Spoiler: When you’re training, what you eat is just as important as what you do in the gym. Research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign backs up the theory we all know to be true – post-workout protein helps speed up recovery. It’s also essential when you’re trying to build more muscle. So, how can you increase protein in your diet? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here are five simple changes you can make that will boost your intake.

1. Use Protein Powder in Delicious Recipes

Some of us can get tired of chugging protein shakes day in and day out, and the last thing you want is to get bored with your diet. Why not mix things up and add the powder to a tasty recipe instead?

red velvet smoothie

There are plenty of ways you can make your post-workout treat more exciting. We recently tried out a red velvet smoothie recipe from The Method. Packing cacao, banana, zucchini, and some protein powder, you can’t get much better than this. Who would have thought adding the powder to the mix would work so well?

You can also try adding protein powder to breakfast meals like pancakes and waffles, sprinkling it into yogurt, or baking healthy desserts with it.

2. Eat Small Amounts of Protein Throughout the Day

Don’t forget you need protein all day — not only after a workout. Protein helps fight fatigue, rebuilds and repairs your tissues, and provides long-lasting energy since it breaks down in the body more slowly than carbohydrates. This means you should be eating small amounts of protein consistently throughout the day.

Plus, if you get peckish during the day, you could be tempted to reach for a sweet, sugary snack. Don’t make that mistake. This is another opportunity to make sure you slip a little more protein into your day-to-day diet.

how to increase protein through the day

How, you ask? A common complaint is it can be challenging to bring your chicken or fish to work with you. Use something like the King Kong backpack, which comes with ice packs and keeps your food cold all day long. The next time hunger strikes, you will have just what you need to satisfy it.

3. Garnish Your Meals With Seeds

So, you’ve just cooked a delicious and healthy meal — but how can you add a little extra protein? Sprinkling seeds or nuts on your plate will increase your protein intake and add a crunchy twist to an otherwise ordinary meal.

What’s more, this addition to your dinner plate could help keep your heart stronger than ever before. Protein from nuts and seeds promotes a healthy cardiovascular system in humans, according to the results of a study from the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center which came out this month.

4. Buy in Bulk From a Meal Delivery Service

Between working, training, and having a social life, you hardly have a spare minute. So, you could find it hard to make time for food prep each week. Rather than messing up your diet and not getting the protein you need, why not buy your meals in bulk and have somebody else do the hard work?

Ordering your meals ahead of time from a meal prep and delivery service means you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat each day. When you get home from a long day, you can just reach in the fridge, find something that looks good, and chow down. Plus, you can be certain it’s packing a major protein punch.

5. Eat the Protein on Your Plate First

When you sit down to enjoy a home-cooked meal, there’s one rule you should keep in mind. Start with the protein on your plate. Rather than digging in and filling up on carbs or starchy foods, you should tuck into the protein source first. This little trick will help you boost the overall amount of protein you eat and will prevent you from possibly munching on other (unhealthier) things. The reason is simple. Protein helps with the production of the hormone known as peptide YY, which makes you feel satisfied and full when eating.

Getting more protein is easier than you may have imagined. It doesn’t mean constantly eating, but making some small dietary and lifestyle changes. Try these five tips and you’re sure to be onto a winner.