Tag Archives: protein

Protein Series (Part 3 of 3): Protein Boosts Weight Management

Many adults do not eat enough protein, because of the calorie restrictions they put themselves on as they try to lose weight. Keep in mind that eating lean protein, such as lean meat, poultry, seafood, and low-fat cheeses, is essential for maintaining lean body muscle, which helps promote an active or healthy metabolism. Making dietary changes such as adding high-quality lean protein can ultimately lead to improved weight management. As mentioned in my Protein Series parts 1 & 2, protein promotes satiety as well as body muscle, eating a protein-rich meal or snack helps you feel full longer, and satisfies cravings faster.

Recent research found that a moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-protein (3-4 oz per meal) diet helped individuals lose more weight and even reduce their risk factors for metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes, compared to those who followed a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet (2-3 oz per meal) Adding just one more lean protein to each meal, such as 1 oz meat or 1 cup milk/yogurt or ½ cup beans, is enough to add weight loss benefits.

                                                         Black Bean Chili Stew – by Georgia Kostas

1 lb of lean ground beef ( 95% lean, 5% fat)

2 cans of lower-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

2 Tbp cumin seeds ( or 1 Tbsp ground cumin)

1 Tbsp oregano

1 Tbsp basil

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped ( 1.5 cups)

1 large bell pepper ( red or green), chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp paprika

1 tsp ground red pepper

20 oz can of lower-sodium crushed or diced tomatoes

28 oz can of lower-sodium tomato sauce

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and minced (or small can of chopped jalapeno)

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heated non-stick skillet. Add ground beef. Stir 5-7 min, till no longer pink. Drain off fat in a colander, under tap water (not cold or hot). Set aside.
  2. To a dry non-stick skillet, add cumin seeds and heat over medium heat, to toast seeds. Add basil and oregano, shaking pan occasionally for 3 minutes, till fragrant. Set aside. (Skip if using ground cumin.)
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, add all ingredients except beans. Simmer for 40-45 minutes, till onions and carrots are soft.  Then add beans. Heat 5-10 minutes more.
  4. You may also cook everything in a crockpot for 6 hours, except beans and meat. Add meat the last hour of cooking, and beans in the last 10 minutes, to prevent beef and beans from becoming too soft.

Protein Series, Part 2 of 3: Lean Protein is Good for Heart Health

Introduction:  Recent research indicates that a moderate serving of high-quality protein (3-4 oz) with each meal can make a significant difference in healthy aging, body strength, weight management, and disease prevention. This is especially significant since approximately 20 percent of older adults do not meet the USDA’s recommended dietary allowance of protein. Read my three-part series on Protein to learn how you can achieve optimal health as you get older.

Lean Protein is Good for Heart Health

Eating lean beef daily, as part of a heart-healthy diet, can help lower LDL-cholesterol ( bad cholesterol), lower triglycerides ( blood fats), and raise HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol) more than excluding beef, according to new research published in the January 2012 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  In this study, 5 oz of lean beef were consumed daily, as part of an overall healthy, plant-based, nutrient-rich diet (DASH), which included a variety of foods from all food groups.

Lean Beef by the Numbers

Americans can feel confident in their decision to eat lean beef daily, in moderate amounts,  as part of a low saturated fat diet which meets the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It’s a complete package! A 3 oz. serving of lean beef contributes less than 10 percent of calories to a 1,500-2,000-calorie intake daily and it supplies more than 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for 10 essential nutrients. On average, a 3 oz. serving of lean beef (about the size of a deck of cards) contains about 150 calories and is an excellent source of six nutrients (protein, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin and selenium) and a good source of four nutrients (phosphorous, choline, iron and riboflavin).

Lean Beef by the Cut  –

Did you know 17 of the top 25 most popular fresh meat cuts sold in retail are lean? Some of my favorite choices in cuts are  Tenderloin, Top Sirloin, Flank, T-Bone steak and 95% lean Ground Beef. It’s simple to pair these delicious cuts with nutrient-rich vegetables, grains and dairy foods for an overall healthy diet.

