I’ve reached that magic age where a woman starts gaining a little bit of weight no matter what she does! Even though I’ve been preparing for this day by staying within the lower weight range for my age and height, I still don’t like gaining a little weight! I don’t think any of us do. The other thing is, I’m hungry all the time! I can’t just give in and eat whatever I want. So, on my latest doctor’s visit, he suggested I start eating more protein.
While reading my Weight Watchers magazine (November/December 2017), that I got for free by the way from freebizmag.com, I read an article that I really liked about protein. It was written by Toni Gerber Hope. By the way, I’m not a member of Weight Watchers. I just figured I could get some good healthy living tips from the magazine.
What Are the Benefits of Protein?
Protein functions as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It’s also important to help you have a healthy heart.
Protein can help you maintain your weight, and can even help you lose weight. This is the main reason the doctor suggested I get more of it. It does this by helping you feel fuller quicker, and for a longer amount of time. “You may even consume less at your next meal,” says Maria Kinirons, RDN, director of science and nutrition for Weight Watchers International. The reason for this is that protein doesn’t break down as easily as carbs or fats. This means it burns more calories too!
Studies have been done on people who follow higher-protein diets. They’ve ended up losing more weight and body fat than people on other diet plans! “There’s evidence – at least in the lab – that if our bodies don’t get enough protein, we may overeat as a way to compensate for its lack,” says Christopher Morrison, PhD. He’s a professor of neurosignaling at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Also, people that continue to follow the high-protein diet, even after reaching their goal weight, are able to maintain their weight! They do better at that than people following other plans.Do you want to know how to maintain your weight or even lose some weight? Protein can help you feel fuller quicker and for a longer amount of time. Discover how to make it part of your everyday diet.Click To Tweet
How Much Protein Should You Get Every Day?
In the Weight Watchers Magazine article, they get their information from the Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes. They say, “the acceptable range for protein is 30-35 percent of daily calories. People trying to lose weight should aim for the middle of that range, Kinirons suggests-or about 20-25 percent of their calories. That would equal about 60-75 grams of protein on a 1,200-calorie diet.”
Unfortunately, most of us are only getting about half the amount that we need. That’s another reason why my doctor suggested I get more of it, and he suggested that for my daughter too. Protein is important no matter how old you are!
The article suggests looking at choosemyplate.gov for more information about protein foods. I found a really cool thing while looking there! It has a My Plate Checklist Calculator where you can put in your age, gender, weight, height, physical activity, and a few other things, and it will calculate a food plan for you! It told me I need 2200 calories to maintain my current weight. When I clicked on that, it told me how much I need from each food group, and suggestions of what to eat. It even has a worksheet where you can keep track of what you eat and your exercise for the day! What an awesome free resource!
Here’s what that website says about the amounts of protein in some foods:
“In general, 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce-equivalent from the Protein Foods Group.” You can see more of this table if you click here
Where Can You Find the Protein You Need?
Protein can be found in meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, nuts, and seeds. Make sure when you’re trying to get your needed amount every day, you get it from a variety of sources. Don’t just eat one kind of protein all day!
Here’s the selection tips from the Choosemyplate.gov website:
- Choose lean or low-fat meat and poultry. If higher fat choices are made, such as regular ground beef (75-80% lean) or chicken with skin, the fat counts against your limit for calories from saturated fats.
- If solid fat is added in cooking, such as frying chicken in shortening or frying eggs in butter or stick margarine, this also counts against your limit for calories from saturated fats.
- Select some seafood that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, sardines, anchovies, herring, Pacific oysters, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel.
- Processed meats such as ham, sausage, frankfurters, and luncheon or deli meats have added sodium. Check the Nutrition Facts label to help limit sodium intake. Fresh chicken, turkey, and pork that have been enhanced with a salt-containing solution also have added sodium. Check the product label for statements such as “self-basting” or “contains up to __% of __”, which mean that a sodium-containing solution has been added to the product.
- Choose unsalted nuts and seeds to keep sodium intake low.
That website also has a tips page that gives you suggestions on how to vary the protein you get throughout the day/week. Some suggestions are eating seafood a couple of times a week, eat lean meat and poultry, like 93% lean ground beef. Also eating eggs is another good choice. It’s also a good idea to eat plant protein foods like beans and and peas, soy products, or nuts and seeds.
I also have some more tips in the “Related Posts” section near the end of this post.
It’s also good to make sure you get some protein at every meal. That will help keep your meal portions from being too big.
You can get protein from whey powder, protein bars and drinks, but those shouldn’t be the only way you get it. I eat a protein bar and have a protein drink once a week, but those aren’t my main sources of protein. Your main sources should always be real food because otherwise you might be missing out on other important nutrients, like iron.
Some Examples of Where I Get My Protein
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In the morning, I eat homemade muffins, pancakes, waffles, or cereal. The homemade goods have some protein in them because of the grains they’re made with and also because of the egg whites in them. The Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal that I eat actually has 19% of my daily protein, so that’s pretty good. My sons like to eat oatmeal with their breakfast, and that’s another good source.
At lunch, I get my protein from the whole wheat bread and low fat, low sodium lunchmeat in my sandwich. Sometimes we’ll have egg salad or chicken salad too. Even my Sun Chips have 3 grams of protein in them! I also eat light yogurt, which has 10% of the daily value I need.
My afternoon snacks are a variety of foods. The potstickers and spring rolls have the highest amount of protein in them; up to 9 grams.
Dinner always consists of some kind of lean meat, brown rice or whole wheat pasta, and some kind of vegetables. Most of that has a really good amount of protein in it.
A couple of times throughout the day, when I’m feeling a little hungry, I’ll have a handful of smoked almonds. They have 6 grams of protein.
So, once you know why you need protein and where to get it from, it’s pretty easy to find ways to fit it in your meals throughout the day.
Here are some other foods that might help you get that needed protein:
If you have questions about protein or want more suggestions about where to get it, let me know in the comments. If I don’t know the answer, I will research it for you.
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