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EMILY_B2 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (1,149)
Posts: 143
10/8/12 5:21 P

Oops, missed the comments about deli meat and cheeses containing fat. They can, depending on what you choose (not all do), but your body needs fats as well as proteins, carbs, and all those other vitamins and nutrients. You do not want saturated fat, and the ones that contain large amounts of that will typically be high-calorie and something you would try to avoid, anyway.

YoJulez pointed out the main drawback with deli meat, and that is sodium, which can lead to water retention, and so on. One portion, if you label read and select carefully, is typically not bad, so long as the rest of the day is in line.

Honestly, though? I love ham. It's tasty, so I'm figuring out how to work it into a healthy menu since I would not boycott it when not trying to lose. That's my philosophy, anyway. I read labels as carefully as possible, portion appropriately, and just try to offset the sodium content by keeping other meals lower. If you have the time, though, making your own deli meat options is a great way to get the flavors, nutrients, and all that for less sodium or preservatives.

Deli cheeses are not typically much worse on fat or sodium than any other kinds of cheese. Cheese is good for you, offers a lot of protein, and don't forget the calcium boost. No need to avoid it, IMO. Work it into the day, keeping the calorie budget in mind, and you'll see protein climb.

MICHELLE73101 Posts: 317
10/8/12 4:58 P

Your carbs are too high. Try focusing on cutting carbs, and protein will help make up for it. Egg whites are a really great way to boost the protein ratio. They are loaded with protein with no fat or carbs.

Also try light string cheese for a snack.

STRONG_SARAH Posts: 1,205
10/8/12 3:51 P

Do you think they're inferior sources of protein? I was wondering about that. It makes sense.

And you are right Emily, I have been making an effort to keep my calories at the minimum. I don't know why really, maybe I think I'll lose weight faster? Even though I know better. I've been studying my tracker tonight and realize that I'm lacking in a few areas, for example my breakfast could be bigger, with more protein. Also I'm lacking dairy products. Something for me to work on I guess.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,333
10/8/12 3:38 P

one thing that you can do to free up more room is to stop eating so close to 1200 cals. you have an extra 300 cals of play, use them to boost your protein.

secondly, you're pretty darn close on your protein. which means that rather than resorting to an inferior protein source like a protein shake, you'd do better to eat slightly larger portions of the things that you already eat that have protein in them. another 20 cals of the white chicken chili would have added 2 g protein. a second hard boiled egg would have added another 6 g protein. another 20 g of tuna would have gotten you another 5 g protein. a serving of meat is 3-4oz, so when you're only having 2.5 oz, you can boost that by another .5-1.5 oz and get more protein to boot. little nits more do add up when you are that close. and the only times you aren't close are when you have 300-400 cals blocked out for a meal that has no macros listed. and you can't have 300-400 cals of food with no carbs, fat or protein so that is just an accounting error.

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
10/8/12 3:31 P

Hey, nothing wrong w/ breakfast for dinner :) I do it sometimes too! Plus, none of us are perfect eaters... hell, look at my Saturday tracker, what a hot mess of a day! It was fun eating all that yummy food though haha.

Deli meats and cheeses can have a lot of fat, yes. Sodium too. You could actually roast your own chicken breasts ahead of time, and cut them up into bite sizes pieces and keep them in the fridge for a few days to make wraps with, or to add to a salad. When I do it, I just lightly salt and pepper them, and roast on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes at like 400 degrees. Doing it that way allows you to control what you put in the meat. I've also done it with pork chops, but those aren't as lean as chicken. Also, 4 oz of chicken breast, it is 23 grams of protein, but only 110 calories, so just adding that into your diet will give you the boost you need.

If you can fit beef into your diet, that's an even better way, but even I don't eat it that often, too expensive.

As for cheese, 1 string cheese stick (which is usually mozzarella cheese and is 1oz) is 6 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein. So you see, even a little bit of cheese can go a long way. I like using shredded cheeses because you need very little to get the taste of them. 1 ounce is actually a decent amount!

For the greek yogurt, I also use it in place of cream or sour cream in some recipes. Like, mixed w/ marinara or tomato sauce, it makes for a great cream sauce.

EMILY_B2 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (1,149)
Posts: 143
10/8/12 3:18 P

I looked at your tracker for today, and it could be better, but you're not that far off. If you were to add a slice of canadian bacon to your dinner tonight, you'll get an additional 11g protein and only add 86 calories. Heck, you have room in your calorie budget for two slices of canadian bacon to get over the minimum line, with some room to spare in the budget.

It looks like you always try to stay at the bottom of your calorie range, and honestly, it will be difficult to meet all your nutritional needs at only ~1200 calories a day. It is a range, because sometimes we need to eat more to feed our bodies the fuel it needs to function for the volume of exercise we're doing, and so on. Some days at the bottom of the range is fine. Heck, some days going a little under are not going to bring the earth's rotation to a screetching halt. Always aiming for the bottom, though, is going to make it difficult to meet the more calorie-dense macro- and micronutrients, such as protein, fiber, and fat. They all play important roles for our bodies, and we need each one.