Other Heart-Protective Foods

How can you protect your heart? Eat the right type and amount of wholesome foods! Choose colorful fruit, vegetables, and beans; wholegrains; lean protein foods ( fish, poultry, lean beef, low-fat cheese); non-fat or low-fat dairy; and the right types and amount of fat and oils  to reduce artery inflammation and lessen the development of hardening of the arteries, which underlies most heart attacks.

Lifestyle Factors that Reduce Heart Disease

  • A healthy weight
  • Aerobic exercise, 30+ minutes, 3-5 times weekly
  • Healthy eating
  • Healthy blood pressure (<120/80)
  • Not smoking
  • Treating depression
  • Managing stress
  • More vitamin D3
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Ample sleep

In summary, lean beef protein can be beneficial to your heart as long as it does not exceed saturated fat limits (3-4 oz lean beef contains 4-6 gm sat fat out of 15-22 gm sat fat limit daily). Realize the value in varying protein sources – it’s good for your taste buds, adds nutrient variety, and helps your heart. It takes your total lifestyle to keep your heart running right…combine eating right and regular physical activity for optimal health.

Need more ideas?  Check out my book The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution:  Step up to the Plate (2009), or email me at Georgia@GeorgiaKostas.com to schedule a nutrition consult in person, over the phone or online.  You can follow me on Twitter/GeorgiaKostas, Facebook/Georgia Kostas Nutrition or visit my website http://georgiakostas.com.

Protein Series, Part 1 of 3: Benefits of Lean Protein for Healthy Muscle Mass

Introduction:  Recent research indicates that a moderate serving of high-quality protein (3-4 oz) with each meal can make a significant difference in healthy aging, body strength, weight management, and disease prevention. This is especially significant since approximately 20 percent of older adults do not meet the USDA’s recommended dietary allowance of protein. Read my three-part series on Protein to learn how you can achieve optimal health as you get older.

 

Benefits of Lean Protein for Healthy Muscle Mass

Given the growing baby boomer population (approximately 10,000 Americans turn 65 years old every day), loss of muscle mass in older adults is becoming an increasingly significant public health issue.

It’s a fact of life that our body changes as we age. Those transformations happen in body composition, skeletal changes, metabolism slows down, aerobic (oxygen) capacity declines, and our immune system weakens. So, how do we prevent these changes?

The most practical dietary strategy to stimulate muscle growth is to include high-quality protein during each meal, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Aug 2007). Research indicates that a moderate serving of high-quality protein (3-4 oz) with each meal can make a significant difference in body strength. This is especially significant since approximately 20 percent of older adults do not meet the USDA’s recommended dietary allowance of protein.

Be Lean Protein Savvy

Enjoying these high-quality protein foods can help you build a healthy lifestyle at any age:

  • Consume 3-4 oz servings of protein-rich foods at each meal daily.  ( 1 protein equivalent = 1 oz meat or 1 cup milk or yogurt or ½ cup beans or 1 egg )
  • Vary protein sources weekly. Try poultry,  fish, lean beef or pork,  bean or all-vegetable meals, low-fat or non-fat milk, yogurt, cheese.
  • Choose low-fat toppings. Top baked potatoes with cottage cheese, yogurt, marinara sauce or salsa, and top salads with balsamic vinegar, lemon, cottage cheese, or yogurt.
  • Snack on healthy alternatives such as nuts, popcorn, wholewheat bagels, pretzels, popsicles, frozen nonfat yogurt, carrots, homemade Chex cereal mix, wholegrain crackers or toast. 

Add Muscle with Protein

Building optimal muscle mass comes from pairing the right types of high-quality protein with the right exercise routine, and making that a habit. First, exercise is not all about the amount that’s important, it’s the type of exercise that’s important. Did you know that starting at age 25, you can lose 8-10 lbs of muscle mass each decade? Did you know cardio workouts such as walking and running will help you maintain muscle, but resistance training is what really helps you build muscle? Stimulating the right muscles, over several repetitions, helps you build muscle mass over time. In addition, eating lean protein within 30 minutes after resistance training helps builds muscle more effectively. 

