Five Protein Pointers to Feel Your Best

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Do you feel like you’re not getting enough protein in your diet? Not sure what the right amount to be eating is? We spoke to fitness expert and founder of The Booty Barre, Tracey Mallett, to get the scoop. “When I eat the right amount of protein, I feel my best—alert and ready to accomplish my daily goals," Mallet says.

A few small tweaks to your daily nutrition routine can have serious effects on how you feel and look. "There are lots of ways to get the protein you need every day, and becoming more aware of your protein needs will help you not only feel your best but also make choices that help you stay on track to being your healthiest." Mallett shared these tips to easily incorporate protein into your healthy diet:

Make sure you know your protein number. Your protein needs are as unique as you are. There are an array of tools and resources to assist you in becoming more protein-smart, such as Kashi's protein calculator. This helpful tool enables individuals to determine their unique amount of daily protein needs, and can empower you to make food choices that will benefit your overall well-being.

Have nutritious snacks readily available. Hitting that afternoon slump and tempted to reach for not-so-nutritious chips or cookies? Pack baggies full of almonds for a portion-controlled hit of protein, or dip raw broccoli in hummus for a flavorful, crunchy afternoon snack.

Develop weekly meal plans. It's easy to come home after work and be too tired to cook a nutritious meal for your family. Instead, try grocery shopping on Sunday and plan healthful meals for the week that include lean meats, lots of legumes and beans, and whole-grains like quinoa, which offers protein content that is superior to that of most grains, because it contains all the essential amino acids. The leftovers can be used for lunches.

Choose protein and good fats over low-fat or low-calorie foods. Stock your cabinets full of lentils, beans, nuts, whole-grains and avocados as well as your favorite protein cereal. Fill your refrigerator with wild fish, skinless chicken, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. And have dried apricots or cherries on hand to enjoy as a snack throughout the day.

Take time for you. You are important! If you don't feel your best, your family, job and kids will feel the effects. Make sure to get the positive nutrition you need, including the right amount of protein, to ensure you're at your best in all aspects of life. A healthy, balanced lifestyle comes from the inside first.