*Quick disclaimer: These tips are solely tips, and while they may have worked for me, they may not work for everyone. Always make sure that you see a doctor during your weight loss plan, to make sure that you are doing what is right for your body.
So with that, here's Part 1!
Consumption of protein goes beyond physical appearance and muscular strength, whether you are aiming to loose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight. Protein is an important component for all body types; it contains 22 amino acids, which are well known as the building blocks of life. Without protein, our bodies would not be able to get essential oxygen or grow and repair muscles and organs. It is an essential nutrient that we need in large quantities. It is recommended that your protein intake be anywhere from 10-30 percent of your total daily calorie consumption.
In weight loss, protein has been proven to help control hunger. That is why there are so many "high protein" diets. Protein sends a signal to your brain that will diminish your hunger pains. It also helps accelerate your metabolism to help conserve your muscle mass. For diabetics, adequate protein intake helps slow down the sudden "ups and down" of blood sugar levels.
Of course, when you talk about food, there are foods that are high in protein, but there are also foods that are high in protein but may also be high in other areas that you don't want them to be such as saturated fats. Here is a small list of protein rich foods that have been recommended by doctors for years (includes how many and how much protein):
- egg whites- 7 whites= 25 grams
- cottage cheese (fat free)-1 cup= 28 grams
- fat free yogurt (sugar free)- 6oz= 5 grams
- fat free milk- 1 cup= 10 grams
- chicken breast- 3oz. cooked= 25 grams
- turkey breast- 3oz. cooked= 25 grams
- shrimp, lobster, or crab- 4oz cooked= 22-24 grams
- tuna- 4oz packed in water=27 grams
- beans (black, pintos, etc.)- 1/2 cup cooked= 7 grams
- lentils- 1/2 cup cooked= 9 grams
- tofu-1/4 piece= 7 grams
- soy bacon- 4 slices= 21 grams
- whole wheat bread- 1 slice= 3-5 grams
Again, no matter what your goal is, it is essential to consume a good amount of protein per day. You will need to intake no less than 10% of your total caloric intake as protien. As I mentioned before, it is recommended that you consume 10-30% of your total caloric intake per day. Here's an example of one plan I followed for a week:
Total Calories per day=1500
Breakfast= 1 unit of protein and one fruit. I ate 7 egg whites and 1/2 of a grapefruit.
Morning snack= 1 protien snack. I had 1/2 cup of roasted soy nuts.
Lunch= 1 unit of protein+ 2 veggies+ salad+ 1 grain + 1 fruit. I ate one 6oz chicken breast with 2 cups corn, 1/2 cup whole grain rice, 1 large orange, and 4 cups mixed greens with light italian dressing.
Afternoon snack= 1 protien snack and one fruit. Again, I had 1/2 cup of roasted soy nuts, but I also had one medium sized apple (I'm partial to Gala's and Fuji's!!)
Dinner=- 2 units of protien + 2 veggies+ salad+ 1 grain + 1 fruit. I enjoyed an 8oz fillet of sole with a light teriyaki sauce, 1 cup of steamed spinach and one cup of steamed carrots, 1/2 cup of whole grain rice, 1 cup of sliced cantelope, and 2 cups of mixed greens with a light balsamic vinagrette.
I followed this 1500 calorie plan, which also focuses on protien, for one week, and I actually lost 5 lbs. I didn't feel as hungry as I normal do, which is one thing that eating protein is supposed to help do. But because I did that in the beginning of my weight loss trek, I didn't last too long. I actually needed to intake more calories because I was also going to the gym daily. Your intake will vary depending on your lifestyle. But remember, make sure you doctor knows.