Meal Prep for Low Carb, High Protein Diets
Three decades ago, the phrase “low-carb, high-protein” would have conjured up the image of a competitive bodybuilder. In our time, active men and women from every walk of life thrive with this diet. If you are considering this nutrition path, it pays to understand how to succeed with meal prep for a low-carb, high-protein diet.
Pros and Cons of Meal Prep for Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets
There is no official standard for a low-carb, high-protein diet. Over time, the worldwide nutrition community has reached a consensus that a diet with 25% or fewer calories from carbohydrates qualifies as low-carb. Similarly, 30% or more calories from protein make a diet high-protein.
Moving beyond numbers, why do people adopt these diets? In one word, the answer is “muscle.” For a person whose body composition contains too much fat tissue, cutting calories will indeed reduce their weight. That weight reduction comes with a price: reduced muscle mass. Besides increasing the difficulty of everyday activities, lower muscle mass adversely affects a person’s metabolism.
To maintain or increase muscle mass, you must consume adequate protein. Most people find that higher protein consumption reduces their hunger pangs, but the benefits do not stop there.
How Does More Protein Aid Weight Loss?
Reducing carbohydrates while retaining a healthy amount of protein maintains that vital muscle mass. Better still, maintaining — or increasing — that muscle mass improves your body’s metabolism.
Once you push your carbohydrate calorie consumption below 25%, replacing all of those carbs with protein is practically impossible. That means that fat, along with protein, will assume a higher proportion of your caloric intake.
Happily, the metabolic mechanism that puts protein to work cranks up your body’s ability to efficiently convert fat to energy. These effects make a low-carb, high-protein diet a healthy way for many people to achieve their ideal weight.
Who Should Avoid a High-Protein Diet?
Meal prep for low-carb, high-protein diets is for active people. Persons who maintain a sedentary lifestyle and hike their protein consumption will see no benefits and may well do themselves harm. Without diligent muscle-building activities, high protein intake stresses the kidneys.
If you are confronting diabetes, consult with your physician before upping the protein ratio in your diet. If you have diabetes and aim to become more active — congratulations — you should also consider asking your physician for a referral to a sports nutritionist.
Consider Hormones and Antibiotics
A move to a low-carb, high-protein diet means higher consumption of meat products. Many beef and poultry producers use antibiotics with their animals. Some beef producers also introduce synthetic hormones into the animals they raise.
The consequences of these two practices continue to stir fierce debate. Proponents of antibiotics argue that using these medications reduces the number of animals lost to diseases. More animals reaching maturity means a more reliable food supply. Antibiotic critics argue that introducing these substances into the food chain hikes the risk of superbugs and antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
Growth hormone proponents argue that beef cattle raised with these substances yield more meat, a high-quality protein source. Critics contend that while humans have thrived for millennia on beef with natural hormones, synthetics have introduced an unproven x-factor.
Many people believe that beef from cattle raised without synthetic hormones tastes better. Either way, product labels make it straightforward to avoid these substances when you meal prep for a low-carb, high-protein diet. One fact remains certain: If you avoid meat and poultry with these additives, your risk drops to zero.
Chicken’s Essential Role in Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets
In a low-carb, high-protein diet, chicken ticks off nearly every box. For nutritional bang-for-the-buck, chicken breasts particularly excel. In fact, 80% of a chicken breast’s calories derive from protein, with only 20% accruing to fat.
Compared to 100 grams of fat-trimmed tri-tip steak, 100 grams of chicken breasts delivers three more grams of protein with 20% less fat. At a lower cost, chicken thighs still deliver nutritional value with 53% of calories derived from protein.
Along with value, chicken also delivers versatility. Popular chicken dishes include:
- Teriyaki Chicken
- Burrito bowls
- Barbecued chicken
- Chicken Parmesan
Chicken is easy to prepare, making it a great option when you want to reduce the time you spend on meal prep for a low-carb, high-protein diet.
Vegetables in Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets
When you reduce the number of carbs in your diet, elevating the quality becomes a priority. Your mom insisted that you eat your vegetables. With a low-carb, high-protein diet, your mom’s advice remains sound.
Your intestines are home to more than 100 trillion bacteria. Many of these bugs help your body break down the food you eat. Other microorganisms play an essential role in your immune system. Unfortunately, your microbiome also includes pathogenic bacteria that can threaten your health.
Consuming dietary fiber helps the good bugs squeeze out the pathogens. For all their other virtues, meat and dairy products contain relatively little dietary fiber. Vegetables deliver that nutritional necessity.
Low-Carb, High-Fiber Vegetables
Cauliflower offers an exceptionally high ratio of dietary fiber to carbohydrates. If you find traditional florets unappealing, use a food processor or a grater to create cauliflower rice. Alternatively, roast cauliflower in your oven.
Other healthy vegetables include zucchini, onions, bell peppers, garlic, spinach, sweet potatoes and broccoli. Aim to include at least two of these vegetables in your meal prep regimen every day. Nachos offer an ideal way to make the most of meat and vegetables.
Meal Prep for Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets Made Easy
There is one remaining essential ingredient for a low-carb, high-protein diet: time. When you have the time, meal prep is an ideal way to wind down from a frazzling day. Unfortunately, not every day makes room for relaxing food preparation.
On those packed days, you have two options. One path is to toss aside your dietary goals and settle for calories from processed food. MaxFit Meals offers a superior alternative with an extensive menu of ready-to-heat meals delivered right to your door.
Our beef and poultry dishes are free of antibiotics and added hormones. Nearly one-third of our menu meets the low-carb standard, and every meal lists calorie, fat, protein, and carb content. Check out MaxFit Meals for no-compromise meal prep for a low-carb, high-protein diet in a fast-paced life.