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Getting Your 30-30-30
Written by February 4, 2010

Rachel Huber, MPH, RD

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

Tags
amino acids
calorie balance
protein
vegetarian
weight management
Getting Your 30-30-30

In last week’s blog we introduced you to the concept that eating 30 grams of protein at each meal might be a good way to help you manage your weight.  If you haven’t read the blog, check it out and come back here to learn how you can easily get your 30-30-30, even if you are a vegetarian.

Where’s the Protein?
Protein is found in all food groups.  But as you can see from the table below, meat, poultry, fish, milk products, and nuts, seeds, and legumes are the best sources.  

Food Group

 

Grams of Protein

Meat, Poultry, Fish   

    3 ounce cooked lean hamburger   

    1 turkey hot dog   

    3 ounce cooked chicken breast   

    3 ounce cooked salmon 

22

6

26

19

Milk and Milk Products   

    1 cup nonfat milk                                

    1 cup nonfat yogurt   

    ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese   

    1 ounce cheddar cheese 

8

13

15

7

Whole Grains   

    1 slice whole wheat    

    1 cup cooked brown rice   

    1 cup cooked whole wheat pasta  

4

5

7

Fruits    

    1 cup strawberries   

    1 cup cantaloupe melon   

    ¼ cup raisins 

1

1

1

Vegetables   

    2 cups spinach   

    1 cup broccoli   

    1 medium tomato 

2

3

1

Nuts, seeds, legumes   

    ¼ cup peanuts  

    1 cup kidney beans  

    1 cup chickpeas  

    ½ cup tofu  

    ¼ cup sunflower seeds

9

16

12

20

6

Complementing Proteins

Wait a minute.  What if you don’t eat meat?  You can still get plenty of protein from plant sources such as nuts and legumes.  But there is a catch.  You see protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids.  Animal proteins provide all the amino acids in the quantities your body needs.  Plant foods, except for soybeans and soy products, are low in one or more amino acids.  No worries.  You can get enough of all the important amino acids by eating a variety of plant foods (whole grains, cereals, legumes, nuts, and vegetables) each day. 

The table below shows you how easy it is for omnivores and vegan vegetarians (one doesn’t eat any animal products) to get their 30 grams of protein at each meal.  If you are a vegetarian who eats dairy products and eggs, you have many different ways to get adequate protein at every meal.
 

Two Ways to Get your 30 Grams of Protein at Each Meal*

Omnivore** (grams of protein) Vegan Vegetarian (grams of protein)

Breakfast   

    2 eggs (12 )   

    8-ounce glass of skim milk (8)   

    2 slices whole wheat toast (8)   

    ½ cup nonfat milk (4) 

Breakfast    

    1 patty veggie sausage (10 )   

    1 cup soy milk (7)   

    2 slices whole wheat toast (8)   

    2 Tbsp. peanut butter (8)   

Lunch    

    2 slices whole wheat bread (8)   

    3 ounces of turkey breast (14)   

    1 cup nonfat milk (8) 

Lunch   

    2 slices whole wheat bread (8)   

    ¼ cup hummus (8)   

    ¼ cup almonds (8)   

    1 cup soy milk yogurt (6) 

Dinner  

    4 oz. of meat, poultry or fish (28)  

    ½ cup brown rice (2) 

Dinner   

    Veggie stir fry with 1/2 cup tofu (2)   

    1 cup brown rice (4)   

    1 cup soy milk (7)

* These are just the primary protein sources.  Round out a healthy meal with milk, whole-grain, vegetables and fruit.

** eats animal and plant foods


How easy do you think it will be for you to get 30 grams of protein at each meal?  If you already get 90 grams per day, how do you think it helps you with your calorie balance?

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