5 PRO TIPS on how to make optimal use of your protein intake.
1) Eat four to five portions of 20-25 grams of protein per day. Try to eat one portion every two to three hours. For example, 200 ml of quark, two slices of bread with egg or cheese or 200 ml yoghurt with 3 spoons of muesli. All of these meals provide you with roughly the recommended amount.
2) Take one larger portion before you go to bed. Nighttime is THE moment for recovery. If you eat 0.5 g/kg protein before you go to bed, your body can use this protein to recover throughout the night. You might want to opt for slow-releasing protein (casein), which you can find in either special protein powders or quark. Be aware that milk contains mainly whey; fast releasing protein.
3) Since protein is made up of different building blocks, try to rotate your source of protein. These blocks are called amino acids. Nine of the twenty existing amino acids are essential, which means that our body is not able to produce them. We need to get them from our diet. By combining and varying different kind or proteins, you make sure you eat all the amino acids you need. Eggs are an excellent source of protein: they contain all the different amino acids. One egg provides you with roughly 7 grams of protein.
4) Plant-based protein is ok. You don’t need chicken, beef and eggs in your daily diet. Although they are excellent sources of protein, you can have sufficient protein intake without them. Make sure to combine different types of plant-based protein to get the whole amino acid profile. Whole wheat bread with nut butter, brown rice with pulses or bulgur with beans give you the whole spectrum.
5) Don’t skip on carbs. Yes, we do need protein. But enough is enough. You don’t need more than 2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight, per day. It won’t do you any harm if you eat more, as long as you still get in enough fats and carbohydrates. Fats provide you with very important fatty acids, and carbohydrates (especially the complex one) are a perfect source of essential fiber, vitamins and minerals.
About Miriam van Reijen: Miriam is a Sports Nutrition Expert and Pro-Triathlete. She is advising (elite) athletes on a healthy diet & lifestyle to optimize their performance and to maintain/aim for, a healthy weight. She is writing semi-scientific articles about running, nutrition, training and health for municipality Amsterdam, Intersport Losse Veter, Triathlonsport, Runnersworld, Sportgericht, Santé, Match Magazine and author of the book 'Hardloperskookboek'.
Miriam van Reijen (1983) studied Development Economics at the Wageningen University and Human Movement Sciences at the VriJe Universiteit of Amsterdam where she finalized her PhD in January 2019.
She took up running on the age of 24 and since then has medalled in marathon (pb 2h41), duathlon (National Dutch Champion 2017 and bronze medal at the World Championship at 2017) and Triathlon (bronze medal at National Long Distance and a 4th place at the European Championships, both in 2019).
Miriam lives, trains and works in Amsterdam with her boyfriend and two cats.