Protein, protein, protein! That’s the first nutrient we emphasize as you go through our program. Do you know if your protein is measuring up? Protein is important in preserving muscle mass, a healthy immune system and hundreds of other important functions in our bodies. There are several ways to calculate your protein.
Foods that have a Nutrition Facts label are helpful. This label lists the amount of nutrients in one serving of the food. If the package has two servings and you eat the entire package, then you need to double the amount of protein listed. If there isn’t a Nutrition Facts Label available, you can use online databases to determine protein. A helpful nutrition database is http://nutritiondata.self.com. The information is provided in the Nutrition Facts Label format and comes from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Food scales and measuring cups will help with measuring your protein. One ounce of cooked meat is 7 grams of protein. Meat includes fish, chicken, turkey, pork, beef and game meats. Is your meat portion the size of a deck of cards or the palm of a medium size woman’s hand? If so, that is 3-4 ounces, which is 20-25 grams of protein. If your meat portion is a ½ cup, that’s 20 grams of protein. Is your meat portion is the size of a hockey puck or checkbook? That’s 3 oz. and provides 21 grams of protein.
Tracking your intake with an app or an online program is another way to track your protein. Our program uses the Baritastic app to track intake. Helpful features include uploading the foods’ barcode or speaking into your phone to detail your food choices. Be aware of what portion size you choose. A recent patient told Baritastic that the food choice was rotisserie chicken. The patient selected 1 serving. As it turns out, 1 serving of rotisserie chicken on this app is half of the chicken. Selecting the most accurate portion requires searching through the list of options to find the portion that is closest to what you actually ate. If you prefer a written journal, you can use the food lists from your nutrition guidelines to help calculate your protein.
So, is your protein measuring up?
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