As I mentioned in previous blogs the food label can be very confusing. I believe that the amount of protein should be listed first on the Nutrition Facts. Unbelievably, it is listed last. As you notice it is always referred to in grams. In this country we do not use the metric system and we understand ounces and pounds when talking about protein especially in meats. So why is it in grams I will never know. We must know the equivalent that 1 ounce of protein equals 7 grams.
I recommend a minimum level of 60 grams daily for women and 75 grams daily for men. If you do the math this is about 8 ounces for women and about 10 ounces for men. This amount will prevent muscle loss and promote feeling of fullness among people trying to keep their weight down. When I work with my clients typically I will set up a menu for them that will include more protein than the minimum. I will base it on the clients activity level as well as height and weight. For those of you that are very active and work out often I would recommend up to 15 ounces per day.
So often I read people’s food diaries and I see very little protein during the day. I see the large piece of meat at night for the too large traditional dinner. If you observe cultures outside of our country often they eat lunch like a dinner meal. Their entrée is laden with protein, veggies and starch. In this country we have it upside down. The only reason that we eat our way is because of the typical work schedule of 9-6PM.
I strive to counsel my client to make every effort they can to consume most of their protein during the day. When they eat most of their protein requirement during the day and leave a couple ounces for dinner they tell me how much more energy they have to get thru the day. I do hear from clients that they do not like to eat too much at lunch because they get too full and feel like they want to fall asleep. I say to them eat half of your lunch at lunchtime and save the other half for the mid-afternoon. This way they will end up not being ravenous for dinner. Maybe they can then come home and take a walk because their energy level is high.
Let’s now look at some examples of great high protein lunches that I promise will not make you feel lethargic. I am getting a lot of great feedback from clients that they love to have for lunch a turkey or hamburger, boca burgers,veggie burgers or even the ever so popular Kirkland Wild Alaskan Salmon burger from of course Costco. They are enjoying them on the Orowheat 100% Sandwich thins(only 100 calories for top and bottom) or the Orowheat 100% Whole Wheat Bun (180 calories) or even a 100% whole wheat English muffin. They are having these burgers with pickles, cherry tomatoes, jicama or even a salad.
Another favorite is taking a baked potato and topping it with a 99% fat free turkey or beef chili with a sprinkle of cheese and onions.
There are always the leftovers like chicken with brown rice and broccoli.How about going Chinese and ordering snow white chicken with string beans or shrimp with snow peas or even broccoli beef. My clients that go Japanese always end up eating rolls that are just plain too much rice and very little veggies. Now if we order sashimi and seaweed salad or sunomono (cucumber salad in a rice vinegar dressing) then we are talking about great protein.
Again, I believe having a high protein lunch with veggies and a serving of starch is theway to a work efficient day. I also suggest you have a protein snack in the mid-afternoon which can be the rest of lunch or an ounce of nuts with a fruit, a cup of cottage cheese with fruit or salsa, beef or turkey jerky, oatmeal or a hearty Progresso bean soup.
I know if you take the time to plan your day so that you are enjoying your protein foods during the day you will be shocked how much more energy you have. Please feel free to call me to set up an individualized plan for you.