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If you’re serious about the gym, then you need to be on top of what you’re eating because your body won’t be able to perform if it’s not properly nourished. We’ve already blogged about the importance of protein (https://thethamesclub.co.uk/everything-you-need-to-know-about-protein/), so today we’re going to talk about how you can work it into your diet.

Balance every meal  
It’s easy to get tunnel vision about protein intake. Dinner or lunch are a great place to start, but a balanced and satisfying diet can only be achieved by incorporating this macronutrient into breakfast and snacks too. Easy ways to up your morning intake include opting for eggs, adding a scoop of protein powder to your cereal or smoothie, or even eating leftovers from the night before. Turns out the student style of eating isn’t quite as bad as we thought – although, maybe skip the 8am korma.

Snack foods are often high in carbs and low in protein, but it’s important to avoid starchy fillers if you want your hard work in the gym to show. Again, leftovers can be a simple way of quickly grabbing something nutritionally-balanced. Next time you’re making anything that can fit into Tupperware and be eaten in under 3 minutes, cook extra and stock your fridge. For on-the-go munching, protein balls are a great shout and will often contain good fats too. Or bring it back to basics with a glass of milk or natural yogurt.

For pudding – because we all love a little something sweet – opt for healthy twists on old classics. Chocolate chia seed pudding is better than the real thing (ironic, given that it’s made with ‘real’ ingredients!). Chickpea brownies are dangerously moreish. And there’s even high protein low calorie ice cream out there. Bake happy by experimenting with protein powders, alternative flours, and healthier oils. It’s fun and you’ll have the benefit of knowing exactly what you’re eating.

Protein products      
Protein shakes, protein bars, and high protein versions of regular foods are increasingly popular. They’re also expensive, so the question is do you need them? To stop yourself from wasting money on unnecessary top-ups, you ought to work out the optimal amount of protein for your body (see above) and consider whether your diet is giving you all you need. From there you can decide whether protein boosting products will actually add anything to your nutrition.

Another thing to be aware of when using these products, especially shakes and bars, is the other ingredients they contain. They’re often laden with sugar or chemical sweeteners. When compared to the fresh and natural foods we’ve suggested above they…well, they don’t really.

This isn’t to say that you should shun protein products, but rather than you should be careful about what you put into your body. If you’d like some professional advice, call into The Thames Club’s nutritionist and have a chat. There are also personal trainers on hand who will be more than happy to give you some tried and tested recommendations. And, of course, if you want to actually eat, the Breakfast By Bella Deli serves a range of healthy, high protein options for all times of the day.