March is National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month!  This year’s theme is, “GET YOUR PLATE IN SHAPE!”

Caroline Mathis RD/LD

What does nutrition even mean?  According to Webster, nutrition is the act or process of nourishing or being nourished.  How well are you nourishing yourself and loved ones?  The newest Dietary Guidelines can appear overwhelming but to put it simply, consume fewer calories and be more active.  Eat less.  Move more.

Throughout the month, we will focus on the following food groups:  protein, grains, dairy and fruits & vegetables and help you to get your plate in shape!

Week 1:  Protein

This group isn’t just the meat group anymore.  Protein includes the following:  animal meat like chicken, beef, pork, turkey, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, cottage cheese, beans, nuts, deli meats, tofu, tuna, and other fish.

Protein Basics:  Proteins are the building blocks of the human body.  They are made up of amino acids and help build muscles, blood, skin, hair, nails and organs.

How much do you need?  The average American only needs 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.  Take your weight in pounds then divide by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms.  Then multiply that number by 0.8 to see how many grams of protein you need a day.  The amount of protein in foods varies from product to product and from animal to animal.  The general rule of thumb is about 6 ounces per day.  (3 ounces is about the size of the palm of a lady’s hand.)

Endurance athletes, teenage athletes, untrained people starting an exercise program require more protein.  The recommendation for this group is 1.0-1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Trying to gain muscle mass?  More protein does not lead to bigger muscles.  Bulking up means dedication to extra exercise and extra calories, not supplements.  Research shows us that there is a cap on what our body can actually absorb.  If you are trying to gain muscle mass, consume protein evenly throughout your day.  Consume 10-20 grams of protein within an hour you completed your weight training.  This is known at the “hour of power”.  Pair a complex carbohydrate with lean protein for optimal results.

Trying to lose weight?  High protein diets are not always the answer.

  • Filling your stomach with too much protein you won’t be able to fuel your muscles with carbohydrate.
  • Too much protein can damage your kidneys.
  • A diet based on animal protein can take its toll on your wallet and on the environment.
  • A diet high in protein can be high in fat.

However, bumping up your protein intake slightly can help you stay fuller longer, therefore helping you take in fewer calories and in turn, lose weight!

Sources:

What are some typical serving sizes of protein?

Food

Serving Size

Protein (g)*

Hamburger, extra lean

3 oz

22 g

Chicken, roasted

3 oz

27 g

Fish

3 oz

22 g

Tuna, water packed

3 oz

21 g

Sirloin steak

3 oz

23 g

Cottage cheese (made with 1% milk)

1 C

28 g

Skim milk

1 C

8 g

Yogurt, low fat

8 oz

8 g

Cheddar cheese

1 oz

7 g

Soy milk

1 C

8 g

Tofu

½ C

7 g

Lentils, cooked

½ C

17 g

Kidney beans, cooked

½ C

8 g

Macaroni, cooked

1 C

8 g

Egg

1 large

6 g

Whole-wheat bread

2 slices

4 g

Rice, cooked

1 C

4 g

Broccoli, cooked

1 C

4 g

 

Speak Your Mind

*

Disclaimer: Please note that there's no guarantee of getting the same results as each of these patients. Specific results vary by individual patient.