What is Protein

What is protein and why should you be eating it with every meal.

By Emily Rutherford

protein turkey meatballs
Turkey Meatballs Protein packed


Protein is one of the three main nutrients found in food that the body needs in large amounts, as it is essential to the functionality of the body. Our bodies are able to make some proteins on their own, but there are many that we can only get from food.  There is an extensive list of operations that proteins enable in the body but in the gym we primarily focus on how it supports muscle contraction, movement and growth, and what it can do for weight loss.  

What happens during a workout?

During a workout we create small tears in our muscle tissue. The mending and repair of those tears is what helps us to build bigger, stronger muscles. The amino acids in proteins are crucial to that function. Which means if we want that muscle growth to consistently happen, we should consistently be including protein in our meals and snacks.

Protein and weight-loss

Protein benefits our weight loss goals too. It packs about four calories per gram and is slow to digest. So it allows us to consume a reasonable amount of calories while helping to keep us full and satiated for a longer period of time. Try an experiment some time—have an apple as a snack and see how long you stay full. Next time, have half an apple with 12 almonds, a tablespoon of peanut butter or 3/4 a cup of plain greek yogurt (which has more protein than regular yogurt) and see if you notice a difference. 

If you need help figuring out what sources of protein best support your health goals, reach out to us for a Free Nutrition Consult. Here are two recipes to try!

Chia Seed Pudding

Makes 2 servings

2 cups milk of your choice

1 tbsp maple syrup or honey

1/2 cup chia seeds

2 scoops of vital proteins Collagen Powder (1 serving size)

Pinch cinnamon

1/4 cup fresh fruit

1 Tbsp crushed nuts

Create a milk base by blending the milk, maple syrup or honey and collagen powder in a blender until completely blended. Stir in cinnamon. Add milk base to chia seeds, and allow to soak for at least 15 minutes or overnight. Stir. Top with fresh fruit and crushed nuts before serving. 

Turkey and Veggie Meatballs

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 c. finely grated Parmesan

1/3 c. almond flour or oat flour

1/2 c. grated zucchini or carrot 

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt 

1 lb. ground turkey

1 egg

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle the oil across the paper (use your fingers to spread evenly). 

Place the grated zucchini or carrot in the center of a clean towel. Twist the towel closed and squeeze out as much liquid from the veggies as possible. 

In a large bowl, combine the parmesan, flour, zucchini or carrot, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and egg and use your hands to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes to absorb moisture. 

Use a spoon to scoop and your hands to form the meat into golf-ball sizes, about 16 total meatballs. Place the meatballs evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet. 

Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each meatball, and return to the oven for 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are crispy and lightly browned. Cut open a meatball to check for doneness (no pink). 

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