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lean protein foods for weight loss

Protein and Weight Loss

Eating adequate protein can help with weight loss in general, but it is especially important for people undergoing weight loss procedures. After your weight loss procedure, consuming adequate this important nutrient will help with healing, and maintaining muscle mass throughout the weight loss process. High protein meals will also help you continue to lose weight well after the recovery period. High protein foods are digested much slower than high carbohydrate foods, which means they help you stay full longer after meals. This fullness factor is what makes protein so good for weight loss!

Meeting Your Protein Goals

In general, after a weight loss procedure, females need to consume at least 60-80 grams of protein per day. Males need approximately 70-90 grams of protein per day.  Your individual needs may vary. Talk to your healthcare provider about your target protein goal.  You might be wondering, what does 60-80 grams of protein looks like? For reference, one ounce of cooked chicken, fish or beef, ½ cup of beans or 1 egg contains about 7 grams of protein. One ounce of dairy products, such as yogurt or cheese contains around 2-4 grams of protein. Aim to eat 2-3 ounces of high protein foods at most meals. Check out the sample menu below to see what a complete day’s worth of protein would look like.

Sample One Day Menu

  • Breakfast: 1 egg (7g) + ½ cup fruit
  • Snack: 5oz Greek yogurt (10-15g) or protein shake (20-30g)
  • Lunch: 2oz tuna or turkey (1) + low fat cheese stick (7g) steamed green beans + ¼ up rice
  • Snack: ½ cup low fat cottage cheese (14g) + ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • Dinner: 3oz ground turkey or chicken breast (20g) + ½ cup roasted carrots + 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
  • Good Sources of Protein

Good sources of protein include lean meats, low fat dairy products, such as Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese, eggs, protein shakes, beans, tofu and nut butters. Certain  foods, such as dry or tough cuts of meat, ground beef, fried chicken, bacon, sausage and other high fat animal products should be avoided after your weight loss procedure. These foods can be harder to digest and might impede weight loss. You should also avoid nuts and seeds until cleared by your physician to resume eating them.

Choose leaner and softer types of protein during your recovery period and beyond. Good choices include eggs, fish, seafood, stewed or shredded chicken or pork and low sodium deli meat.  Plant based proteins such as tofu, veggie burgers, nut butters, beans and lentils (cooked well and mashed) are also good options. Dairy foods, such as low fat cottage cheese and cheese, Greek yogurt, part skim ricotta cheese and milk are also high quality sources of protein.

Tips to incorporate more protein into your diet

  • Eat protein with each meal
  • Eat protein foods first at meals, especially before eating carbs
  • Try moist prepared meats, chicken and fish first for best tolerance after your procedure.
  • Supplement with high quality liquid protein shakes
  • To avoid discomfort, chew protein foods well, until they are the consistency of applesauce

High Protein Meal Ideas

  • 1-2 poached or scrambled eggs mixed with ham
  • ½ cup low fat cottage cheese mixed with ¼ cup soft fruits, like canned peaches, applesauce or pineapple
  • 2-3oz chicken or tuna salad + ½ cup steamed vegetables
  • Low fat cheese stick
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt with <10g carbs per ½ cup serving
  • 2-3oz ground turkey mixed in tomato sauce plus ½ cup spaghetti squash
  • ½ cup mashed beans + 2 TB cheese + ¼ cup rice
  • 2-3oz baked fish + ½ cup steamed carrots and peas
  • 2-3oz shredded chicken or pork

For more information about weight loss options available at the Silhouette Clinic, call 301-288-1319 or contact us here. At the Silhouette Clinic we have a unique understanding of how to help your body work for you, instead of against you, in your efforts to lose weight. We offer a wide array of medical weight loss options to help you achieve your goals and will help you determine the best fit for you.

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