Protein Power

By: Michelle Reich Email
By: Michelle Reich Email

Go on any healthy eating website or listen to anyone who works out religiously and you will find the same advice: eat protein. But with all the other low calorie foods, why is protein so important?

To begin with, lean proteins take longer amounts of time to move from the stomach to the intestines, making you feel fuller for longer. Since it stays in the stomach longer, it also takes more energy for your body to move it into the intestines, therefore, burning more calories. But be careful when choosing foods that are high in protein since some can contain large quantities of fat.

The leanest and most effective proteins are poultry and fish. Red meats also have a high protein content, but most also have large quantities of straight fat. Personally, I love red meat, so when I do eat it, I try to choose the leanest cuts. When eating ground beef, I find the packages with lower fat to meat ratios, and when eating steaks, I choose ones that are not marbled with fat. Vegetables are also extremely high in protein.

Fruits have protein in them as well, but also have sugars and other nutrients that your body needs. Fruits can give you needed protein, energy, nutrients, and also curb your sugar cravings in a healthy way. Eggs have a high protein content, but the yolk also has a high calorie content. If you eat just the egg white, you get almost a gram more of protein then eating just the yolk. You will also cut out around 60 calories that are contained in the yolk alone. Cheese also contains large quantities of protein, but it also contains fats, so be careful to consume small quantities of it.

Finally, whole grains have high levels of protein. One of my favorite snacks or breakfasts is a piece of whole grain toast with about a tablespoon on peanut butter (also high in protein) spread on it. It fills you up and if you use reduced fat peanut butter, it has a low calorie content.

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