spinachSurprising Protein Sources

Protein is an essential macronutrient for building a stronger, fitter body. Learn to look beyond the meat department for quality protein sources.

By Katelyn Castro

Hey Bird Rock Fitters! It’s been just over a month since we finished our Veg Out Bird Rock Fit challenge. For those of you who are not aware, we challenged our members and Internet fans to post pictures of their vegetable-sinpired meals on Instagram. Many of us felt the benefits of increasing our vegetable intake with more energy, better focus, food choice awareness, fat loss, and muscle gain. Wait, muscle gain? Increasing muscle mass comes from consuming protein, right? So what do vegetables have to do with that?

We know that lean cuts of meat like chicken, turkey, pork, and beef are excellent protein sources, but many vegetables are sources of the muscle-building macronutrient as well. One of the top protein-containing veggies is edamame (soy-beans), which contains 29 grams (g) of protein per 1 cup serving! That’s just 6 grams shy of a .5 ounce chicken breast. Post-workout snack, anyone? Other protein-packed vegetables include portabella mushrooms, spinach, Brussels sprouts, seaweed, watercress, asparagus, and broccoli.

Now don’t go thinking that all veggies are created equal. Although they can contain quite a bit of protein, many veggies can also contain starchy carbohydrates. Be mindful of the protein to carbohydrate ratio, as well as the net carbs we talked about in last month’s newsletter. Excess starchy carb intake can lead to fat gain. Click here to check that out in case you missed it.

Lastly, when it comes to protein, our bodies utilize it to recover and repair from workouts, produce energy, and protect lean muscle mass while promoting fat loss. Aim for a diet that consists of a 40% protein, 30% carbohydrate, and 30% fat ratio, and you’ll feel the positive effects of balanced nutrition in no time.

Do you have food-related questions? Be sure to post them on our Facebook page and I’ll do my best to answer them in a timely fashion.

Katelyn Castro is a performance specialist for Bird Rock Fit and a Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant. If you’d like more information on how to enhance your diet for improved results email her at katelyncastro@gmail.com.