Our partners at Be Fit Food have provided us with an insight into the effect protein has on the body, and have created a list of ten different protein-containing foods that should be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet:
The inclusion of protein containing foods in every meal and snack is essential for weight loss and fat loss. Protein containing foods help to increase satiety, leaving you feeling fuller for longer, preventing blood sugar spikes and dips. This will help to decrease mid-afternoon cravings for sugar and ultimately an overall decrease in fat. One thing to remember with protein is to not overdo it. Most people consume far more protein than is required, which cannot be utilized by the body, placing pressure on the kidneys to work to excrete it from the body. Try to keep to around 20g of protein every 3 hours as this is the amount that the body can effectively metabolise.
The following foods are all good protein sources to be included in meals and snacks:
- Lean meat, although energy dense is important in the diet for the provision of iron and zinc. Keep the portion to no more than 150g per serve.
- Chicken, similar to red meat, although usually leaner cuts.
- Eggs provide 6g of protein per egg and are great as a meal or hard boiled as a snack.
- Nuts and seeds, although these are energy dense, they have an excellent nutrition profile, including good fats and are convenient as a snack or in cereals and salads. Keep a snack serve to 20-30g.
- Cheese is an excellent source of calcium and a quick and easy snack. Keep the portion to 30-40g.
- Yoghurt, particularly a reduced sugar one, is handy for a filling snack or consumed with breakfast. Yoghurt contains probiotics, which help to restore the good bacteria in the gut.
- Milk, similar to cheese is a satisfying calcium source. Ensure that non-dairy milks are fortified with calcium and protein if being used as a milk replacement.
- Legumes are a good alternative to meat, while still packing a protein punch plus loads of dietary fibre for gut health but keep to ½ cup portions due to the carb load.
- Fish, especially oily fish, such as salmon, tuna and sardines contain essential fatty acids.
- Tofu is a vegetarian protein that can be used in many meals in place of meat and it is also low carb.
If your focus is to decrease body fat, protein is important, but remember to still include some carbohydrates, just in smaller portions, as they are essential for providing a variety of different types of fibre to promote a healthy micro-biome (good gut bugs). Good carbohydrate choices include whole-grains, fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes. As well as this, healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts and nut butters olive oil and oily fish, are also essential.
This article was originally published by Be Fit Food. It can be viewed using this link