Protein is the building block of muscle. As you age, you need to give your body more of it to combat age-related muscle loss and support your muscle-building efforts - up to 140% more! The recommendation for those trying to build muscle is 1.4 - 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (g/kg/day). That means a 140-pound woman should consume between 89 and 128 grams of protein daily (Jager et al. 2017). This protein consumption should be spread throughout the day with at least 20g at each meal.
This nutritional recommendation is the one my clients find most challenging. They report that they feel heavy or sluggish after eating protein. Some of this is because protein takes longer to digest, which helps you feel full longer and helps stabilize blood sugar. Thus, more protein is good when trying to keep blood sugar levels even and lose weight. However, summertime adds an extra challenge because the heat makes us gravitate toward refreshing and light foods like salads, fruits, and vegetables and avoid heavier proteins.
To increase your protein intake, consider some alternative ways to supplement protein in your diet. Foods high in protein, like egg whites, low-fat cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt, can help you stay cool and meet your requirements. You can also maximize the protein in other foods. For instance, by eating cold pasta salads with chickpea, lentil, or edamame pasta instead of wheat pasta, and adding beans or tofu, you will boost the protein profile of a summer staple. Lastly, a protein smoothie offers a refreshing option on a hot day. Try my recipe below for a summertime Peach Cobbler Smoothie!
Peach Cobbler Protein Smoothie
1-2 cups non-dairy or dairy milk or coconut water
1 serving vanilla protein powder of choice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 fresh peach, pitted
1/2 soft ripe banana
Add ice and blend together until smooth. Enjoy!