The word protein comes from the Greek word ‘protas,’ which means ‘of primary importance’ because of its fundamental ability to sustain life. Protein is needed for muscle and tissue growth and repair, pH regulation and providing the body with energy, along with a laundry list of other great things, like boosting immune functions and controlling metabolism. So, bring on the beef, right? At a whopping 51 grams of protein per 6 oz., broiled tri-tip sirloin looks like a pretty good contender for getting your daily protein RDA, matched only by deer meat. So what’s the problem? These items also tend to be high in fat, calories, and cholesterol.
But fear not! These hefty and somewhat dubious specimens are not your only options! Choosing the right cuts of poultry, fish, and meat with the right dairy and a balance of starch and vegetables can help you keep your precious health and gorgeous physique. So are you ready to be a lean mean protein machine? Dig in!
Move over grass-fed beef, here comes the bison. Bison has fewer calories and half the fat of red meat. While, according to the USDA, a 90% lean burger averages 10 grams of fat, a buffalo burger of similar size weighs in at 2 grams of fat and 24 grams of protein. Plus, you will earn a full daily allowance of Vitamin B-12 to boost energy and put the kibosh on insulin resistance and formation of fat cells. Additionally, bison is grass-fed , so you can chow down without the fear of hormones and pollutants.
Although technically classified as red meat and similar in taste to beef, this rising star of the protein world has less fat than chicken or turkey. One four oz. burger has almost 39 grams of the muscle builder with only 6 grams of fat. You’ll also get 200% of the daily allowance of B-12 as well as choline, a nutrient essential for fat loss.
Now here’s an affordable alternative! With 3 oz providing 16 grams of protein, canned tuna is one of the best fish for keeping fit. According to a study in the Journal of Lipid Research, omega-3 fatty acids have the ability to shut down abdominal fat genes. Worried about mercury levels? In most cases, the leaner and larger the fish, the higher the mercury, with bluefin and albacore among the most toxic. However, canned light tuna comes from the smallest fish and their mercury level is relatively low and up to 12 oz., according to FDA guidelines, can be safely eaten each week.
Don’t let the limp leaves fool ya! Spinach can pack a punch that can play with the big boys. One-half cup has almost as much protein as a hard-boiled egg with close to half the calories. It’s also a great source Vitamins A and C, folates, and antioxidants. Make sure you steam this protein producer to retain all its great vitamins and make it easier for the body to absorb its high calcium content. Pile it on soups, sandwiches, and pasta for extra nutrition with no added guilt. FYI: Spinach is among the 10 green vegetables healthier than kale.
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Ooh la la! Lean protein goes gourmet. With 6 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, sun dried tomatoes are great for pizza, salads, and pasta. They’re also packed with lycopene to reduce rush of lung, prostate, skin and stomach cancer.
Feel free to weigh in on your choices for lean proteins. We love to hear from you.