By Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine
Do you eat enough protein? Maybe not. SELF reports in the March 2012 issue that recent research from the University of Sydney revealed people who upped their protein intake from 10 percent of their daily diet to 15 percent ate 12 percent fewer calories. Extra protein satisfied eaters more, so they snacked less.
I have also seen this to be true working with my clients. When a client complains of being hungry all the time, even shortly after meals and snacks, one of the first things I do is look at their protein intake. Many times they are not eating enough protein to keep them full. I tell them that protein is like the period at the end of a sentence. It ensures that your hunger will be quelled. So I encourage them to have at least one good source of protein at every meal and snack.
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For most women, this means aiming to eat 70g of protein per day, having at least 20g at each meal and 10g for a snack. But numbers can get confusing. Here are some simple changes that you can make to increase your protein intake and decrease your hunger and empty-calorie intake.
- For breakfast, if you usually have oatmeal or cereal with berries and coffee (6g protein for the meal), try stirring in a tablespoon of peanut butter to your oatmeal and adding a cup of skim milk to drink along with your coffee (19g protein for the meal).
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- For lunch, if you normally have a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with mayo and veggies and fruit on the side (14g protein for the meal), switch from mayo to mustard and add a slice of reduced-fat cheese (21g protein for the meal).
- Instead of just snacking on an apple (0.5g protein) or whole grain crackers (3g protein) for a snack, try adding 1oz. of almonds (6g protein) or a container of nonfat Greek yogurt (14g protein) for a more filling protein and carbohydrate combination.
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- Soup and salad makes a nice easier dinner, but even if that soup is chicken noodle, you may not be getting enough protein (7g for the meal). To pump your protein, top your salad with some chicken (27g protein per three-ounce breast) or salmon (18g protein per three ounces), or for a vegetarian option, switch to black bean soup (10g protein per serving).
So keep an eye on your protein intake. It may be the key to staying lean!