Exercise Variety Leads to Optimal Benefits

Enjoy changing up your routine with these exercises. And, remember to set goals that are appropriate to your age group and ability to get the most out of all of your efforts.

  • Aerobic (heart, lungs, weight, stamina, balance)
  • Flexibility/stretching (joints, range-of-motion)
  • Strength (bones, muscles, core)
  • Balance (reduces falls, hip & spine fractures; adds stability, coordination, functional fitness)
  • All-in-one (yoga, pilates, aqua exercise, Zumba, bar/ballet classes, functional fitness, bands with cardio, circuit classes)

Sample Weekly Workout Plan/Goals*

  • Cardio – moderate intensity, 30 minutes, 5 times/week OR vigorous intensity, 20 minutes, 3 times/week
  • Strength – 8-10 exercises, 10-15 repetitions, 2-3 times/week
  • Balance/Core – 3 or more times weekly
  • Stretching – 5-10 sets per day

*Note: these particular sample exercise goals are intended for adults over the age of 65. See a doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

In summary, you can age gracefully. Achieve optimal health as you get older with 1) 3-4 oz. lean protein with each meal daily along with other nutrient-rich foods, and 2) exercise for cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility weekly. Become proactive and live a healthy, active lifestyle starting today.

Remember to sign up for my blog, so you don’t miss out of part 2 and 3 of Protein series. You can also follow my updates on Facebook.com/GeorgiaKostasNutrition and Twitter @GeorgiaKostas. For more nutrition and wellness tips, recipes, handouts, and to get a copy of my book The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009), visit my website www.georgiakostas.com.

Spring-Clean Your Diet!

Spring is a perfect time to clean out your pantry and refrigerator and freshen up your eating!

7 ways to get you started:

1. Go to the farmer’s market and buy 10 different colorful fresh fruit and vegetables! Vegetables and fruit are nutrient-rich, low in calories, anti-inflammatory, flavorful and refreshing.

2. Serve fresh vegetables with hummus, bean dip, light Ranch or a Greek yogurt-based dip.

3. Eat 3 fresh sliced fruit daily – melons, berries, pineapple, oranges, apples, and bananas, grapes – as part of meals, snacks, appetizers and dessert.

4. Enjoy lean protein such as seafood, poultry without skin, lean beef or pork cuts. Just add a little seasoning and olive oil for flavor.

5. Choose 100% whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, steel-cut oats, corn, homemade popcorn, barley, whole-wheat crackers. These supply fiber and crucial nutrients.

6. Try Greek yogurt, which has twice the protein and more calcium than other yogurts.

7. Get creative with nuts! Try pistachio snacks, almonds on salads, or walnuts in cereal. The type of fat and nutrients in 3 Tbsp of nuts each day improves artery health, lipids, diabetes and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Clean up your diet by adding just one more vegetable, one more fruit, and one more whole grain daily. Eating clean will help put spring in your step!

For more resources and advice, visit http://www.georgiakostas.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @georgiakostas or like my Facebook Fan Page, Georgia Kostas Nutrition.

Celebrating National Nutrition Month (Part 1 of 3)

Getting to Know Your Plate

In honor of National Nutrition Month, let me fill you in on two simple tips to help boost the nutritional value of every meal you eat. Start by looking at your plate. What do you see?

Tip #1:  Is it bursting with color?  If it is, it’s bursting with nutrients! Does it boast color variety? If it does, it’s boasting nutrient variety! And the brighter the colors…you guessed it…the more nutrients present!

Tip #2:  Is it divided into four different foods of equal portion? By dividing your plate into four equal food portions, you get the proper amount, proper food balance and proper calories in return.

Now combine these two tips and you’re on your way to better health.

