Regular protein intake (eaten at every meal) is something I recommend often. Protein helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, which aids in the balance of all our hormones, mood and energy levels. Protein provides the building blocks for every single part of our body from our skin, hair and nails to our muscles, bones, immune system, neurotransmitters, hormones……the list is long.

Initially, I based total protein requirements on the 0.8gm (for a fairly sedentary individual) through to 1.5gm (for a male new to resistance training) per kg of body weight. For a 70kg individual this would range between 56gm – 106gm of protein a day.

More recently I’ve been recommending at least 30g of protein per meal -breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I have seen vast improvements in sustained energy, weight loss, fewer cravings and in-between meal snacking as well as overall health and well-being.

According to the Protein Leverage Hypothesis, protein is the most satiating macronutrient which can make it helpful for weight loss; and when you don’t consume enough protein, you may keep eating until you do. This may be the reason some individuals experience cravings or find themselves tending to binge on carbs and fat

The exact amount of protein an individual requires depends on their body size, energy expenditure and goals. Most females need at least 90 grams per day (1.5 g per kg body weight), and probably more if they are quite physically active. Protein should be consumed in divided doses -30g at each meal for example.

As a guideline 30g is usually 1.5 serves of protein powder, 1 can of legumes, 230g of tofu, 4 large eggs, 135g cooked salmon, 100g cooked chicken breast, 100g cooked lean beef. This seems like a lot of food and initially, it will be. Slowly increase the amount of protein you consume daily. This allows your body time to adjust. Over time you’ll likely find yourself less inclined to eat in between meals and reach for those extra snacks throughout the day.

Natalee Durrant – Naturopath and Medical Herbalist