Adding Protein to Your Student’s Meal Plan

meal plan

Leaving home for college means picking up all sorts of life skills. You’re going to have to learn to fend for yourself, picking up chores and routines to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle. This can vary from household chores to budgeting and more. But one area that you are going to have a big learning curve with is your diet.

Most of us are used to being in family settings where one person creates meals to cater to everyone’s needs. Now, you will be eating the campus meal plan or doing meal planning, prepping and cooking for yourself – most likely in single person portions. Managing a healthy and balanced diet requires focus on a number of areas, but for now, let’s focus on protein. Here’s everything you need to know about getting enough protein into your diet, as well as some tips and tricks on how to manage it!

What is Protein?

Let’s start with the basics. What actually is protein? Put simply, protein is a macronutrient. You may have heard this referred to as a “macro”. These are the type of nutrients that our bodies need in larger amounts. Proteins are made up of chains of amino acids. There are thousands of different types of proteins in your body and each plays its own distinct role. They can benefit everything from your brain to your heart and liver, the antibodies in your immune system and the haemoglobin that carries oxygen in your blood. It is important for muscle and bone development throughout the duration of your life.

Protein Powders

Let’s start with discussing protein powders. This is a highly common form of protein that many people incorporate into their diets. If you’re hitting the gym and looking to build muscle, chances are, you’ve already spent some time researching the different types of protein powder out there. Protein powders offer a simple and straightforward way to get a good hit of protein at any point during the day. Powders tend to come in a choice of flavours, with common options being vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, peanut butter and more. You can stir them into your favourite milkshake recipe, incorporate them into pancake or waffle batter, stir them into porridges or overnight oats and so much more. You may also want to try protein products from similar companies, such as protein bars or protein cakes.

Natural Sources of Protein

There are many sources of protein out there. Some of the most commonly known – as they tend to be most protein packed – are animal based sources of protein. This includes meat, eggs, fish, seafood, milk, yoghurt and more. Of course, you need to make sure that these foods are consumed as part of a healthy and balanced diet. There are also plenty of plant-based forms of protein, so veggies and vegans need not fret. Eat plenty of lentils, beans, soy and soy products like tofu and tempeh.

These are just the basics of protein, but hopefully, some of the information above should help you to incorporate sufficient amounts into your diet for your body to thrive!

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