Since I started paying attention to how much I eat each day and calculating how much I should be eating, I noticed that I wasn't getting even half the amount of protein I needed daily.
It's very hard to get protein in your diet when eating out or going to cafes. You might crave that parma ham and cheese croissant but you're eating 400 calories and only 17% of that is protein, where 34% is carbs and 48% is fat!
(There's a chocolate cake in front of me right now and it's killing me inside.)
It can be really difficult to eat out in Edinburgh when you're hunting for high-protein/low-carb and low-fat foods. If you stumble into a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, you can kiss your macro deficit goodbye for the day.
Needless to say, it took me awhile to figure out how to get more protein.
Here's how I do it:
Chicken all day err day. I buy about 950 grams of chicken breast from Tesco for only £5.50 and use it for almost every recipe because it's lean and versatile, if you season it right. For lazy people like me, you can buy a seasoning and rub it into the chicken, pop it into the oven for about 20 minutes, and you're good. *Remember, ketchup and bbq sauce are your best friends.
Chili for days. I make a huge pot of chili on a cold, wintery day and it'll provide leftovers to pop into the fridge or freezer. Tesco has 500 grams of 5% fat (that's very important) ground beef for £4.00. Fat makes food taste good, so don't get discouraged if your chili isn't as incredible as the ones you'd get in a restaurant—it's just because you're eating lean meat.
Again, if you're lazy like me, buy the chili con carne seasoning sachet at the store and recipe is literally on the back of it.
Sushi. Plain sashimi is protein. You can't go wrong with that. Just beware of your roll intake with all of the fats and carbs. Fitness coach Mike Vacanti has an incredible guide for sushi macros.
0% Fat Greek Yogurt. I used to hate yogurt. I didn't understand why people liked it and I would try eating those yogurts that came with a packet of mini-m&ms but ended up filtering the m&ms out and just eating those.
Oh god, remember Go-gurts? Yuck!
Fage's Greek Yogurt with 0% Fat was just too good to pass up so I started eating it doused in honey... And then I started to like it, and then I started to crave it. It's a perfect source of protein with 10 grams per 100 grams of yogurt. For even more protein, just add a scoop of protein powder and stir it up.
Protein Powder. I use whey protein and sometimes pea protein. The issue with pea is that there are more carbs per serving. Protein powder can taste nasty. If I want to spice it up and I've got macros to work with, I'll put powder in a blender with almond milk, a banana, dark cocoa powder, and maybe a small scoop of peanut butter. It's pretty class.
I also like to make a protein hot chocolate. Do this by heating milk in a saucepan with protein powder (preferably chocolate flavored), dark cocoa powder, a drop of vanilla extract, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a small scoop of coconut oil. I find the fattiness of the coconut oil helps it taste better.
Protein Pancakes. What! Yep, it's true. There are pancake mixes with protein in it. Right now I'm using a mix that has 35g of protein per serving. It's freaking awesome.
Protein dessert. Bodybuilding.com has a lot of recipes. I was headed to a friend's flat for a get-together last weekend and I knew I'd spiral down a hole of fatty snacks, so I decided to make my own.
I made these cookies and used white and milk chocolate buttons instead of kisses. I'll admit, it didn't really stop me from scarfing down cupcakes from Cuckoo's Bakery but I tried to restrain myself. I tried.
Protein bars. I'm on the fence about these. They can taste good and be a quick and easy source of protein but they've got a lot of crap in them. They might be packed with protein but can screw you over with calories, which is why I caution you to eat these in moderation.
The best tasting protein bars I've found are Grenade's Carb Killa bars. They are low-carb with 20-23 grams of protein, depending on the flavor.
They taste like candy-bars. On a seven-hour trip to the States, my boyfriend and I tore through six bars like fiends.
Beware of bars that aggressively promote themselves as a protein-filled snack. There are a ton of nut bars at Tesco that wave at you and say "HEY I'VE GOT PROTEIN IN ME!"
I bet you it's only 10 grams of protein and a shit ton of fat. Nuts are extremely fatty. This is a very sad truth... I miss my spoonfuls of peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Eat Natural "Protein Packed" Bar vs. Carbkilla Caramel Chaos Bar
Fat: 13 grams 7 grams
Carbs: 13 grams 13 grams
Protein: 10 grams 23 grams
Where can you get protein bars and powder in Edinburgh?
Holland & Barrett. They are scattered throughout the city with three in New Town alone. This is your source for all things healthy—superfoods, vitamins, supplements, powders, bars, essential oils, and the list goes on and on. I bought peppermint oil there to ward off the giant spiders in my flat. (It works, by the way.)
For a way better guide than this check out Mike Vacanti's blog post: How To Get More Protein. Please comment below with your own tips on how to add more protein to your diet. For vegans and vegetarians, I'm sorry this post isn't very helpful!