My health coach wants me to eat 70 grams of protein a day. I’m not a big meat eater, so want some other high-protein option. I’m eating Kashi GoLean cereal, Greek yogurt, cheese sticks and soy nuts right now. What else can I add for additional protein?
That sounds like a good amount of protein for a woman. I generally tell women who want to lose weight, to strive for about 1 gram protein per pound of lean body mass but we also have a handy protein calculator in one post. So, if I weight 125 pounds but know that maybe 100 of those calories is lean tissue, I should have 100 grams protein per day.
You’ve got some great options with Kashi GoLean (with around 10 grams protein per serving) and Greek yogurt that has about 22-24 grams protein per cup. Some other great protein sources include eggs; poultry or seafood; milk or soymilk; edamame; nut butters; pistachios and other nuts; cottage cheese; and of course, there are many protein powder supplements that you can take by adding to foods that you normally eat or drink. Here, I have listed 20 of my favorite protein-packed snacks. Also, a key here is not to have too much protein at one time. The optimal amount is about 15-20 grams at one time. If you have way too much, you may just contribute to storing it as body fat.
Are low fat/part skim/fat free of dairy products like ricotta cheese, cream cheese, actually healthier than their full fat versions? I heard that sometimes the low fat/fat free are actually loaded up with other not-so-great things like sugar. I enjoy the flavor of both full fat and fat free but want to know which is healthiest?
It really depends upon the dairy product you’re about to purchase but in most cases, switching to a nonfat or lowfat version helps to cut out saturated fat and calories so it would be the recommended item to purchase. However, there are always some exceptions to the rule.
Some products that I always use nonfat versions of include: milk and yogurt. I use low-fat versions of most cheese (some European cheeses are not in low-fat) and for butter or cream cheese, I just use whipped versions which are naturally lower in calories and fat and don’t have anything added to them.
Nonfat (skim) or low-fat (1% milkfat) contain no additional additives, fillers or stabilizers. People used to believe that skim meant that the milk was actually “skimmed” of nutrients but that is not true: Skim milk and full fat milk contain the same amounts of vitamins and minerals but skim milk contains 90calories and 0 grams of saturated fat compared to 150 calories and 4.5 grams saturated fat in full fat milk.
Of course, when it comes to cooking, I’ll use full-fat versions of specific cheese because I feel like if it’s a great, healthy recipe, a little cheese, cream cheese or even butter won’t destroy anyone’s diet.
What is the healthiest sweetener to use for coffee or other uses? My one vice is coffee with half and half but it must be sweet. I quit using white table sugar. I tried Stevia but don’t like it. I heard agave was good for low glycemic index so began using it but then heard other reports countering the use of it. Now I am using raw sugar but still wonder what is best. … HELP!!
You’re not alone with the issue of sweeteners and added sugars since most Americans are getting more than 22 teaspoons of sugar and added sweeteners (adding up to more than 350 calories)—every day! And, with all the hype surrounding “natural” sweeteners, it’s hard to know what’s really good.
Your overall goal should be to cut back on the amount of sweeteners and added sugars in your diet. It’s not important to worry about the small amount of sugar added to a cup of coffee, unless you’re dumping more than 2 teaspoons of sugar (or the equivalent thereof) in your cup each day. The American Heart Association says that your goal is to keep total added sugars and sweeteners to no more than 25 grams or six teaspoons, which equals 100 calories.
I would suggest a more “natural” sweetener such as honey, agave, coconut sugar or raw sugar. This is because they will contain some natural antioxidants (see chart below) that may reduce the sweeteners’ impact on blood sugar levels and they provide about the same sweetness taste as sugar unlike Stevia or other sweeteners that are often several times sweeter than table sugar and make it hard for you to find other foods sweet after you get used to them. Some might have slightly improved glycemic index compared to table sugar (see chart below), but that’s not all that important. Bottom line: Don’t use too much of any sweetener and read food labels for sources of hidden sugars so that you keep your total daily sugar level to the 100-calorie limit.
For ways to cut back on added sugars, check these posts A Week to Lick Your Sugar Habit
Sugars and Their Antioxidant Capacity and GI Values
Coconut Palm Sugar, (Total AOX) NA, 35 (GI Value)
Date Sugar, 4.5 mm/100g 45
Blackstrap molasses 4.5 mm/100g, 45
Dark molasses 4.5 mm/100 g, 45
Barley malt syrup 2.0 mm/100 g, NA
Brown rice syrup .7 mm/100g 25
Dark brown sugar .7 mm/100g
Maple syrup .41 mm/100g 60
Light brown sugar .34 mm/100g, NA
Raw cane sugar .16 mm/100g, 65
Honey .14 mm/100g, 75
Turbinado sugar .09 mm/100g, 65
Agave Nectar .03 mm/100g, 15-30
Corn syrup .006 mm/100g, 75
Granulated white sugar .003 mm/100g, 80
I have children and am wondering if you’ve seen the Yonanas thing (a machine that makes a soft-serve like ice cream from frozen bananas) and what are your thoughts on it as being a ‘healthier way’ to have ‘ice cream’?
I was sent a Yonanas machine and since I don’t have kids, I had my fitness trainer try it out with his kids and they actually love it. If you haven’t seen this machine, you basically take frozen fruit and it churns it into a mock ice cream. You can also add nuts or flavoring to sweeten it up more, if needed.
We’ll get in touch with the company and see if they’d want to do a giveaway with AFH fans who’d love to try a healthier frozen treat
What’s your take on green smoothies? I’m vegan and like have a fruit/veg/fat smoothie every day combined with superfood and protein powder usually post workout as a way to get my daily servings of fruit, vegs and protein.
However, I recently read an article that was opposed to smoothies saying they were too high in calories and that smoothies “deprived” our bodies from normally functioning through chewing and digesting which also burned calories. I want to know what you’re take is on smoothies/juice and which one you think is better.
For people who need to lose weight, I don’t recommend liquid calories like smoothies because the act of chewing whole food (as opposed to fluids) has been proven to provide more satiety compared to calories from any liquid sources. I am unaware of any scientific research that shows that smoothies or juice would “deprive” the body of normal functioning, so I’m not buying into that argument.
The smoothies that we see that are loaded with sugars and calories (sometimes up to 1,000 calories) are those ginormous options that you can purchase at Jamba Juice and other outlets, that are full of fruit juices, fruit and other ingredients like frozen yogurt. If you’re using veggies, fruit and 100% juices, yours are probably more calorie controlled. As long as weight loss is not a concern for you, I feel that a smoothie a day made from wholesome natural ingredients is a good addition to your diet.
Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD
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