STRONG_SARAH Posts: 1,205
10/8/12 3:11 P

First of all thanks for the advices. It's a learning process for me.

Soybean that's a very good point, I hadn't thought of that. When I eat something not in the tracker I don't always know what the values are. Sometimes I'm lucky to find the calories online and it's usually just an estimate.

Today was not a good example, I really don't usually eat pancakes for dinner. Seriously.... emoticon . However, yesterday, for example I had chicken chili for lunch, and an egg AND a can of tuna for dinner AND pumpkin seeds. I made a real effort to get my protein in and I just couldn't. Doesn't that seem like a lot of protein?

Jen, you're right about the muffins. If I had had oatmeal for breakfast I would have cracked my limit.

About the deli ham and cheeses, don't they have a lot of fat too? I'll have to look into it. They say parmesan cheese has the same protein equivalent as steak and goodness knows we have enough of it here.
Unfortunately we don't have turkey crumbles or egg beaters or low-carb bread. We do have greek yogurt which I will go buy.

KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (82,009)
Fitness Minutes: (48,676)
Posts: 5,092
10/8/12 2:53 P

I'm a vegetarian and sometimes have the same problem. I'm surprised that you struggle yet you still eat meat. One of my favorite meals is oatmeal banana pancakes - pulse together 1/2 cup liquid egg whites (or 3-4 egg whites, or 3 eggs, or a combination), 1 large banana, 1/2 cup dry oats and some cinnamon and/or peanut butter in a food processor or blender and cook in a frying pan like regular pancakes, and top with fresh fruit. It's about 20-25 grams of protein, 50-something grams of carbs depending. Super yummy and you'll be satiated for hours.

EMILY_B2 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (1,149)
Posts: 143
10/8/12 2:33 P

A Flat Out wrap with some deli ham and cheese stacks easily over 30g protein, depending on the meat and cheese you choose (the one I assembled for today's lunch is at 45, which was too much in one sitting - feel like I might never need to eat again). Pair it with a serving of fruit or veggie and while it may not look like much food, you'll be stuffed.

For breakfast, a yogurt with a serving of Egg Beaters (or a real egg) and a fruit will pack a ton of protein to start the day.

For dinner, any lean protein should at LEAST get you to the minimum.

Snacks just add extra, or round out other nutritional areas that need luv. If you go light on protein at one of the main meals, a snack of almonds or peanuts or cottage cheese or anything should regain any ground missed with a main meal that was light on protein.

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
10/8/12 2:23 P

I agree w/ JEN, I don't see a lot of protein in your tracker at all. Like your tracker for today, there isn't a bit of meat on it at all. In addition to her suggestions, you could also add in some greek yogurt (if available in Italy), either as part of breakfast or a snack, that would bump up your protein considerably. Also adding in a snack of real cheese will help.

SOYBEAN Posts: 349
10/8/12 2:22 P

I think you're getting more protein than you think. Alot of your big meals (Japanese something and Beef liver for example) have 0 0 0 recorded for the macronutrients. I think those must have some protein even though it's not recorded in the tracker...

JENMC14 Posts: 2,786
10/8/12 2:16 P

Honestly, unless there's meat included in some of your main dishes that are just listed by name, I don't see a lot. I would also personally ditch the muffins for breakfast for something higher in protein and add something protein rich when you have oatmeal. For example, today for breakfast I had 1.2 cup of oatmeal with 100 grams of apples mixed in (with apple pie spice and a bit of vanilla and splenda), 3 egg whites, 1.5 cups of coffee and 2T of sugar free creamer for 284 calories with 18g of protein. I'll often have 4-5 egg whties with turkey sausage crumbles and reduced fat cheese with low carb toast. I also like to mix Greek yogurt with my oatmeal.

Add in some yogurt or cottage cheese as a snack. Nuts also make a nice snack, or some lower carb bread with peanut butter. My go-to sources (you can look at my fitness tracker, although I was quite low yesterday, and had some crappy eating this weekend) include yogurt (Greek, light or carbmaster), lowfat cottage cheese, reduced fat cheese, lean meats (chicken, shrimp, ground turkey), nuts, nut butters, sometimes beans.

Edited by: JENMC14 at: 10/8/2012 (14:55)
STRONG_SARAH Posts: 1,205
10/8/12 1:39 P

I've been tracking for a month now, and am consistently under my protein levels. Can anyone offer some advice? I already eat meat, tuna, hard-boiled eggs and nuts. Seriously I don't know how I'm under with all the protein I've eaten since I joined SparkPeople. I feel like its a lot.
Are protein powders and shakes a good substitute for real food? I'd rather eat real food but I feel like to meet my protein needs I would eat nothing but those foods I listed above.
Thanks in advance for the help!

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