with more plant proteins.

Adding these proteins with veggies makes the ultimate power meal.

  • Slice up some raw veggies and add to jars that make it look more appetizing.
  • Make it easy with pre-packaged salads and bags of frozen veggies to steam or roast.

Some people like to prep food all on one day, like Sunday, or you could simply do it as you cook dinner one night – throw some extra food in the oven while it’s already on.

Once you’ve made them in a big batch, store your prepped food in fridge and mix and match your proteins and veggies for a great quick meal for work or home. Adding sauces and spices can change the flavor profiles so it never gets boring!

Prepping protein and veggies will not only help your budget for times you want to just grab take out, it will provide whole food nutrition to your body to help you feel (even more) awesome and can help you make major moves toward your healthy body goals.

So, this week, let’s practice the One Small Change of prepping protein and veggies. And remember, #PracticeMakesProgress

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