Remember this example:

Choose a fist-sized portion of a green vegetable, a fist-sized portion of a red/orange vegetable, a fist-sized portion of a healthy starch (potato, brown rice, pasta, or wholegrain), and a palm-sized portion of protein.  These portions represent about 1 cup of everything; and a 3-4 oz piece of protein. Now you have a perfectly balanced, healthy meal…rich in nutrients and fiber, and low in calories…all for under 600 calories!

Try these delicious meal ideas:

  • 3-4 oz chicken breast, 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup carrots, 1 cup brown rice
  • 3-4 oz lean beef tenderloin, 1 cup spinach, 1 cup yellow squash, one small sweet potato
  • 2 cups of salad consisting of dark lettuce greens, tomato, red bell pepper, red onion slices, mushrooms, celery, radishes, and cucumber slices and carrots, topped with 3 thin slices of fajita meat or a chicken breast and dressed with a touch of salsa or vinaigrette
  • 2 cups of mixed vegetables, such as broccoli,  snow peas, cabbage, carrots, onions and mushrooms, stir-fried with 3-4 oz of scallops, shrimp, lean meat or poultry, and served over 1 cup of brown rice

Need more ideas for building a healthy plate bursting with color and in appropriate proportions? See my book, The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution (2009). Quick meal Ideas in my book are just 400-500 calories!

Next time you sit down to eat, ask yourself: are there four colors or more? Are there four different foods of equal portion? If yes, enjoy! You are treating yourself to better health and easier weight control.  If no, simply add a splash of grape tomatoes, radishes, baby carrots, or a bright salad to your plate. Check out Part 2 of my National Nutrition Month blog series: Color Your Plate like an Artist’s Palette.

For more healthy plate ideas, or to order a copy of my book, visit www.georgiakostas.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @georgiakostas or like my Facebook Fan Page, Georgia Kostas Nutrition.

Tips for Better Health and More Energy in the New Year

Ready to get a fresh start in January and begin your action plan for better health and more energy? Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Cut 100 calories from your daily eating. You’ll lose 10 lbs in a year. Cut 200 calories. Lose 20 lbs. Begin with achievable goals – skip a slice of bread, use less dressing or mayonnaise, etc. We can all find those little extras we can live without, painlessly. Take one step at a time.

2. Manage portions. Know that a deck of cards = 3 oz meat/fish/poultry protein; a golf ball holds 2 tablespoons dressing. These amounts are appropriate for weight loss or management. Consider what other portion adjustments could help you most.

3. Include protein at each meal. Protein sustains energy and keeps appetite in check. Include a 3 oz protein portion at lunch and dinner. At breakfast, try 2 egg whites (or 1 egg ), 1 cup milk or yogurt, and one of the following: 1 tablespoon peanut butter or 1 cup Kashi cereal or a slice of lean ham or 1 slice 2%-fat cheese. Each of these meals contains 25-35 protein grams…..very satisfying!

4. Eat breakfast. Many studies show breakfast eaters eat better the rest of the day, as well as fewer calories and less fat, compared to breakfast skippers. Breakfast also jumpstarts morning energy and brain-power.

5. Eat slowly. You feel full and eat less….automatically.

6. Chew gum in place of a snack. You can save a typical snack’s 200-300 calories.

7. Burn 200 calories from 30 minutes of aerobic activity you enjoy daily. You’ll lose 20 lbs a year.

8. Drink 64 oz water a day – 24 oz when you wake up, 24 oz mid-day, 24 oz before and after workouts…and even more later. The more, the better.

9. Pick one habit to change. Healthier snacks. One less soda. Less TV noshing. Begin meals with an appetite suppressant: salad, fresh fruit, cup of soup, hot tea.

10. Surround yourself with support. Get your family, friends and colleagues involved with like goals. A work-force is a powerful source of all-day-long support.

Begin with the steps above. If you would like a more specific food plan tailored to meet your eating preferences, exercise needs, and lifestyle, email me at georgia@georgiakostas.com. A consult can change your January and your year!

Visit my website at www.georgiakostas.com or like my Facebook Fan Page at Georgia Kostas Nutrition. Here’s to a healthy, fit year!