If you've been reading the Holiday Tips series throughout the month, you'll notice here and there that I talk about eating a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats at meals. This is important all year long, and something that may go by the wayside when you're extra busy, like this time of year. Why is it important? Because a meal that contains foods that as a whole provide a balance of these macronutrients will help to keep your blood sugar from spiking and crashing. And, when your blood sugar crashes, that's when you're more likely to to make a poor choice. For today's tip, we'll talk a little more on protein.
What is protein? Proteins are basically the building blocks for all the cells in our body, and they are constantly being broken down. We need to eat foods that contain protein in order to replenish this protein.
How much should I have? The Daily Reference Intakes calculates protein needs for healthy adults based on the following calculation: 0.8 grams/kg body weight. This, of course, may change depending on any health conditions and pregnancy/lactation. For example, a 150 pound (68 kg) person would need about 55 grams protein daily. Here's a chart that details the protein amounts recommended from My Plate for various age groups. When I work with people individually, my protein recommendations vary depending on their health and wellness goals and other nutrition-related concerns.
What are food sources of protein? Protein is found in a variety of foods, but is in higher amounts in the following foods:
What counts as a serving? This chart details the ounce equivalents of various foods according to My Plate recommendations. Another way to measure servings, which is a little different from the My Plate recommendations is the Exchange List system.
What does this look like? This is a sample menu using Optimal Nutrition and Health recipes that would meet the protein recommendations for the individual in the above example. This menu contains about 1400 calories with 74 grams protein (20% of daily calories).
1 serving Pumpkin Pecan Baked Oatmeal
1 cup (8 oz.) 1% milk
1 serving Tuscan Vegetable and Bean Skillet
1 serving Carol's Banana Nut Bread
Written by Michelle Baglio of Optimal Nutrition and Health (Google+). The information contained in this post is provided for educational purposes only with the understanding that Optimal Nutrition and Health makes no warranties, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information. Readers are advised not to use information in this post or others found on this website for the treatment or prevention of disease, and it should not be used in place of medical treatment or advice. Please do not reprint this post for distribution without my permission. To feature on your website or social media, please link to this post as the original source.