GUEST POST: The top 5 foods that patients mistake for being high in protein…
Although many of the foods listed below sound like they should be high in protein, surprisingly they are not! Which ones have fooled you?
- Hummus. Despite being made from chickpeas, the average store bought hummus has only 1 gram of protein per tablespoon.
→ Instead, opt for homemade hummus, homemade black bean dip or homemade Tzatziki (made with Greek yogurt) as dips for your veggies. All of these dips are significantly higher in protein when made at home compared to their store-bought counterparts.
Hummus, Guacamole and Tzatziki (recipes here)
- Chicken broth. Surprisingly, the average store bought chicken broth has only 1-3 grams of protein per cup. For this reason, your bariatric team likely recommended you choose higher protein soups immediately after surgery (for example, milk based soups or puréed legume/bean and lentil soups).
→ Instead, opt for more filling thicker soups, such as a curried lentil soup, a roasted red pepper black bean soup or a hearty chilli.
Bramley and Lentil Soup (recipe here)
Mixed Bean Chilli (recipe here)
- Cream cheese. Despite ‘cheese’ being in its name, the average store bought cream cheese has only 1 gram of protein per tablespoon.
→ Instead, opt for ricotta cheese (with a sprinkle of sunflower seeds and a drizzle of honey!) or peanut butter on your morning toast.
- Quinoa. Quinoa is a filling grain product not because of its protein content, but more because of its fibre content. While quinoa is the only grain listed as a ‘complete’ protein, it only has 2 grams of protein per 40 g/¼ cup of cooked quinoa.
→ Always top your quinoa with a true protein source such as meat, fish, legumes, tofu or tempeh to make your meal truly balanced. Quinoa should not be the main event!
Turkey and Quinoa Kebabs (recipe here)
BBQ Prawns/Shrimp with Quinoa and Tenderstem Salad (recipe here)
- Almond/Cashew/Rice/Coconut milk. Despite these beverages having ‘milk’ in their name, these alternative milks contain on average a measly 1 gram of protein per cup. If you’re lactose-intolerant (see here) then they may be your only option but if not …
→ Instead, opt for cow milk or soy milk when you are looking to add an extra splash of protein to your cereals, oatmeal or smoothies.
Moral of the story?
Don’t let misleading product names or sneaky advertising fool you! Get the facts. Always double check the nutrition facts tables on the back of your foods.
Feature courtesy of Monica Bashaw, MScA, PDt/RD & Lisa Kaouk, MPH, PDt/RD
Bariatric Surgery Nutrition – www.bariatricsurgerynutrition.com