Go lean with the protein

Meat, fish and beans are part of a healthy dietProtein fuels your body and is an excellent source of B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Portion control and lean choices are the key.

Each week this month we have focused on a MyPyramid food group โ€” grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk, plus meat and beans. These guidelines, published by the USDA, are a good platform for healthy eating. And by tackling each group individually, you may find it easier to work them into your daily menus. Onto this week’s focus:

PROTEIN

THE BASICS:

This group contains meat, poultry, fish, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and some seeds. Choose lean or lowโ€“fact meats and poultry. Add a variety and be sure to include fish, nuts, and seeds that contain healthy oils.

RECOMMENDED SERVINGS:

5 oz .for women, 6 oz. for men.

THE RESEARCH:

Protein is a building block for bones, muscles, skin, bones, as well as enzymes, hormones and vitamins. Some proteins are high in saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol and lead to heart disease. Protein rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart disease.

PROTEIN QUICK TIPS:

Portion control is very important when eating protein. Here’s a quick guide:

  • 1 oz. meat is about the size of a matchbox
  • 3 oz. of meat is about size of a deck of cards
  • 8 oz. of meat is about the size of a thin paperback book
  • 3 oz. of fish is about the size of a checkbook

How to keep it lean:

  • Look the round or loin cuts of meat
  • Choose ground beef that is at least 90% lean
  • Choose skinless chicken, or take off skin before cooking
  • Trim away visible fat before cooking
  • Broil, grill, roast, poach, or boil instead of frying
  • Drain off any fat during cooking
  • Prepare dry beans without added fats
  • Skip or limit breading on meat, poultry, or fish

ADDING PROTEIN TO YOUR MENU:

Be sure to vary your protein choices and include foods rich in omegaโ€“3 fatty acids. Some suggestions:

  • Salmon steak or filet
  • Grilled or baked trout
  • Chili with kidney or pinto beans
  • Stir-fried tofu
  • Split pea, lentil, minestrone, or white bean soups
  • Black bean enchiladas
  • Garbanzo or kidney beans on a chef salad
  • Beans and rice
  • Rice and beans
  • Veggie burgers
  • Hummus (chickpeas) spread on pita bread
  • Add slivered almonds to steamed vegetables
  • Add toasted peanuts or cashews to a vegetable stir fry instead of meat
  • Add walnuts or pecans to a green salad instead of cheese or meat

DiscussionOne Comment

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