Thursday, May 5, 2011

Adding more protein to your diet can be easy!


I wanted to add more protein to my diet, but I am not a big meat eater and I do not want to eat too much soy.  Are there other foods that are healthy protein sources?

Protein is an essential part of every diet.   The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily protein intake of 50 grams for adult females, and 63 grams for adult males.

Protein provides important building blocks for almost all components of the body including muscles, enzymes, tissues and the immune system.  They also can increase calorie burning, keep you full longer, provide essential nutrients, and help balance blood sugar when eaten in your meals.   

Often when we think of protein sources we first go to meats and dairy, but there are many foods that have high amounts of protein.  Alternative protein sources are nuts, seeds, lentils, beans, and vegetables.  Grains such as Quinoa or buckwheat are excellent rice alternatives that have a much higher protein profile.  I cup of cooked quinoa has 10.6 grams of protein while a cup of white rice has only 4.3 grams of protein.  

 Keeping a bag of nuts and seeds to snack on during the day is a great way to add some protein to your diet.  Go nuts, it is a healthy snack!

Below is a handy reference table of foods that are good sources of protein. 


Source
Amount
Protein Content (G)
Dairy
Cottage cheese
6 Tbs
14
Hard cheese
2 oz
14
Plain yogurt
1 cup
13
Skim milk
1 cup
7
Fish
Halibut, broiled
3 oz
21
Salmon, broiled
3 oz
21
Tuna, broiled
3 oz
21
Cod, broiled
3 oz
21
Crab, lobster, or shrimp
2.5 oz
14
Egg, not fried
1 medium
7
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds
1/2 cup
14
Sunflower seeds
1/2 cup
14
Peanut butter
1 Tbs
7
Brazil nuts
2 oz’s
8.11
Walnuts
2 oz’s
8.11
Sesame seeds; Tahini
2 oz’s
10.21
Peanut butter
2 Tblspns
8
Grains, Beans and Peas
Split pea soup
1 cup
10
Lima beans
1/2 cup
7
Soy beans
1/3 cup
7
Pinto beans
1/2 cup
7
Tofu
2 oz
6
Kidney beans, cooked
½ cup
7.6
Lentils cooked
½ cup
9
Garbanzo beans
½ cup
7.00
Quinoa, cooked
1 cup
10.6
Buckwheat, whole
½ cup
12
Brewer’s Yeast
2 Tblspns
6.2
Oatmeal, cooked
1 cup
6
Vegetables
Broccoli
1 cup
5
Spinach
1 cup
3
Green beans
1 cup
2
Potato, baked
1 medium
2
Sweet potato
1 medium
2
Carrots
1 cup
1
Squash, cooked
1 cup
3.7
Kale, cooked
1 cup
5
Fruit
Avocado
1 large
4
Dates
1 cup
4
Raisins
1 cup
4
Banana
1 medium
1

References:
1.      NCNM clinic patient handouts
3.      Marz, R. ND, MAcOM (2002). Medical Nutrition from Marz, 2nd Edition. Omni-press. Michigan.
4.      Class notes on Nutrition, presented by Dr. Gerber