With all the talk about taking your vitamin and mineral supplements; chewing slowly and thoroughly; not drinking while eating; eating 3 main meals and no grazing; hydrating well with 2 litres of water daily; opting for low-fat and low-sugar foods; and just eating to satiety…the PROTEIN advice often gets forgotten or put on the back burner.
Well this little lady (rather than the old little ‘piggy’), has been eating her protein religiously since she had her gastric bypass because it is so IMPORTANT for future health, and can offer the following advice…
Many weight-loss surgery patients seriously under estimate the importance of sufficient protein in their diets. Figures are quoted by dieticians and nutritionists, like 70g per day, but have little relevance when it’s hard to know what 70g of protein looks like in ‘real food’. ” How much protein is there in a steak”, I’m continually asked, “or an egg, a chicken thigh, a portion of beans or a salmon steak?” “Well, it depends on the size or portion”, I say and it’s hardly surprising that many look even more confused. For what is also a ‘normal’ portion, or a weight-loss surgery patients portion come to that?
And yet it is seriously bad to under-estimate the importance of protein in the diet. When dieticians say a minimum of 70g they really do mean it…and continually falling short of this amount can bring about the problems associated with protein deficiency and muscle loss.
Although gastric bypass patients and those with more complex revisions are at most risk from protein deficiency, band patients also need to be seriously aware of eating enough protein too.
Post-op gastric bypass, sleeve and band patients always need to eat protein at every meal and to focus on eating this element of the dish first. It is always better to eat your protein rather than drink or eat it in the form of a protein powder supplement…but if you are continually under-scoring and coming up short then a protein drink or powder supplement stirred into food could be part of the answer.
So what does 70g protein look like in real food?
A good shortcut for you to use is to know that most meat, fish, poultry etc have approximately 7 g of protein per 25g/1 oz. On average, you would therefore need to eat about 275g/10 oz to achieve that bare minimum of protein a day. Divide this over 3 meals and say a couple of snacks and it can be anything but easy.
I try to aim for:
100g/3.5 oz protein foods at breakfast
100g/3.5 oz protein foods at lunch
125g/4 oz protein foods at dinner
to ensure that I have all bases covered and consider the odd snack a boost to this level. A small morning and evening snack, chosen juidiciously, can also provide me with a further 10-12g protein – so job done.
“But how do I know what 100g/3.5 oz protein foods look like , you ask?” Well here is my generalised protein list which will serve as a good guide:
175g/6 oz steak provides 42g protein
100g/3.5 oz smallish hamburger provides 25g protein
28g/1 oz most sliced roasted cuts of meat provide 7g protein
PORK AND LAMB
An average pork/lamb chop, with about 75g/3 oz meat provides 21g protein
A 115g/4 oz pork loin or steak provides about 28g protein
Minced pork/ground pork provides about 5g protein per 25g/1 oz
100g/3.5 oz ham provides about 22g protein
100g/3.5 oz chicken breast will provide about 28 g protein
An average chicken thigh will provide about 10g protein
An average chicken drumstick will provide about 11g protein
An average chicken wing will provide about 6g protein
100g/4 oz cooked roast chicken will provide about 35g protein
100g/3.5 oz of most fish fillets or steaks provide about 22g protein
175g/6 oz canned tuna or salmon provides about 40g protein
25g/1 oz most cooked fish provides about 6g protein
BEANS, LENTILS AND SPLIT PEAS
Most beans (like black, cannellini, kidney, blackeye, butter, aduki, flageolet etc) provide about 7g protein per 50g/2 oz cooked beans
50g/2 oz cooked soya beans provide about 14g protein
50g/2 oz cooked split peas and lentils provide about 8g protein
Soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert and Mozarella provide about 6g protein per 25g/ 1 oz
A 113-g carton/1/2 cup cottage cheese provides about 15g protein
Medium cheeses like Cheddar and Swiss cheese provide about 7g protein per 25g/1 oz
Hard cheeses like Parmesan provide about 10 g protein per 25g/1 oz
50g/1/4 cup peanuts supplies 9g protein
25g/1/4 cup walnuts or pecans supplies about 2.5 g protein
2tbsp peanut butter supplies 8 g protein
1 large egg supplies 6 g protein
1 large egg white supplies 3.6 g protein
175 ml/1 cup yogurt provides about 8-12g protein (check the label)
175ml/1 cup cow’s milk provides 8g protein
175ml/1 cup soya milk provides 6-10g protein
25g/1 oz tofu provides about 2.5g protein
Images courtesy of Waitrose, where more than 5,000 recipes can be viewed at www.waitrose.com