Question: I do weight training. In addition, I would like to cut down on my red meat consumption but I am afraid that I won't get enough protein to build new muscle tissue. What do you suggest?
Answer: Adults need 40 to 60 grams of protein per day and regular exercisers may find that they feel better with an additional 20 grams or so per day. Just make sure that if you are getting this amount of protein you are getting it from low-fat sources. Animal proteins are complete proteins. They contain all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need but can't manufacture. But red meat is a high-fat source.
Non-animal proteins are available in rice, beans, seeds and nuts but they do not contain all of the essential amino acids...unless they are properly combined with other foods. It's easy! Just combine grains (rice, cereals, breads, etc.) with legumes (fresh or dried beans, peas, lentils) and all the amino acids our bodies need will be represented. Or you can combine low-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.) with grains or nuts and seeds with legumes.
Here are some examples:
Each of these combinations can provide between 15 and 40 grams of protein depending on your portion size.
- A low-fat cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread
- Low fat milk on cereal
- A rice and bean burrito
- Low-fat yogurt on granola
- Lentil soup or pea soup with a whole wheat roll
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