Sunday, November 08, 2009

Good Health Guidelines: Lean Protein

Weight Watchers isn't a high-protein plan: Members can check off the lean protein requirement with just 1 serving a day, and a serving is only 3 ounces of meat or fish, one egg, etc. I never have much trouble getting this in, even though I don't eat a lot of meat. People forget that most foods aren't pure protein, fat, or carbs, but contain a mix. Members following the other Good Health Guidelines are also getting protein in some of the other foods, like whole grains and dairy servings. (Weight Watchers would be hard, if not impossible, for vegans to follow.) Protein has many important functions in the body, especially in building and repairing the body. If you're working on losing weight and getting fit, you need protein, but most Americans get more than enough.

I'm glad this plan takes a balanced view, because like Mark Bittman, I believe that food matters and that it's better to eat lower on the food chain most of the time. I also have some concerns about the way animals are treated in the meat, egg, and dairy industries and try to buy these foods from local, ethical farmers, but it's not always easy. I know that most restaurants are just buying their meat from the cheapest sources they can find. I'm not ready to make the leap to a vegetarian diet at this point, though I've definitely considered it.

I love eggs and that's one of my favorite protein options. Also sushi and all kinds of seafood. Falafel is probably my favorite vegetarian protein option, but unfortunately, it's usually deep fried. I'm not as creative as I could be with my protein sources -- like a lot of other dieters, I eat my share of skinless chicken breasts. I love peanut butter, too, and nut butters of all sorts. They're pretty easy to make in my food processor.

This one is a pretty easy guideline to follow for me, though I have gone through phases where all I wanted to eat was pasta with butter and saltine crackers with peanut butter. Do you have trouble with this guideline? Any creative ideas for those who do struggle with this one?


  1. As a vegan, I eat a lot of beans for protein. Do they recommend that at all?

    I am happy you try to buy ethical meat when you can.

  2. It's an option -- I haven't learned a lot of ways I like beans besides in falafel and hummus. Maybe I should try some more recipes.

  3. before I read the two comments, I was thinking beans. I like all kinds of beans, here in the Appalachians we eat a lot of pinto beans. soak dried pintos overnight, cook the next day, add a little peanut butter to the water you're cooking them in.

  4. Beans certainly qualify! One source I don't eat enough of is fish. I love eating it out but don't like the smell when I'm preparing at home. But you get lots of protein for not so many calories, which is good. I love my Edamame Bean Salad recipe which has beans + soy for a good protein kick.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07