Although most people are aware of the benefits of eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, not everyone knows just how important protein is for your body. Protein is one of the four macronutrients that your body needs on a day-to-day basis (the other three are fats, carbs and water). Protein is essential for our bodies to work properly. The key to replacing meals with clean, green smoothies AND feeling good is to combine protein with healthy fats. This power combo will keep you feeling full and give you the energy you need to make it to your next snack or meal.
Because your body burns protein slower than carbs, protein is important to prevent blood pressure spikes that can not only make you feel weak and dizzy, but can also lead to serious health issues down the road.
Another great benefit of protein is that when your body has enough, it doesn’t have to resort to burning muscle for the energy it needs so your muscles stay strong and toned. That’s why drinking a protein-rich smoothie after a workout is an excellent way of replenishing your body!
Load up on the nonperishable pantry items like beans and brown rice, and restock them as needed. Meats can be bought fresh weekly, or you can buy in bulk and store them in the freeezer. Only fresh fruits and veggies call for a weekly trek to the store based on which recipes you decide to make. Meet your new 10 best friends:
STOCK UP ON THESE OTHER STAPLES......
On your Shelves
Maybe you are broccoli'd out or you're a vegetarian or you ran out of a recipe ingredient. Below are ways to make trades for your favorites with virtually equal calories and nutrients, so you can always keep your taste buds happy, meet your dietary needs and stay on track with your weight management goals.
3 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
= 3/4 cup egg whites
= 3/4 cup cooked or canned beans
= 1 whole egg plus 3 egg whites
= 1 large turkey or chicken sausage
= 3 oz. canned crab, salmon or tuna; fresh fish; ground beef; pork; steak; tofu
1-slice whole-grain bread
= 1/4 cup non-creamy (without tahini) hummus
= 1/2 cup whole-grain cereal
= 1/2 cup cooked beans, corn or peas
= 3/4 cup cooked whole grains such as barley, brown rice, bulgur, oatmeal or quinoa
= 1/2 large potato or 1/2 cup diced potatoes
= 1 whole-grain pita (4 inches)
= 1 whole-grain tortilla (8 inches)
= 1 whole-grain flatbread or waffle
1 tsp. olive oil
= 2 tsp trans-fat-free buttery spread; vegetable oil
1 tbsp seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower
1 tbsp chopped nuts such as almonds, peanuts or pecans
= 1 tbsp creamy (with tahini) hummus
= 1 1/2 tbsp flaxseed
= 2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
= 10 olives
Nut butter Swaps
1 tsp peanut butter
= 1 tsp almond butter; soy nut butter; sunflower butter
= 1 tsp tahini
1 medium orange
= 2 tbsp dried fruit
= 1/2 grapefruit
= 3/4 cup mango pieces
= 1 small banana
= 1 medium apple; pear
= 1 cup berries; cherries
= 1 cup melon pieces
= 2 apricots; kiwifruit
= 3 plums
= 24 grapes
1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked spinach
= 1/4 cup stewed tomatoes or tomato soup; 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
= 1/2 cup chopped nonstarchy vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, tomato or zucchini
= 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw leafy greens such as arugula, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, kale, lettuce or Swiss chard
1 cup skim milk
= 1 oz reduced-fat cheese or 80 calories of any full-fat cheese
= 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
= 1 cup calcium-fortified almond, soy or rice milk
= 1 part-skim string cheese
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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