Whether you’re packing on the pounds or simply want to maintain your current weight, adding more protein to your dish could be your slim-down secret weapon.
Past research has found that protein keeps you feeling full longer than either carbs or fat, so you can eat less and still be satiated.
A new study supports this idea: Researchers from the University of Sydney found that people who ate a diet of 10 percent protein reported feeling hungrier and ate 12 percent more calories throughout the day—mostly from mindless snacking—than those eating a 15 percent protein diet.
Researchers estimated that the extra calories eaten by participants on the lowest protein diet could add up to an extra 2.2 pounds of weight gain a month.
Protein is the building block of muscle, and more calories are required to maintain muscle than to preserve fat, which means muscle helps boosts your metabolism.
Bonus: Foods rich in protein are also filled with zinc and B vitamins, both of which strengthen your immune system to help ward off colds and flu. If you’re eating about 1800 calories a day and want to get 15 percent of your calories from protein, you should aim for about 68 grams of protein.
Here are three easy protein switches that up your protein intake for the same number of calories or less. Remember, you want to eat more protein—not calories!—to keep your waistline slim.
Instead of…1/2 cup granola with 1 cup berries (7 grams protein, 250 calories)Try…1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1 cup berries (15 grams protein, 131 calories)
Instead of…1 ¼ cup mashed potatoes (5 grams protein, 296 calories)
Try…1 ¼ cup vegetarian baked beans (15 grams protein, 295 calories)
Instead of…6-inch pancake sans butter or syrup (5 grams protein, 175 calories)
Try…1 cup low-fat plain yogurt with ½ cup apricots (13 grams protein, 186 calories)