Healthy Tip of the Week: Include Protein at Every Meal

This piece was part of a 12-week series I created for Jenny Craig. Video scripts were developed using copy from previously-written blog posts written by me, freelancers or the content manager.

View the others here:

  1. Healthy Tip of the Week: How to Stay Hydrated
  2. Healthy Tip of the Week: Don’t Skip Breakfast
  3. Healthy Tip of the Week: Eat More Veggies
  4. Healthy Tip of the Week: Ditch Fast Food
  5. Healthy Tip of the Week: Avoid Eating Late at Night
  6. Healthy Tip of the Week: Go to Bed Early
  7. Healthy Tip of the Week: Try Time-Restricted Eating
  8. Healthy Tip of the Week: Eat Mindfully
  9. Healthy Tip of the Week: Watch Your Portion Sizes
  10. Healthy Tip of the Week: Be More Active
  11. Healthy Tip of the Week: Avoid Alcohol

Each week, we’ll highlight some of our favorite healthy habits and the benefits behind them. We’ll also share a quick and simple tip from Heather Lake, a Jenny Craig Health & Lifestyle Contributor, to help support your weight loss goals and inspire you throughout the day! This 12-week series will focus on everything from high-protein foods to add to your meals to delicious alternatives to empty-calorie alcoholic drinks.

Why is protein important for weight loss?

Protein is one of three important macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates), which are essential to your body’s everyday processes — eating, breathing, moving, and more.1 Your body uses protein in foods for energy and the other nutrients they contain to support your health. Protein may also be beneficial for weight loss (here are eight ways protein might boost your efforts). To make sure you’re getting enough of this powerful macronutrient in your diet, try to add small amounts of high-protein foods into each of your meals.

How much protein should you eat in a day?

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get 5 ½ ounces of protein-rich foods daily,2 but if you’re following the Jenny Craig program, you won’t have to do any calculating. The delicious entrées, snacks and beverages you’ll enjoy on the program are all conveniently pre-portioned to provide the right amount of protein for your weight loss needs.

Looking to boost your protein intake? We’ve rounded up 7 high-protein foods that can support your weight loss efforts when eaten in moderation.

Many Jenny Craig meals contain one or more of the following high-protein foods. If you are on the Jenny Craig program, check with your consultant before making any swaps or changes to your plan to ensure you stay on track!

7 high-protein foods to add to your meals

When you’re looking for more ways to add protein to your diet, there are plenty of healthy options that may help support your weight loss goals. Here are some of our top protein-rich picks:

alison-marras-4zm5e0ZgYjE-unsplash (2)1. Eggs

Photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash.

At six grams of protein per large egg,3 they might be small, but eggs pack a big protein punch. And whether you boil, bake or fry them, eaten in moderation, eggs may help support your health and your weight loss goals.

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2. Beans

Photo by Deryn Macey on Unsplash.

Meat isn’t the only way to add protein to your diet — there are plenty of protein-rich foods for vegetarians, too! A single cup of black beans contains over 15 grams of protein.4 Beans are also a great source of dietary fiber, which may help with weight loss.

Want some more plant-based protein options? Check out these 14 high-protein foods that are great for vegetarians.

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3. Fish

Photo by Clifford on Unsplash.

Different types of fish have varying amounts of protein. Here are a few of our favorites: Tuna is a savory lean protein source, with just over five and a half grams of protein per ounce.5 If you prefer white fish, Alaskan pollock is another delicious option, with about the same amount of protein as tuna per ounce.6 If you’re eating canned fish, choose ones packed in water, rather than oil, for a healthier alternative.

chad-montano-M0lUxgLnlfk-unsplash (2)4. Beef

Photo by Chad Montano on Unsplash.

Some types of red meat, including certain cuts of beef, pork and lamb, can be high in saturated fat, which may raise cholesterol levels and contribute to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.7 Leaner cuts like top sirloin steak, top round roast and top round steak8 may be healthier choices. If you choose a less lean piece of meat, enjoy a smaller serving to get plenty of protein without the excess fat.

louis-hansel-shotsoflouis-JeJ5IpCG1mw-unsplash (2)5. Pork

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash.

Similarly to beef, a leaner cut of pork will have less saturated fat. Tenderloin is a great choice for a lean protein, but you can also enjoy smaller amounts of other cuts of pork, like a lean pork sausage or pork shoulder, to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your meal.

bowl-of-vegetable-salad-and-fruits-936611 (2)6. Poultry

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.

A great source of lean protein, just one ounce of chicken has over eight grams of protein.9 Other types of poultry, like turkey, are good choices as well. A single serving of poultry or red meat is about three ounces — similar to the size of a deck of cards. (This helpful portion size guide can help you visualize proper serving sizes.) To cut back on the amount of saturated fat in your meal, you can remove the skin from your portion, or choose skinless chicken or turkey breast.

aliona-gumeniuk-_wdXUGB2GO4-unsplash (2)7. Cheese

Photo by Aliona Gumeniuk on Unsplash.

The most protein-rich cheeses are hard varieties,10 like Parmesan, gruyere and gouda. Cheese doesn’t have nearly as much protein as beans or meat, so it’s better sprinkled on top of your meal instead of eaten as your main protein source. As with other foods that are high in protein but also high in saturated fat, aim to enjoy smaller amounts of cheese at mealtimes, especially if your goals include weight loss. If weight loss is your goal, we recommend sticking to four tablespoons of shredded cheese (about one-fourth of a cup), which contains over five grams of protein and is a generous amount to sprinkle over vegetables or pasta for an extra protein boost.


Originally published here.

Main photo by Shayda Torabi on Unsplash.