After successfully losing the last of my baby weight, I thought it would be good to have a new target. I didn’t want to stop going to the gym (or put the weight back on) so decided I would simply try and become more toned.
My personal trainer, Jasmine from Train and Sustain advised me that whilst I could achieve this from gym workouts, it was also really important to look at my diet. I had been doing well eating low calorie food but this wouldn’t necessarily help me build muscle.
I knew in theory that protein was important for building muscle, but this generally just conjured up images of steak. Jasmine explained that what protein really does is keep blood sugar levels stable. By avoiding ups and downs in blood glucose, you are less likely to feel hungry and therefore less likely to seek out junk. But there are ‘good proteins’ which help stimulate the metabolic process: egg whites, lean beef and pork, chicken and turkey, salmon and tuna. It was clear that I wasn’t really consuming most of these things. Sadly, coffee isn’t on the list.
Jasmine also made it clear that carbohydrates were not off the menu. Again, there are ‘good carbohydrates’ that actually help keep your metabolism working. I had previously associated carbohydrates with bread and pasta, but actually there are some great sources: oatmeal, sweet potatoes, multigrain cereals, brown rice, broccoli, spinach, salad greens, asparagus, grapefruit, apples, blueberries, pears, and oranges.
I also discovered I wasn’t really snacking enough. Jasmine explained that to get my metabolism really working I might actually have to eat more – throughout the day and not just at traditional meal times.
Looking at my menu planning, it was clear that I had my breakfast and evening meals sorted. The problem was lunch.
I was eating in the school lunch hall (which has a great selection). But all too often I was eating the wrong thing. People also eat really quickly there so I usually ended up doing exactly the same – leaving feeling bloated and slightly gross.
It was time to switch things up completely so I started off by buying a new lunchbox. I’ve really been enjoying making Katie’s packed lunches so decided to keep with the idea of Bento.
What to put in a protein packed lunch
Each day, I’ve simple been putting together a range of foods that are all rich in protein.
Left: Humous, peppers, falafel, and pear. Right: Cottage cheese, spinach, almonds, edamame beans, and chicken.
Left: Cottage Cheese, almonds, rocket, and edamame beans. Right: Cucumber, humous, and a boiled egg.
Sometimes I’ve eaten all of this in one sitting, but sometimes I chose to eat a little at break time. However, I have also improved at taking decent snacks to work and not just fruit.
Jasmine suggested mixing natural yoghurt, desiccated coconut, and protein powder together. This has become my go snack and is actually so yummy it’s hard not to have it each day.
Particularly if I’m heading to the gym in the evening, I’ve also tried to have a protein shake in the afternoon. I’ve taken mixing a scoop of powder with coconut or almond milk. Served poured over ice it’s actually a lot more palatable that I thought it would be!
Do you take a packed lunch to work? What do you include in it? I’d love a few more ideas if yours is protein rich! If you wanted to return here later then pin it: