Over the past few months I have become more and more aware of how the types of calories you eat influences your success with weight loss. I explained some of the evidence for this in a prior post (Maybe a Calorie Isn’t Just a Calorie). This doesn’t change the fundamental fact of the laws of thermodynamics. It is still true that calories in and calories out determines your weight. It just appears that the composition of the calories in influences calories out.
With that in mind, I have done a bit of research on my own diet. I wanted to see the makeup of my intake. I use the awesome app/website called myfitnesspal which is a very easy to use calorie counting app (more on calorie counting here). One of the nice things about the app is that it tells you what percentage of your diet comes from carbs, protein, and fat. After checking out a few days of data, I noticed that I was getting about 60% of my calorie intake from carbs and only about 20% from fat and protein. This is not the ideal or recommended balance. Fat and protein make you feel more full than carbs do. It would stand to reason that if I was eating more carbs, I would feel less full. So I set out to increase my protein intake. I was looking for high protein foods low carb foods that could tip the scale away from being so carb heavy.
It turns out that finding foods of this makeup is a bit difficult. It’s hard to increase your protein intake without a concomitant increase in carbs as well. I did some research and decided to share some of things that I found. I’m here for you (you’ll thank me later). Since this list is catered to my personal preferences, I should give you the caveat that I am not a cook. I hate cooking. The most cooking I’ll do is making microwave popcorn (yes I consider that cooking). So this list will be comprised of things that are very easy to buy or prepare. There are certainly other foods that will tip your protein balance that require more culinary talents. I will leave those to my wife’s blog (if she ever wants to make one).
1. Hard boiled egg whites. This one violates my no cooking rule, but I’m able to get it done with parental guidance (my wife makes sure I don’t hurt myself or blow up the kitchen). I hard boil a bunch of eggs and eat only the whites with a drop of salt or other seasoning. This is number one on the list because it is essentially a pure protein snack. Each egg white has 4 grams of protein with a negligible amount of carbs or fat and only 17 calories. I had seven last night for a 117 calorie, 28 gram protein snack. To put that in perspective, a “high-protein” bar has up to 20 calories of protein but will have more than twice as many calories.
2. Greek yogurt. I’m not a huge yogurt fan but I had a Chobani pineapple yogurt yesterday and it wasn’t bad. I also had taken in 60% of my calories from carbs so I needed help.
It had a healthy 160 calories but packed in 13 grams of protein relative to 18 grams of carbs which is not a terrible balance. It had very low fat as well.
3. Cottage Cheese. Full disclosure, I don’t eat cottage cheese. I find it hard to eat something in a can that would make me heave if it happened in my milk jug. With that said, I’m considering changing my tune because 1 cup of cottage cheese has 28 grams of protein and only 163 calories. I’ll just have to hold my nose and chug it.
4. Nuts. Nuts are a good source of protein relative to carbs. You have to be careful with the calories, though. They generally have a lot of unsaturated fats (better than saturated fat for your risk of heart disease). Relieve yourself of the “fat is the root of all evil” brainwashing you’ve undergone. That’s nuts! Actually it’s not nuts, its donuts! Maybe we should change the colloquialism.
5. Chicken breast. This requires cooking too, but thanks to my favorite indoor skittle selling professional boxer (pictured above), I can handle this. I need to have my wife sprinkle some spices on it but one chicken breast has 42 grams of protein in 246 calories. My biceps grew a little just thinking about it.
6. Protein bars. I think these are especially important early in the day. Most breakfast foods are pure carbs. The problem with this is that the don’t make you feel full. You’ll end up starving come 10:30. That makes you prone to snack on the donuts in the coffee room at work or snatch a few of the Hershey’s Kisses from the secretary’s desk. It will also make you scarf down your lunch or pick the wrong things at the food court. A high protein snack early on can stave off the cravings and help you make the right choices come lunchtime.
7. Protein powder. These are not just for weight lifters. They can be made into a protein shake or sprinkled on your cereal. They are a good way to tip the balance.
The above foods are what you want to reach for if you’re hungry for a snack. Those are the danger times. The world around us is overrun with high carb, high fat, low protein foods. These are death to successful weight loss. They pack in the calories without making you feel full. If you stick with the snacks above it will hold you over to the next meal. The list above is by no means comprehensive so do some research on your own and let me know some of the things you find. We need to spread the education on weight loss so please forward the information from this blog to anyone and everyone you can think of. We’re fighting so much misinformation out there that we have to go superviral to make a difference. Thanks!