Hello Everyone! In talking with many of you in class, one thing that I often hear is that you need suggestions on different things to eat. Many times when our Instructors are finished teaching a class, they will encourage you to drink all of your water and make sure that you nourish your body with plenty of protein. First and foremost, it is super important to drink plenty of water to help keep your metabolism moving along. Second, the protein is an excellent way to build lean muscle. Lean muscle on your body will ultimately help you burn more calories. More calories burned?…I don’t know about you….but I’m in!!

I think that we would all agree that it is very easy to select a carb to eat because they are EVERYWHERE! Many of our carbs consist of crackers, bread, potatoes, pretzels, popcorn, rice, noodles, and much more. However, when it comes to selecting proteins that is where things get tricky. So in an effort to help inspire you, I went back into my food log and am going to give you some ideas of proteins that I eat and have incorporated into my diet.

1) SHRIMP!! – Buy a big bag of the frozen pre-cooked shrimp that you can keep in your freezer. Take out a serving, place them in a Ziploc bag, and take them as a snack with a handful of crackers or pretzels! One serving of shrimp only has about 60 calories, but has about 13 grams of protein!! Or….take the shrimp, place them in a Ziploc steamer bag and steam them in the microwave for about a minute … they are a warm treat to incorporate into your lunch!

2) Cottage Cheese – an oldie but a goodie! A ½ cup of cottage cheese has about 15 grams of protein. For lunch, try topping your baked potato with cottage cheese and steamed broccoli….it’s delicious!

3) Tuna – you can buy regular tuna in a can, which is great for making a tuna fish sandwich. Try making your tuna fish sandwich on a pannini maker!! Or…..StarKist makes a Tomato Pesto flavored tuna in a pouch. You can eat the whole pouch for 140 calories….it is awesome….one of my favorites.

4) Turkey Tenderloin – this can be bought in the meat section at most grocery stores. I found that the best deal is at Sam’s Club. They come in a 2 pack and you can just cut the package into 2 and then freeze them. This is great to throw on the grill! My favorite way to make this is to take the frozen turkey loin directly out of the freezer, throw it in a crock pot of about ¾ cup of water, and come home 7-8 hours later with a turkey tenderloin completely done!! The turkey tenderloin only has 1 gram of fat per serving and packs a punch with about 22 grams of protein. These come in different flavors as well. Sometimes I will shred the meat when I take it out of the slow cooker and then we use it in tacos or fajitas.

5) Turkey Bites – ok….so if you don’t know about turkey bites….this is a great tip….especially for Packer season. Next to the regular beef sticks or cut up snack beef bites, are these great little snacks….turkey bites. Going to a Packer Party? Arrange a tray with a bag of turkey bites (no one will no the difference – they’re that good), cut up pieces of reduced fat string cheese, & add shrimp! Now you have a platter of protein and an excellent option for yourself while enjoying the game with friends and family!

6) Turkey Burgers – One of my husband’s favorites. Grill your turkey burgers or cook them in a frying pan….it makes no difference. The Jennie-O turkey burgers have 23 grams of protein in one patty. I buy the fresh patties because they have less sodium…just an FYI. So….make the burger, top it with a couple fresh mushrooms and a slice of fat free cheese, place it on a Village Hearth light wheat bun (17 grams of carbs), and you have yourself a awesome burger!

7) Chicken – How about taking a package of chicken out of your freezer, placing it in a crock pot with 1 cup of water and some seasonings of choice, letting it cook until tender and then shredding it to enjoy throughout the week? Pretty inexpensive….you can use it as meat on your sandwich, make chicken tacos, put it on a bed of salad greens, etc…. Make and prepare ahead… won’t cheat if you have things on hand.

8) Fish – any kind! How about Cod, Haddock, Orange Roughy, or Tilapia? All of these are loaded with protein and little to no fat! My favorite way to make this type of fish is to lightly spray a cookie sheet with Pam, place fish on pan, squirt fresh lemon on fish, sprinkle with favorite seasonings, top with one very quick spray of Pam, and bake at 400 degrees until flaky (usually about 10-12 minutes). YUM!

9) Egg Whites or Egg beaters – It is important to get your protein in the morning and what a better way than eggs. I prefer Egg beaters….simple and I like the taste. However, you can have 5-7 egg whites as well. Don’t eat the yolk….one yolk has about 6 grams of fat! Ugh! Here’s an idea: Cook your egg beaters or egg whites, place them on a low carb tortilla, top with a pinch of reduced fat or fat free cheese and a spoonful of salsa! You now have a yummy breakfast burrito!

OK….so now I just gave you 9 new things to try! Next time that you go to the grocery store, allow yourself a few extra minutes so that you have time to shop around the store and find some NEW items for yourself. Check out the frozen fish aisle at Woodman’s…they have a ton to choose from and most of the packages have the nutritional value on the back, which makes meal planning very easy! If you have questions or would like more tips, please comment below and I will be happy to answer your questions!

Make it your best day ever!

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