Paleo Protein and Why Protein Is Important
By Nutritional Weight & Wellness Staff
August 2, 2021
If you’ve been with us for awhile you know that we talk about balancing your real food meals with the big three: protein, fat, carbohydrates (of the veggie and fruit variety!). Today, in honor of introducing our newest paleo protein, we’d like to highlight protein (of the big three!).
Why is protein important?
Quality protein is essential for a lot of our bodily functions: metabolism, energy, feel-good-moods, neurotransmitter production, tissue and muscle growth, just to name a few. Here’s a list of why getting enough protein in your daily diet is key:
- Protein makes up all of the tissues in our body!
- It stimulates metabolism by up to 30% for several hours.
- It helps you feel satisfied and helps prevent cravings.
- Protein supports our ability to move our bodies and prevent injury by supporting our bones, tendons, and ligaments.
- It’s essential for healthy immune function.
- Protein is necessary to support feel-good neurotransmitters for a healthy brain.
- Paired with healthy carbohydrates and fat, it keeps our blood sugar stable for good energy and a healthy metabolism.
How much protein is ideal?
For women, we recommend 3-4 ounces of protein at each meal and 1-2 ounces at snacks. For men, we recommend 5-6 ounces of protein at each meal and 2-3 ounces at snacks. One great way to eyeball portion sizes for meals is to use the palm of your hand as a guide. Even better to use a food scale for accuracy!
That might seem like a lot, especially if you’re used to getting just a smattering of chicken on your salad or in your pasta meat sauce. The good news is there are a variety of animal proteins to choose from: chicken, fish, turkey, lamb, grass-fed beef, eggs, pork, protein powder. These animal proteins can be consumed in a variety of ways: nitrate free meat sticks, ground meat, steaks, scrambles or quiches, bacon (yes you can have bacon!), roasts in your slow cooker, and a plethora of one pot dishes.
Why we like protein shakes?
Like most people, our days get busy with work, family, and other commitments. So sometimes it’s nice to rely on a quick and easy protein shake to balance blood sugar and have the energy to get through the day. A balanced protein shake gets all of the big three (protein, fat, carbs!) in all at once in a delish combination that even kids will enjoy. You can drink one just about anywhere (even put it in a coffee mug during those Zoom meetings), they’re easy to make, they easily last in the fridge for a few days if you make a big batch, and you can switch up the flavors to keep it interesting!
So what’s the buzz with paleo protein?
No, you don’t have to follow a “paleo” specific diet to enjoy this yummy dairy-alternative to protein powder. NutriKey Paleo Protein is a great-tasting beef protein powder rich in essential amino acids and contains absolutely no lactose/dairy and minimal fat. Because beef protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids, it serves a valuable role in supporting body composition, fitness, and overall bodily function, like we mentioned above.
Now don’t let the sound of “beef protein powder” fool you! NutriKey Paleo Protein comes in two bold flavors of vanilla and chocolate. Even your toughest critics (little kids!) will like it. Not only does it taste like vanilla (with a hint of butterscotch!) or chocolate, but it also dissolves easily in a glass of water or coconut milk. We can’t stand protein powder that globs up into a ball and doesn’t mix well!
Often those with a dairy sensitivity can’t tolerate a whey protein, and paleo is a great alternative that won’t upset stomachs, but give the flexibility of having a serving of protein on the go in a smoothie or baking with it in a recipe.
Speaking of smoothies and recipes, here are a few ways to use your new tub of paleo protein (or whey protein if you prefer!):
We frequently see clients who have children who aren’t feeling well due to an unknown dairy sensitivity. They’re excited to start feeling better, but once they realize that means no more chocolate milk we see some sad faces. That is until they realize there’s a way to make it happen! This recipe is sure to win over even the biggest chocolate milk fans.
- Blend 1 cup water, one scoop of chocolate NutriKey Paleo Protein, 2 tablespoons heavy cream and chipped ice.
- For more energy, add 1-2 teaspoons MCT Oil.
A glass of this sugar-free “milk” would make a great complement to breakfast, especially if your little one (or you) won’t touch other protein sources. Add one hard-boiled egg, a large sliced apple or a slice of 100% whole rye toast with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter or almond butter and you’ve got a balanced meal.
We've found that most people with a dairy intolerance aren't bothered by heavy cream. The higher the fat content the lower the lactose. If heavy cream doesn’t work for your household, try 2 tablespoons of full fat coconut cream instead to get that smooth texture.
Banana Muffin Recipe
Sometimes you just need a little baked good for breakfast, for an after-school snack, or to share with coworkers in the office. These gluten free banana muffins are packed with protein and made without any refined sugars. It’s a great way to use up those spotted bananas on the counter and a fun way to sneak in some protein.
- Preheate oven to 350 degrees. Mix 2 ½ c. almond flour, ½ c. NutriKey Vanilla paleo protein, 1½ tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, and ½ tsp salt in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix together 1/3 c. melted coconut oil, 4 eggs, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, and 1 tsp vanilla. Add ripe bananas.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Fold in nuts (optional).
- Grease muffin tin with coconut oil. Fill 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Like to print this recipe to keep handy in the kitchen? Get the Banana Muffin Recipe here.
Protein Strawberry Shake Recipe
Keeping it classic with this recipe recommendation because sometimes simple is where it’s at! Throw all of these no-fuss ingredients into the blender, sip it, and you’re on your way to the next part of your day. The beauty of this protein shake recipe is you can switch out the fruit for whatever you have on hand or for the variety that your tastebuds are craving. This single serving is considered a balanced meal and can be made dairy free:
- Combine in ½ c. plain, full-fat yogurt, 1 c. fresh or frozen strawberries (or other fruit with no added sugar), 2 T. canned coconut milk, 1½ scoops 1 scoop NutriKey Vanilla Paleo Protein, and an optional 1 scoop NutriKey Key Greens & Fruits - Strawberry Kiwi into a blender.
- Blend until smooth and creamy.
To make this dairy free, substitute ¼ c. canned coconut milk and ½ c. water for yogurt. To make your week a little more stress-free, double or triple the recipe and store in jars in the fridge for later.
If you’re looking for more variety to shake up your protein shake, check out this template on How to Make the Perfect Smoothie:
To summarize, protein is one of the important macronutrients that’s needed for a variety of bodily functions, including energy, metabolism, healthy tissues, muscle growth, and good moods. As real food nutrition educators, we recommend a quality protein powder to supplement your real food animal protein to make sure you’re getting all of your protein needs met. Benefits of our NutriKey Paleo Protein are:
- Easily digestible, complete source of protein with no dairy
- Supports lean body mass (muscle tissue)
- Paleo diet friendly
- Comes in two great flavors: Vanilla and Chocolate
- Mixes easily with any liquid
- Superb choice for on-the-go
- Gluten free, non-GMO, and cGMP certified
If you’d like to dive into more of the protein discussion (or looking for more ways to use it), check out these resources:
- Listen: Eating to Maintain a Strong Body & Mind As We Age – hint: quality protein!
- Read: How to Pick a Quality Protein Bar
- Learn: 5 Steps to Boost Metabolism
- Try: Peanut Butter Protein Balls for a yummy snack