Healthy Cook: How do I eat my protein? Let me count the ways

“Make sure you get enough protein. Eat your meat. You need a lot of protein,” Mom harped.
We do need protein. We need a lot of different nutrients to keep our body machines humming along nicely. Protein is just one of them. And it’s easy to get.
Experts in Washington decree how much nutrients we need. They decided an average female needs 46 grams of protein a day. An average man should have 56 grams. Children’s needs go from 9 to 52 grams, depending on age. Pregnant or lactating women should have 71 grams of protein.
One ounce by weight (as opposed to liquid measure) equals 28 grams. So an adult needs, roughly, 2 ounces. Getting that every day is a piece of cake. An average slice of orange cake from a mix has 3 grams of protein and there are 12 slices to a cake. A full grown man can get almost all the protein he needs from one and a half cakes. But that’s not a great idea because – even without icing – it works out to 4,500 calories. Calories are another article.
Let’s start with breakfast. How about a poached egg on a slice of toast? The egg has seven grams of protein. The toast (Nature’s Own Whole Wheat Bread for example) has four grams. An average banana has one gram. A cup of two percent milk contains eight grams. That’s 20 grams. A woman is almost half way to her minimum and a man is a third of the way there.
Milk and milk products are interesting. The lower the fat level, the more protein you get. That’s because fat takes up space. A cup of full-fat yogurt has eight grams of protein. A cup made from skim milk contains 13 grams.
Mid-morning is time for a snack. Six Triscuits have three grams and two tablespoons of peanut butter have eight grams. That’s 11 grams. Or 31 so far and we’re only half way to lunch.
Holy cow, that’s a lot. Speaking of cow, three ounces of lean beef has 25 grams of protein.
Lunch is time to head to the refrigerator for a quick turkey sandwich. One serving of turkey (3.5 ounces) averages about 17 grams. Add another four grams for the whole wheat breed. A small chunk of Cheddar cheese, just an ounce, has seven grams. A half-cup of baked beans has six grams. Most canned beans have six to eight grams or so. Lunch works out to 34 grams. We’re up to 65 grams of protein.
You need a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Two Reece’s Peanut Butter cups have 4 grams but a bunch of calories. An ounce of peanuts has seven grams. Let’s go with the peanuts for a total of 72 grams.
Dinner at last. How about a pork chop? A 3-ounce chop has 24 grams of protein. Simmer it in a half-cup of spaghetti sauce (two grams) and serve that with whole wheat pasta (seven grams). Two tablespoons of blue cheese dressing on a salad is worth two grams. That old standby, Jell-O has about three grams for a cup. That’s 38 grams, making the total for the day so far 110 grams.
And we still have an evening snack to go. A quarter cup of raisins provides one gram. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds has six grams. That’s only seven grams for a daily total of 117 grams of protein.
That was easy. Be a label-reader. Check the back of the box, bottle or can for the protein content.
Oh, just in case you didn’t know, one tablespoon of Roman off whitefish caviar has three grams of protein.
story by TRENT ROWE, Food Editor

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