Friday, February 6, 2009

Lean Protein

I used to have very haphazard eating habits. Rarely ate breakfast, went until lunch sustained by a little coffee with my cream and sugar, ate lunch on the run, snacked to ward off the late afternoon crash, then was starving by dinner and ate a big meal for the day. I rarely thought about protein and daydreamed of starchy carbs. Looking back I'm not sure how I even functioned that way, but it's pretty obvious how I wrecked my body composition.

Cleaning the junk out of my diet and bringing order to the chaos helped push me in the right direction, but it wasn't until I realized how critical balanced nutrition is to the bigger picture (or maybe smaller, more muscular picture) that I really got serious about the protein in my diet. Now I actually wake up hungry, never skip breakfast and can feel a big difference in my hunger and energy levels if I don't keep the protein up. For instance, I'm attending a conference this week and all they had for breakfast this morning was muffins or bagels with butter/jelly and fruit. Not a real gram of protein in sight. Ugh.

Here are some of my favorite sources of lean protein:

  • grilled, baked or boiled chicken breast (skinless)
  • egg whites
  • 99% fat free ground turkey (burger without the bun)
  • 97% fat free turkey cutlets
  • extra lean turkey bacon (Jennie-O)
  • tilapia (cooked in a pan with olive oil)
  • albacore tuna
  • salmon (packaged like tuna or grilled)
  • 95% lean ground beef
  • bison (ground or steaks)
  • shrimp (hot with a little parmesan cheese)

My other favorite protein sources are:

  • Fage Zero fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1% cottage cheese
  • non-fat milk
  • black beans
  • chocolate whey
  • edamame
  • quinoa
  • nuts (almonds and walnuts)
  • peanut butter

EDIT: string cheese! How could I forget that? Thanks Fred!

I will use protein bars in a crunch (such as this morning) and on the run. Now if I could just wean myself to fresh ground peanut butter instead of the stuff off the shelf I've eaten since I was a kid!

Related Post(s):

Focus on Nutrition


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, Kelly. Great list of protein sources...

One I'd add is 'string cheese':low in fat, fair amount of protein and fills you up. (I keep some in the refrigerator at work for mid-morning snacks.)

Love your blog! There's always something useful when I check it out!



Kelley Moore said...

Fred, you are so right and I can't believe I left string cheese out. Have some in the fridge right now. I love all kinds of cheese and that was one thing that was hard for me to cut back on - string cheese saved the day. Thanks for your kind comments about the blog! k