By Rachel Reiff Ellis
As we age, protein is important for keeping up muscle mass to stay active, avoid injury, and support a healthy immune system.
Choosing non-meat proteins in later years can be a good idea for more than just health or ethical reasons. “Many non-meat protein sources are lower in cost, and if you’re on a fixed income, then watching the food budget can be helpful,” says Angela Catic, MD, an assistant professor of internal medicine, section of geriatrics, at Baylor College of Medicine.
Dental issues like missing teeth and dentures can come into play, too — making a piece of steak or hamburger hard to chew. But there are plenty of ways to get protein besides meat. You just have to know what you’re looking for.
Proteins That Pack a Punch
Meatless protein sources that will give you the biggest bang for your buck are called “complete” proteins.
“Complete proteins have the essential amino acids, or building blocks, that the body requires, in adequate amounts,” says Lauri Wright, PhD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and assistant professor of nutrition at the University of North Florida.
Meats are complete proteins, but many plant-based proteins aren’t. It’s good to know the difference and reach for complete proteins when you can. Some non-meat complete proteins are:
As for “incomplete” proteins, you can buddy them up with another protein source to make a total package. “Many traditional food complements work perfectly for this,” Wright says. “Beans and rice, which is a staple of many Hispanic cultures, is a great example of joining two incomplete plant proteins together.”
Foods That Fuel You
Wherever it comes from, it’s best to get protein in small, regular spurts, rather than one big meal. Loading up on your protein all at once won’t give your body the steady stream of nutrients it needs to last throughout the day. “Your protein intake needs to be spread out through the day — about 25 to 30 grams with each meal,” says Catic.
You don’t have to do a complete menu overhaul to raise your daily protein, says Catic. “It can be as easy as having a peanut butter sandwich for a snack or sprinkling flax or chia seeds into cereal or yogurt.”
Think about the foods you already eat, and build from there. Here are some of the best non-meat protein sources:
Eggs: These are nearly perfect proteins, says Wright. “They have almost precise amounts of all the essential building blocks you need.”
And at only 70 calories an egg, you’re not getting too many calories.
Eggs have the added bonus of being easy to make ahead (hard-boil them and keep them in the fridge for a quick snack) and easy to add to foods you already eat, like salad. They can be a simple dinner option, too — cook them up with some veggies to make an omelet, whip up a frittata, or bake them in a pie crust with some spinach and low-fat cheese for a tasty quiche.
Dairy: Look for low-fat options for your protein fix. Cottage cheese, yogurt, and low-fat cow’s milk are all pumped with it. Pour milk on your cereal for breakfast, or have cheese with your snack crackers. You can even slide in some dairy protein for a delicious dessert. “I sometimes encourage people to have frozen yogurt if they enjoy a treat,” says Catic.
Seeds: Quinoa is a complete protein that has all nine essential amino acids. If you’re not familiar with it, think of it like a grain or pasta. Use it in dishes in place of rice or couscous, for example, and you’ll give your dish an automatic protein boost. Also, chia and flax seeds are small enough to sneak into yogurt, cereal, smoothies, or oatmeal without changing the flavor much.
Soy: Tofu might be the first food you think of when you hear the word “vegetarian.” That’s because it’s a common substitute in dishes that typically use meat. Cubed tofu can be cooked and added to salads or burritos in place of chicken. Or for a quick soy snack, steam a bag of edamame — soybeans in pods you can pop into your mouth while they’re still warm.
Greens: Veggies like spinach and kale are an easy way to get a whole host of nutrients, including protein. Add a layer to sandwiches, or fill a bowl and top with your favorite veggies for a healthy salad.
Smoothies can give you your greens, too: Along with fruits, milk, yogurt, or even a dab of peanut butter, you can also throw some spinach into your blender. “Spinach has 5 grams of protein per cup, so it’s not huge, but it’s great because you’re getting other things like vitamin A and calcium and iron,” says Catic.
Beans: Pick a bean, any bean, and you’ve got protein. “Beans are a fabulous source,” says Wright.
And they come with lots of bonuses, like fiber, folate, antioxidants, and vitamins. Beans can beef up soups, or — in the case of chickpeas — be blended into tasty dips like hummus.
Nuts: Peanut butter is a no-brainer when it comes to easy protein for your daily diet. Add a spoonful to your oatmeal, or spread some on whole-grain crackers or fruit. Skip the liquid nuts, though. “I don’t recommend nut milks as a protein source because they don’t have the protein in them that the soy and the cow’s milk do,” says Wright.
A north Minneapolis group that uses food as a community development tool was among seven regional organizations awarded the 2017 Bush Prize for Community Innovation, the foundation announced Tuesday.
Appetite for Change, a community-based effort to build health, wealth and social change on the North Side, was awarded nearly $471,000 to help transform an area that has been called one of the largest “food deserts” in the country into a culturally based, community-driven food center…
Published: August 30, 2017
Using salt in recipes can be second nature to some. A little salt, a little pepper, and you’re favorite protein is seasoned and ready. But for those of you who are looking to step away from using high-sodium salt, you might want to look into some healthy herb alternatives that work just as well as salt.
Mastering herbs and spices is your next step to cooking tasty meals that are much healthier than using salt for flavor.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) of salt a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mgs per day for most adults.
There are also many health benefits to a low sodium diet or cutting salt altogether. Reducing your intake of sodium, or salt, helps to reduce hypertension or high blood pressure and helps to prevent swelling of the extremities, such as your hands or legs. Reducing your salt intake may also lower your risk of heart disease.
So if you’re looking to better your health, try these salt alternatives and salt-free recipes that will have you saying, “Salt Schmalt!”
Posted on July 19, 2017 by Ja Y
After reading the article titled “The Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research Walks Beside, Not In Front of, Diverse Hawaiian Communities to Control Diabetes,” it made me think about the good point that Dr. Marjorie Mau, a lead principal investigator of the Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research, addressed on how they walk beside the community rather than in front of them. When trying to help the community, I think that it is best to make them feel like family; to feel comfortable and at ease with you. With the information we get about health issues in our communities, it definitely makes us want to address it and help those who may need some guidance. With this, we have to also remember that we can not just try to budge into their lives and take over, even if it is for good intentions.
The article mentioned how the Partnership for Improving Lifestyle Interventions (PILI) project addressed obesity by adapting an existing weight loss education program. They used local languages and examples that were relevant to those in the community. There was also a program added to help participants with the support of family members and the community; this program was culturally adapted based on its community. Personally, I have never thought about letting myself be apart of a research. The whole concept of trying to improve health by researching is amazing but when I think about allowing research programs work on my body, it just doesn’t sound too pleasing, depending on what it is. So after reading this article, I realized that maybe it isn’t too bad. Also, I loved how the research program approached the topic of research and what they were focusing on. Without a doubt, I think that their approach/idea on research and community can be applied to other things.
Dr. Mau and the Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research definitely has good intentions to help the communities, mainly focused in Hawaii. The overall thought of walking besides them/the community and helping with issues they/the community care about can definitely help with the factor of gaining trust and opening up for help/guidance. Since our goal for the concept of Bicultural Healthy Living is to help support people in living healthily within cultures people adapt to, applying these ideas and strategies will greatly benefit the community and our goal.
Remember to lend out a helping hand but also remember to think about who those you help are as a person. Diversity is all around us but sometimes we forget that we live in a world where every culture is different but it is normal. Every community may be different so it is important to help with things that matter to them while making them feel like family.