“If you’re going to eat only one thing for the rest of your life, make it bacon.” -George W. Bush.
I don’t necessarily support George W Bush’s advice, but it makes me smile.
You’re probably aware that protein is essential to a healthy diet, but do you know why?
Protein is essential for:
- Muscle mass and strength
- Bone health
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Satiety (feeling full)
- Maintaining higher energy levels
- Reducing the risk of chronic disease
- Fighting infection
- Helping with normal blood clotting
If you have children or adolescents in your life, they need protein too! This is especially true during growth spurts.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein increases as you age.
It’s no secret that you need more protein as you age. In a 2019 study in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, researchers examined the diets of 11,680 men and women age 51 and older and discovered that approximately 46 percent didn’t meet current daily protein recommendations.
It is best to ask your medical professional exactly how much protein you need in your diet, but generally speaking, 15 to 25 percent of your daily calories — is a good range for maintaining optimal muscle function. (You can figure out your daily intake by multiplying your weight in pounds by 0.36; double that if you lead an active lifestyle.)
Both plants and animals provide good sources of protein. It’s essential to be aware that while many plants provide protein, most do not provide all of the essential amino acids. According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, quinoa, and soybeans are all sources of complete protein – which means they provide all nine essential amino acids. We can’t survive without all nine essential amino acids.
Have a protein with every meal
Where Should You Get Your Protein From?
Top Protein Sources:
Each of the following snacks is equal to about 1-ounce protein equivalent (about a handful):
5 brazil nuts
150 pine nuts
1 tablespoon peanut butter
Beans, Peas and Seeds
2 Tbsp of hummus
1/4 cup falafel
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp flax seeds
1 Tbsp hemp seeds
1/2 oz pumpkin seeds
1/2 oz sesame seeds
1/4 cup snap peas
Dairy products contain protein and calcium to support muscle and bone health during aging. Greek yogurt is an excellent healthy snack idea, as it also contains probiotics valuable for gut health. Try topping yogurt with sliced nuts or seeds for a burst of protein, healthy fat, and fresh fruit for natural sweetness and other nutrients.
A cup of cottage cheese is another excellent option. Like yogurt, pair it with fresh fruit for extra nutrients to make a healthy and hearty snack.
When looking for other dairy sources, aim for low-fat or fat-free milk and cheeses to keep calories in check. Also, be cautious of added sugars, commonly used in store-bought yogurt varieties.
Oatmeal topped with homemade granola and fresh fruit
Overnight oats with peanut butter or chia seeds
Oatmeal bites with nut butter and seeds
Beef, grilled, 3 ounces
Chicken breast 3 ounces
Turkey breast, 3 ounces
Pork loin, 3 ounces
Bison, 3 ounces
Shrimp, 3 ounces
Fish – 3 ounces of one of the following
cod, haddock, grouper, halibut, tilapia, bass, and salmon. Canned tuna is an excellent source of protein and healthy fat. It can be enjoyed as is or served alongside veggies or atop whole-grain crackers.
Tempeh, ½ cup
Tofu, ½ cup
Lentils, cooked, ½ cup
Quinoa, cooked, 1 cup
Whole-wheat pasta, cooked, 1 cup
Buckwheat, cooked, 1 cup
Ensure Protein Drink