Increasing my Protein intake with the #UpbeatChallenge

You’ll know that I’ve been being careful with what I eat recently, my junk food intake has decreased and my portion sizes are smaller and snacking is almost a thing of the past – this is all thanks to the help of my Slimpod – listening to this for 10 minutes a day before bedtime has really done wonders. I will be revealing the results of my 12 week trial later on this week.
Upbeat asked if I would like to take the #UpbeatChallenge a few weeks ago.  For this they sent me a weeks worth of protein based foods and recipes along with some Upbeat drinks to help increase the amount of protein I consume in my diet.
When the delivery arrived I was lad of the recipes they had provided as some of the foods weren’t ones I would usually have chosen and I had no idea what to make with them, thankfully I’m not a fussy eater and am open to trying new meals.
There were foods here which I eat all the time such as Spinach, Feta, Tomatoes, Sweetcorn and Eggs and some which I haven’t tried such as Turkey mince and Quinoa.
What Upbeat say:
“Setting yourself up for the day with a nutritious, filling and balanced breakfast is essential.  Studies show that having a protein rich breakfast helps people resist the temptation of unhealthy snacking later on.
But Protein, as the most filling of foods, isn’t just important in the morning – your body needs it spread regularly throughout the day.  Why? Because we can’t store it for later use like carbohydrates or fat.
Protein’s also a great multi-tasker; not only does it maintain healthy muscles and bones, it also keeps your skin and hair looking healthy, keeping you feeling your best.”
Before the challenge I didn’t really eat that many protein based meals and definitely not protein every day or for every meal.  I often skip breakfast as I just don’t have the time in the mornings so I was dubious as to whether this would have any effect on my eating habits and how I felt.
I started with one of the easy breakfast recipes Creamy yogurt porridge with banana, blueberry & almond topping.
3 Tbsp (25g) porridge oats
150g pot 0% fat probiotic yogurt
For the topping:
1 small banana, chopped
Generous handful of blueberries or thawed frozen raspberries (85g)
small handful toasted flaked almonds
1 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
Tip 200ml water into a small non-stick pan and stir in porridge oats.  Cook over a low heat until bubbling and thickened.
Stir in yogurt.
For the topping, stir the banana into porridge then top with blueberries and flaked almonds and pumpkin seeds for added protein
This was very tasty but a little too creamy for my liking, next time I added less yogurt and a little honey and it was delicious.
It was still too time consuming for me though, although quick it takes preparation time and on weekdays that is seriously lacking here. 
Instead I chose to make a morning smoothies, which if I have breakfast I choose anyway;
My favourite currently is a Banana and Blueberry Smoothie made with Almond milk
I am really enjoying Almond milk at the moment and use it instead of semi-skimmed in all my meals and also in my cooking too.
For this Smoothie I add a small handful of spinach, a glass of almond milk, 1 banana, a large handful of frozen blueberries and some pumping seeds into my Nutribullet and mix it all together – it makes enough for me and the children and as long as they don’t see me adding the spinach they happily drink it.
Lunches have become a little more colourful too, Harry and I really love the Spinach, Sweetcorn and Bean Salad.
1 bag spinach
Cooking spray
70g Pancetta chopped
1 medium corgette, quartered and cut into julienne strips
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup fresh sweetcorn kernels
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
1 tim cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
Heat a non-stick skittle over a medium heat.  Add spinach to the pan with 1 tsp water, cook for 1 minute or until wilted, turning frequently.  Remove from the pan and place in a large bowl.
Wipe pan with kitchen towel , return to a medium heat, add oil, pancetta, courgette and garlic to the pan – cook for 2 minutes. 
Add the sweetcorn, cook for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat, add the parsley and beans, stir well and add to the bowl with the spinach and serve.
I actually don’t like cooked spinach so we had this raw and it was really tasty – even Harry loved it and asked for more.
Throughout the week I also cooked a variety of meals from spinach and egg bagels to Turkey Meatballs with citrus couscous. 
It was nice to try a different variety of foods and make meals which I wouldn’t have made again.
I did find it hard to increase my protein levels so the recipes were used daily, but after a while it would become easier to incorporate high protein foods into our diets – it will just take me a little time.
During the week, even though Harry had been poorly and waking at 4-5am every morning I found I had more energy, didn’t reach for the coffee to keep me awake by 11am and I didn’t snack at all that week and when I was hungry again I reached for the Upbeat drinks and those filled me up until the next meal time.
These drinks are made with real fruit and pack 20g of protein (as much as a chicken breast or 3 eggs) into a 250ml bottle, making it the perfect healthy on-the-go option to keep up willpower levels in the battle against unhealthy snacking.
Upbeat is available in  – Blueberry & Raspberry, Strawberry and Mango & Passionfruit and Chocolate & Orange flavours – they can be bought online and from selected Tesco stores, Tesco, Ocado, The Co-operative Food, Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, WHSmith Travel and Booths.
Nutritional credentials
Upbeat is a truly healthy drink with the following credentials:
·      20g protein
·      No more than 150kcal
·      Half the sugar of leading fruit juices and smoothies
·      Low fat
·      Made with real fruit           
·      A source of calcium
I’ve enjoyed this challenge and intend to try to add more protein into all of our diets.


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