Sunday, July 26, 2015

Protein



Protein: such an amazing thing!  It takes longer to digest, so you are satisfied for a longer period of time and helps to stave off cravings.  Furthermore, protein is essential for muscle repair and growth.

In my last post, Wonder Woman, I gave a basic explanation of macros (macro-nutrients).  Getting enough protein has proven to be the biggest challenge on my nutritional plan.  As promised, here are my tricks for getting in protein.  Every meal or snack must have a minimum of 15 grams of protein (unless I grab a handful of almonds).  To start, if you don’t have a scale, get one.  I measure everything.

These are my "go to" sources of protein:
Whey Protein Powder
Serving Size = 1 scoop
Calories = 110
Fat = 1 g 
Carbohydrates = 2 g
Fiber = 0 g
Protein = 24 g                                   

I have a protein shake every day for breakfast (sometimes for lunch).  But sometimes I just mix it with water and drink it down (when I need that extra push).  It's not the tastiest way to consume it, but it works.


Peanut Butter
*Serving Size = 2 tbsp 
Calories = 190
Fat = 16 g
Carbohydrates = 6 g
Fiber = 2 g
Protein = 7 g                         

All in all, Peanut Butter is calorie dense, but it fills you up and leaves you feeling more satisfied.  It helps me deal with cravings like NOTHING else.  Don’t bother with low-fat peanut butter, it’s a waste of money.  *I put 1 tbsp. in my protein shake every day for breakfast.

Cottage Cheese
Low Fat vs “Regular” with Chives (my favorite)
Serving Size = ½ cup  (one cup is what I typically have, which doubles the protein!)
Calories = 90 vs 120
Fat = 1 g vs 4.5 g
Carbohydrates = 5 g
Fiber = 0 g
Protein = 14 g

I prefer the 4% milkfat cottage cheese over the low fat.  I refuse to eat the fat-free.  To me, it has to taste good or I won't eat it, so why bother.

Greek Yogurt with Granola (see below)
My FAVORITE is Dannon’s OIKOS Triple Zero.
Serving Size = 1 container
Calories = 120
Fat = 0 g
Carbohydrates = 16 g
Fiber = 6 g
Protein = 15 g

Bear Naked Granola PLUS protein
Serving Size = ¼ cupCalories = 130*
Fat = 5 g
Carbohydrates = 13 g*
Fiber = 3 g
Protein = 10 g
*NOTE the calories and carbs in this!!!  Other protein enriched granolas have over 200 calories per serving.  Not worth it.

Almonds
Serving Size = 1 oz
Calories = 170 
Fat = 15 g 
Carbohydrates = 5 g 
Fiber = 3 g 
Protein = 8 g

Almonds are truly satisfying.  Study after study indicates that almonds are a healthy source of fat.  Limit your intake to the serving size.



Protein Bars

Pure Protein Bars  (Chocolate Deluxe) vs Quest Double Chunk Protein Bar
Serving Size = 1 bar
Calories = 180
Fat = 4.5 g vs 8 g                     
Carbohydrates = 17 g vs 23 g
Fiber = 2 g vs 13 g    
Protein = 21 g vs 20 g                                   

So, at first look, the Pure Protein Bar looks better nutritionally.  HOWEVER, the higher fiber count in Quest bars makes the net carb count much lower, all in all, much better for you.  The trouble is cost.  The Pure Protein Bars range in price from about $0.75 (on sale) to $1 +/- each.  I keep these in the house at all times.  My family eats them between meals.  Quest Bars run a little more than $2 per bar.  I JUST bought a box for myself and keep them hidden away.  I treat myself to ONE per week.  They are a little chewier than the Pure Protein bars.

Poultry, meat and fish

Always opt for lean cuts of meat.  Try to limit your red meats to one serving per week.  While red meat is an excellent source of iron, it is somewhat high in saturated fat. 

Chicken Breasts
You really cannot get enough boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Buy them in bulk, cook them up and store them for a couple days.  You can even freeze them once you cook them, pull them out as you need them and they are all ready once they defrost.

One ounce of chicken has only 30 calories, 6.5 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat.  So, I typically eat 5 – 6 oz. of chicken at a time. 

BUT … You do not have to eat only chicken!  Add variety!

Salmon
Salmon is rich in Omega-3’s, which have amazing health benefits
4 oz. of salmon has about 200 calories, 12 g fat, and 22.5 g protein
(I typically eat 6 oz. because I need the protein!!)
To cook it, I drizzle a little bit of coconut oil over the top and add some spices.

Ground Turkey
I often substitute ground turkey in recipes that call for ground beef.
Taco Salad, Turkey Meatballs (with no breadcrumbs), and Meat Sauce (with spaghetti squash)
4 oz. of ground turkey has 170 calories, 9 g fat, and 20 g protein

In comparison…4 oz. of ground beef (75%) has 328 calories, 28 g fat, and 16 g protein.

Don’t be afraid to eat eggs or lean cuts of pork and beef (steak).  You want to learn how to eat for your life, not to eat soooo much chicken, tuna and protein powder that you get bored and can’t follow this way of eating.  

Protein enriched foods

I don’t eat much of these, but when I buy bread or cereal, I always look at the protein count.  When you purchase these kinds of foods, look carefully at the total calories before purchasing.

Arnold’s Whole Grain, Double Protein bread
100 calories and 7 g protein per slice

Kashi Go Lean Crisp Cinnamon Crumble cereal
180 calories and 11 g protein per serving

Kashi 7 grain waffles, with two eggs
150 calories and 4 g protein (for the waffle), plus 140 calories and 10 g protein (for two eggs)

So, let me ask you this:
What protein sources am I missing?  
Do you have an amazing recipe that is high in protein you wish to share?  
Leave a message here and I will check it out.

Follow me on Instagram @tracoleman99.

I will be on hiatus until at least Friday.  My son's best friend is getting married at MY house on Thursday, so I will be super busy getting ready for the rest of the week.