Protein... It's a dietary superstar.
Updated: Dec 13, 2019
Protein, according to Stacy Sims, author of ROAR: How To Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Female Physiology got Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life, is a dietary superstar — as it's critical for performance and recovery.
Complete proteins include meat, fish, eggs, and most dairy products, as well as plant sources like nuts, whole grains, beans, and vegetables. Sims recommends about 30%-35% of your daily calorie intake should be allotted to protein. This percentage will vary for each individual, depending on how active or sedentary your lifestyle is.
Protein benefits: • Promotes weight loss and Increases opportunity for sustainable weight loss • Helps build and maintain lean muscle • Creates satiety • Increases nail and hair strength and growth
When I plan our weekly menu, I vary the proteins as different sources of protein offer a variety of essential vitamins and nutrients. Eating too much of the same foods over and over can lead to boredom and more importantly can lead to dietary deficiencies.
Vegan sources of protein:
*Below, the nutritional values are based on 100g or about 3.5 oz of the protein.
In terms of protein, chicken & turkey yield about 22-25 grams of protein, along with B vitamins and selenium. Chicken is versatile and can be grilled, baked, broiled, sautéed, and stir fried. When choosing chicken at the market, I usually buy the leanest chicken breasts I can find. Once in a while we will grill with chicken thighs, which aren't quite as lean breasts. White meat is leaner then dark meat, and no matter how tempting and yummy the skin is, I don't eat it very often. Here are a few of my most favorite chicken/turkey recipes. Click on the underlined title for recipe.
Chinese Five Spice Ground Spaghetti Squash Citrus Marinated Zucchini Noodles Turkey Zucchini Noodles Pad Thai with Chicken Chicken Turkey Bolognese
Lean beef delivers up to 27 grams of protein along with a healthy dose of iron, zinc, vitamins B12 and B6, magnesium, and more. Creatine, also found in beef, serves as an energy source for muscles. It also contains all of the essential amino acids and is referred to as a "complete" protein source. We use leaner cuts of beef for a variety of recipes:
Bulgogi Korean BBQ Skirt Steak Sizzle Grilled Garlic Lime Grilled Asian Garlic Carrots & Arugula Skirt Steak w/ Veggies Steak Skewers
Contains branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are key in supporting muscle recovery. One of the advantages of choosing pork is that it is lower in fat and offers about 22 grams of protein. We include pork just about every week, using a variety of recipes:
Kale Rice Bowl Balsamic Pork Honey Soy Grilled Sausage & Apple Stuffed Chops Pork Shops Acorn Squash
Is very low in fat and provides 24 grams of protein. Shrimp is rich in vitamins D and B12, niacin, and selenium. In addition, shrimp contains antioxidants such as astaxanthin, which reduces inflammation and oxidative damage. Here are a few of our favorite recipes:
Spicy Shrimp & Skinny Shrimp Scampi Glazed Honey Black Pepper Napa Cabbage w/ Zucchini Noodles Garlic Shrimp Shrimp
Is rich in vitamins B3, B6, and B12, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, all of which provide benefits for healthy hearts. In addition, cod is rich in selenium, magnesium, and potassium. Cod provides about 18 grams of protein, and is low in calories and fat.
I love salmon! It is rich in iron, zinc, niacin, and vitamins B6 & B12, in addition to many other nutrients like selenium and potassium, which are necessary for good health. Salmon is also high in omega-3 fatty acids. So many great recipes out there for salmon:
Lemon Kale Salad & Salmon with Sesame Asian Salmon Bowl Honey Soy Broiled Seared Salmon Bok Choy and Spinach w/ Lime Drizzle Salmon
In addition to what I've included here, don't forget to include nuts, whole grains, dairy, beans, and vegetables to make sure you're getting a well rounded variety of nutrients for a healthy body. Make sure to include the other 2 macronutrients, fat and carbohydrates along with protein.
You can find more recipes on the blog under the FOOD tab. I store all of my recipes on Plan to Eat and Pinterest.
Check out the new move of the week on the blog: Tri Dip on Step w/ Slam Ball Leg Press