Protein & Holidays: What’s the connection?

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Did you know the average person gains between 8 and 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years?!  Don’t become a statistic – start now and work off those holiday pounds before they accumulate.

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A balanced diet is one that gives your body the nutrition it needs to function properly. In order to get truly balanced nutrition, you should obtain the majority of your daily calories from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Protein contains amino acids, which make up the chemicals your brain needs to regulate your thoughts and feelings. It also helps control your blood sugar levels.   Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

So how much protein do you need?  According to WebMD:

Adults in the U.S. are encouraged to get 10% to 35% of their day’s calories from protein foods. That’s about 46 grams of protein for women, and 56 grams of protein for men.

It’s not hard to get this amount if you eat two to three servings of protein-rich foods a day, according to the CDC.

  • A small 3-ounce piece of meat has about 21 grams of protein. A typical 8-ounce piece of meat could have over 50 grams of protein.

  • One 8-ounce container of yogurt has about 11 grams of protein.

  • One cup of milk has 8 grams of protein.

  • One cup of dry beans has about 16 grams of protein.

 

Protein is in: lean meat, fish, eggs, cheese, legumes (peas, beans and lentils), soy products, nuts and seeds.

If you eat meat, choose the best quality meat you can afford. Free range meat is much better for you than meat from factory-farmed animals because it has more nutrients and less fat.

Whatever your diet, why not do some research into other foods that contain protein, and find something new to try? Variety usually leads to balance and a balanced diet is what keeps you healthy and happy.

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