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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Best Diet Ever: Eat lean protein with every meal and snack

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Protein contains essential amino acids that your body needs to build and repair itself. It has the secondary benefit of requiring more energy than carbohydrates or fat to digest. If you consume 100 calories of protein, your body will burn up to 30 of those calories during the digestion process. Foods high in protein also tend to create a sense of satiety, or feeling of being full.

Some good sources of lean protein besides the oft mentioned chicken breasts, fish, and lower fat cuts of beef and pork are:

  • cottage cheese
  • yogurt
  • eggs
  • soy products

If your diet tends to be higher in fat, choose low fat or non fat dairy products, as a large portion of their fat is of the saturated, unhealthy variety. Also, yogurt is a good choice, but watch out for highly sweetened versions with lots of added sugar. Try plain yogurt mixed with honey and berries. Eggs are another fantastic source of protein. If you enjoy eggs, but don't enjoy the additional calories, I would suggest using a 50:50 mix of whole eggs to egg whites.

What about peanut butter and protein bars?

In my opinion, most protein bars are just glorified candy bars. Sure they are convienient, but my preference is for real food. If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to eat something and you don't have any other options, then go on ahead and have one. The chocolate coating is usually high in palm, coconut, or palm kernel oil which means they are pretty high in saturated fat. Try to find one that contains 3g of saturated fat or lower.

Peanut butter is a healthy option, but it only contains about one half of the protein density as the above listed foods. It is also a very calorie dense food at approximately 200 calories per two tablespoon serving. And honestly how many people only eat two tablespoons. I do eat it in moderation, but I consider it primarily a fat as opposed to a protein. I buy a product called Naturally More that is peanut butter mixed with flax oil, flax seeds, wheat germ, egg whites to boost protein content, and a little honey for sweetness. It rocks and it has 167 calories/Tbsp. and 10 grams of protein. I've seen it at health food stores, but it is half the cost at Wally World.

Do you try to eat some protein with every meal? Which is your favorite lean protein source?

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4 comments:

S William said...

One of the reasons I eat a protein bar with saturated (and unsaturated fat for that matter) is because I get little to no fat at all from the rest of my daily food. They are also great supplemental vitamin sources.

You are dead on regarding protein. Too few dieters get enough, especially women.

Fit Club Scott said...

Protein for women?! They wouldn't want to "bulk up" or anything. :)

Just kidding.

As far as being a vitamin source...I definitely prefer real food, if it's available. I do lift weights, but my primary fitness activity is running and ultra distance running, so I admit that I do eat protein bars when I need the protein but can't carry around a real food choice.

Thanks for the comment.

Lacey and Tyler said...

Any good ideas on preparing protein for a work day? 8 hours at the office makes it difficult.
I've tried hard boiled eggs (just the whites)...
lots of protein shakes...
I've tried to prepare chicken ahead of time...
I've thought about bringing tuna...
I agree about the protein bars, they make me nervous, lol

Any additional suggestions are appreciated.

Lacey and Tyler said...

P.S. I'm one of those women trying to 'bulk up' lol, j/k, but I'm definitely don't get enough protein-right mow my goal is to build muscle, so amping up my calorie intake and protein is a priority.