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This month, EasiYo guest blogger, NZ registered Dietitian and professional Netballer Jess Moulds discusses why protein is so important in a healthy diet, with guidance on how much to consume each day.
I’ve always loved the convenience of EasiYo Yogurt as you can make fresh yogurt whenever you choose without using a new plastic container every time, and it’s packed with billions of live cultures. I usually have a Greek Style and a Natural Unsweetened tub on rotation each week, but the newly released Protein Yogurt has genuinely got me excited. Many of you will know protein is important for health but may not know why and how much to consume each day?
Protein is a structural molecule made up of amino acids, many of which your body can’t produce on its own so must come from our food. These are called essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are predominantly found in animal-based foods such as meat, fish, seafood, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt and are called complete proteins. Most plant-based proteins are incomplete, which means they are missing at least one of the essential amino acids, with the exception of a few plant-based foods such as quinoa and buckwheat. This means you need to combine plant-based proteins to get all of these amino acids. Essential amino acids help the body to grow and repair as well as provide a source of energy, so it is super important we get enough protein every day.
The recommended daily protein intake is 0.8g protein per kilogram of body weight which is about 50g per day for the average adult. This is a good starting point, however the amount of protein an individual needs depends on a number of different factors such as activity level, age, muscle mass, physique goals, pregnancy and current state of health so some people may need more. It’s important to note there is an upper limit to how much protein your body needs. Just like carbohydrate and fat, too much protein will be stored in the body as fat so loading up on massive amounts is unnecessary.
Here are a few examples:
135g beef steak = 38.2g protein
200g of EasiYo Protein Yogurt = 17g of protein (1/3 of your daily protein requirements*)
200g of EasiYo Natural Unsweetened Yogurt = 7.6 grams protein
½ can baked beans in tomato sauce = 10g protein
1 egg = 6g protein
1 slice white bread = 3.1 g protein
1 handful almonds (10 almonds) = 2.5g protein
We generally eat a large portion of our daily protein with our evening meal but ideally, we would spread this intake more evenly through the day. This has been shown to be more effective at preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue, which is important as we age. Another great benefit of spreading out your daily protein intake is it can help stabilise your blood sugar levels and leave you feeling satisfied for longer after a meal.
Enjoying a serve of protein with your breakfast is a great place to start. I alternate between something egg or yogurt based in the morning to make sure I get that protein in. Now that the warmer weather is upon us (yay), I am back into making Bircher muesli which is like the Summer alternative to porridge. Using the new EasiYo Protein Yogurt has added nearly 10g of protein to my breakfast and as a busy mum, I find this keeps me going for a few hours. It’s also a great option for those who exercise in the morning as you can make it the night before and take it on the go.
Here’s my go to Bircher muesli recipe. Use this as a base but play around with different ingredients to find your favourite combo.
Combine all ingredients in a takeaway container and allow to soak overnight or for 2-3 hours. You can also make a large batch and it will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
*33% Daily Intake based on an average adult diet of 8700kg and 50g protein
Jess Moulds is a NZ registered Dietitian, and new mum of 4 month old Marley. Jess runs her own private practice, Relish Nutrition (www.relishnutrition.co.nz) and sees clients for a range of different health issues as well as runs nutrition seminars and talks throughout the country. Jess is also a professional Netball player having played for the Northern Mystics and Mainland Tactix, so she understands what it is like to juggle a busy lifestyle!
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