Filling Foods that Won’t Pack on Pounds

Many experts now recommend getting 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal. This is especially important at breakfast, a meal that’s often heavier in carbs and lighter on protein. Most of us tend to stockpile protein in the evening, while averaging only about 13 grams of protein at breakfast. Many of us are getting enough total protein in our diets, but since our bodies can only use so much protein at a time, making the effort to spread your daily protein intake throughout the day can optimize how your body uses it.

Studies suggest that protein may have a meal-specific threshold of about 25 to 30 grams that you need to reach before it can really do its job.

Check out the ideas below for ways to incorporate quality protein through out your day.

Breakfast food ideas:

  • Eggs (70cals)/egg whites/egg substitutes approx. 40-60 calories

I like to fix 2-3 of these in a bowl in microwave and then put on the Skinny sandwich bread (100 calories), add in some veggies and cheese

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Canadian bacon/turkey bacon/turkey sausage (good sources of protein)
  • Greek yogurt (add walnuts or almonds for extra protein)

I like to make my own “protein shakes”: ¼ cup mixed frozen berries, or 1/2 banana, 2 tbl of peanut butter or protein powder, and milk.

Mid-morning or Mid-afternoon Meals:

  • Cottage cheese with ½ cup fruit
  • String cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lunch meat (lean turkey or ham; several slices) rolled around a mozzarella cheese stick
  • Protein bar or shake
  • ½ cup Fruit and a handful of nuts
  • Veggies w/hummus
  • Celery w/peanut butter
  • Fat free/reduced fat popcorn (look at different brands—you can find some that will allow you to eat up to 5-6 cups of popped corn for 100-140 calories—sprinkle parmesan cheese on top for some protein)

Lunch/Dinner:

  • Mixed greens w/ grilled chicken or fish
  • Lunch meat w/no bread or sandwich skinny bread, pickle
  • Stir fry—chicken and veggies w/whole grain rice
  • Tuna salad w/egg, mayo in lettuce wrap
  • Chicken salad w/ mayo, celery, grapes, walnuts in low carb tortilla
  • Left overs
  • Lean cuts of red meat, asparagus, roasted red potatoes
  • Grilled pork (however you like it prepared), 1/2 sweet potato w/ cinnamon, green beans
  • Whole grain pasta, lean beef and spaghetti sauce, salad

Try to get at least 4-6 servings of a protein each day. Proteins stay with you for a longer period of time, make you feel full longer, decrease the want/need/craving for carbohydrates and sweets; AND you burn more calories breaking down proteins than you do carbohydrates or fats!!!

List of Proteins & Amounts

BEEF:

  • Hamburger patty, 4 oz.—28 grams protein
  • Steak, 6 oz.—42 grams protein
  • Most cuts of beef—7 grams of protein per ounce

CHICKEN:

  • Chicken breast, 3.5 oz.—30 grams protein
  • Chicken thigh—10 grams protein (for average size)
  • Drumstick—11 grams protein
  • Wing—6 grams protein
  • Chicken meat, cooked, 4 oz.—35 grams protein

FISH:

  • Most fish fillets or steaks are about 22 grams protein for 3.5 oz. of cooked fish, or 6 grams per ounce
  • Tuna, 6 oz. can—40 grams protein

PORK:

  • Pork chop, average—22 grams protein
  • Pork loin or tenderloin, 4 oz.—29 grams protein
  • Ham, 3 oz. serving—19 grams protein
  • Ground pork, 1 oz. raw—5 grams protein; 3 oz. cooked—22 grams protein
  • Bacon, 1 slice—3 grams protein
  • Canadian-style bacon (back bacon), slice—5-6 grams protein

EGGS & DAIRY:

  • Egg, large—6 grams protein
  • Milk, 1 cup—8 grams protein
  • Cottage cheese, ½ cup—15 grams protein
  • Yogurt, 1 cup—usually 8-12 grams protein (check label)
  • Soft cheeses (Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert)—6 grams per ounce
  • Hard cheeses (Parmesan)—10 grams per ounce

BEANS (including soy):

  • Tofu, ½ cup—20 grams protein
  • Tofu, 1 oz.—23 grams protein
  • Soy milk, 1 cup—6-10 grams protein
  • Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc.) about 7-10 grams protein per ½ cup cooked beans
  • Soy beans, ½ cup—14 grams protein
  • Split peas, ½ cup cooked—8 grams protein

NUTS & SEEDS:

  • Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons—8 grams protein (but a lot of calories and fat—recommend using 2 tsp instead)
  • Almonds, ¼ cup—8 grams protein
  • Peanuts, ¼ cup—9 grams protein
  • Cashews, ¼ cup—5 grams protein
  • Pecans, ¼ cup—5 grams protein
  • Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup—6 grams protein
  • Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup—8 grams protein
  • Flax seeds, ¼ cup—8 grams protein