Tips For Choosing Proteins

If you are an older individual, there is a very good chance you are not consuming enough protein in your diet and since Protein is what helps sustain healthy muscles and bones, it is important to get more protein into your diet.

We should be getting 7 ounces of protein daily (approximately 46 grams). A serving size = approximately 2-3 ounces of meat, one ounce protein = 1 egg , 1/4 cup cooked beans or peas, ™ cup nuts or seeds; or 1 tablespoon peanut butter.

Protein foods include both animal (meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs) and plant (beans, peas, soy products, nuts and seeds) sources. With Protein foods variety is key in order to avoid flavor fatigue. Vary your protein choices by eating a variety of foods from the Protein Food Group each week. Experiment with main dishes made with beans or peas, nuts, soy and seafood. Try to consume seafood twice a week and include some that are higher in oils such as salmon, trout, sardines and herring. Choose leaner cuts of meats and cook low, moist and slow for a long time to tenderize the tougher cheaper cuts. A crockpot works well for this. Remove poultry skin before cooking as well. Try grilling, broiling, roasting or baking – they don’t add extra fat.

Why not have eggs? One egg daily generally will not increase your risk for heart disease. Another option is plant protein. Beans and peas (kidney, pinto, black, or white beans: split peas, chickpeas; hummus), soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers), nuts, and seeds. They are not only filling and delicious, but naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber. Choose nuts or seeds as a snack, on salads or throw them in main dishes. Nuts and seeds are a concentrated source of calories so eat small portions to keep calories in check. Cheese also adds protein to the diet along with milk and yogurts. Again you have to watch your fat intake as you increase protein so try to choose low fat products.

Make a healthier sandwich by choosing turkey, roast beef, canned tuna, salmon, or peanut butter for sandwiches. Many deli meats, such as regular bologna or salami, are high in fat and sodium. As always check your labels for fat and salt levels.

If you feel you fall short of protein intake it would be a good idea to drink a supplemental protein drink or an instant breakfast to meet your body’s needs. You can also add powdered milk to foods such as casseroles or soups to increase the protein content.

Please remember to contribute toward your OFA nutrition services if you can. These programs are not sustainable at current levels without the support of participant contributions. Be aware that Food Stamps can be used toward your contribution. I do not want to have to make any further cuts to nutrition services. Thank you for your support.

Chautauqua County Office for the Aging Senior Nutrition Program provides nutritious noon meals at several Congregate Dining Sites throughout the county along with a Restaurant Dining out Program. Our Dietitian, Cheryl Walhstrom, RD is available for nutrition counseling in your home at no cost to you. We also sponsor several exercise programs. Call the office for more details and information: 753-4471, 661-7471, or 363-4471.