Go Lean with Protein

Go Lean With Protein

            This post is my 6th in a series named “10 Simple Steps to Make Healthy Habits More Delicious”.  These posts are inspired by SCAN: The Sport, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition Group.

            Protein choices come in many forms.  They include meat, poultry, seafood, beans/ peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds.  Protein is an essential nutrient and helps in building and maintaining muscles as well as maintaining normal body functions.  The majority of meat we eat should be from “lean” sources.  What does it mean to be a lean protein?  A protein that is lean is low in calories and fat and is mostly only protein.  Below are some tips for choosing lean protein sources:

Start with a Lean Choice

  • For beef: Choose round steaks & roasts (eye of round, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, chuck shoulder, and arm roasts.
  • For pork: Choose pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, and ham.
  • For ground beef: choose extra lean ground beef.  Anything over 90% lean is a great choice. The closer to 100% lean the better.
  • For poultry: Choose skinless, boneless turkey & chicken.  If skin is included, remove the skin before preparation.
  • For luncheon meats: Choose less processed and low fat lunch meats such as turkey, ham, roast beef instead of high fat choices like bologna and salami.

Keep it Lean

  • Trim away all visible pieces of fat before preparation and drain fat from the pan during cooking.
  • Instead of frying in oil and fat, broil, grill, roast, poach, or boil your meats.
  • Limit the amount of fat you add while preparation & cooking.  Skip or limit the breading you put on meats.  Add seasonings on beans & peas instead of cooking them in fat or gravies and sauces.

Vary Your Choices

  • Varied protein sources give you variety to your meals & keeps them exciting.
  • Choose fish at least twice a week.  Opt for seafood high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, and herring.
  • Instead of meat all the time, switch it up with beans, peas, nuts, or soy products.

As Always, Trust Your Gut!

 

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Get Lean with Protein

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Protein is essential to your health.  Protein is used in your body to build & repair muscles.  Protein is also essential to create enzymes that carry out your bodies processes.  So, what kinds of foods provide you with protein?  and, how much is enough.

For the most part, animal products contain the most usable and largest amounts of p but in smaller amounts.  Soy, nuts, seeds, and grains contain small to moderate amounts of protein.

When choosing protein sources, make sure it is lean.  What does lean mean?  Lean means that a protein is low in fat.  Some animal foods can be high in fat & protein.  Examples of these include red meat, fried foods, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and luncheon meats, etc.  

Lean meats contain low amounts of fat,  Great lean sources of protein include chicken, fish, pork, and eggs.  When choosing beef, read the label and choose meats that are 97% lean.  This will ensure that the product is low in fat.  To avoid adding fat to a lean meat, I advise you to cook them without fat.  Great cooking techniques include grilling, baking, broiling, and boiling.

So, how much protein do you need? It depends.  The USDA recommends the average person to eat 56g of protein each day.  However, each person is different.  Everyone’s unique protein needs depends on their age, weight, sex, activity, and even muscle mass.  Basically, each person needs about .8-1.2 g of protein /kg of body weight.  The more active you are, the higher your protein needs are.  A serving 3 oz of meat contains 21g of protein on average.  Plan accordingly!