Protein Power

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Did my post title remind anyone else of Punky Power?!? I totally said it that way in my head! 😀

punkysplash

Ok, maybe I’m weird.

Snack

I’m trying to amp-up my protein intake with the hope of satisfying my out-of-control sugar cravings. A lot of people left comments and emailed me to say that eating more protein (and fat) helped them combat their nasty cravings, so I’m giving it a try!

Mid-morning, I snacked on a couple of handfuls of honey roasted peanuts.

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My Registered Dietitian friend, Rachel, also said the same thing about protein and sugar cravings. She recommends including a lean protein with all of your meals. Rachel says the average women needs about 50 to 60g of protein per day. 

Here are a bunch of the protein counts that she shared with me:

  • Chicken/fish: 3 oz = 25g protein
  • Beans (including soy): 1/2 cup = 8g protein
  • Hummus: 1/4 cup = 8g protein
  • Firm Tofu: 2oz = 9g protein
  • Tempeh: 1.5 oz = 10g
  • Silken tofu: 3oz = 5g
  • 8 oz low fat milk = 7g
  • 6 oz low fat yogurt = 6g (greek yogurt has up to 13g per 6oz)
  • 1 oz cheese = 7g
  • 1 egg = 8g
  • Nuts: 1/4 cup = 7 to 11g depending on the nut or seed
  • 2 Tbsp nut butter = about 7g depending on the nut

Adding protein to each meal and snack helps you to not only meet your protein needs through the day, but also to slow down how fast your blood sugar rises and to help keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Lunch

For lunch, I looked to tofu for some satisfying protein.

(That crazy contraption in the photo below is a Tofu Press. You can also remove the water using the dishtowel method. Both work well.)

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After pressing the water from the tofu, I sliced it, added some buffalo sauce, and baked it in the oven on 475*F until the edges started to brown.

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Then, I made an open-faced buffalo tofu sandwich using two slices of whole wheat bread.

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On the side, I had some roasted brussels sprouts.

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Another clementine.

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And two Lindor chocolate balls. I thought one would do the trick, but I went back for a second one.

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A little while later, my sweet tooth kicked in really hard (maybe I shouldn’t have had that second chocolate ball?), so I made myself a mug of Eggnogg’n tea with a splash of soy milk.

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The tea sort of satisfied my sugar craving, but not well enough. I ended up eating a small piece of fruit cake along with it, which worked, but I think just waiting until my stomach and brain registered lunch made the difference. The tea helped slow me down a bit, too. Maybe sweet tea is the answer? Hmm?

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What are your favorite sources of protein? I’m looking for ideas!

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148 Comments

  1. I try to get protein in every time I have a fruit or something else sugary. I find even though an apple will be satisfying in the moment (or a piece of chocolate) eventually I’m only hungrier and want more. But if I have an apple with a handful of nuts its the perfect balance and the protein helps keep me full.

  2. i’m all for chicken, turkey, and lean beef…but low-sugar yogurt is also great! i’m also thinking of trying protein powder, but am going to have to get some recommendations on that one. the only one i’ve tried is hemp protein, which i didn’t love. any thoughts? 🙂

  3. Sometimes just saying no to sugar cravings is the best thing to do. I know when I give in to sugar cravings it can lead to more sweets than I originally planned on.

    1. I’m the same way. Once I start binging on sugar, I’m pretty unstoppable.
      I have to make sure to cut way back on eating sugar so that my tastebuds adapt to eating less of it and start craving savoury foods instead.

      This usually helps cut down on my cravings.

  4. I love my tofu press…it makes tofu nice and dense which for me is the best way!

    That egg noggin tea I’ve seen it but have never tried it…now i want to!

    I think tofu, beans, nuts, seeds and every now and then protein powders are my go-to protein sources.

    And oh, I used to LOVE Punky Brewster!!! 🙂

  5. Oh man, if I keep eating tofu, I need a tofu press! I just signed up to do a Nasoya “eat tofu once a week for a month” challenge. I’m excited to broaden my recipe index!

    And I had two Lindt truffles after lunch today too 🙂 White chocolate, my fav.

    I’ve actually heard that people in America tend to get well over the recommended amount of protein, which is interesting to me. I assume it’s all the dairy we eat.

  6. You might want to stay away from the honey roasted nuts, as they usually are just coated in sugar (honey, same thing). Cottage cheese and Siggi’s Icelandic yogurt (17 gr) are both really great. I also buy egg whites or egg beaters for extra protein. Egg yolks are totally fine, but if you are looking to get protein, you get more bang for your caloric buck with egg whites.

    1. I thought the same thing! Getting rid of a sugar craving by eating nuts coated in…sugar? Tina – you are one lean, mean, sugar eatin machine!

      1. I agree! Those are SWEET nuts?!?! Also, what about if you started drinking your coffee black in the morning instead of with soy? If I want to eat a little cleaner I always try and drink my coffee black for a few days because it definitely reduces the (mental) craving for sweet, creamy, foods and makes me more willing to reach for bitter/savory flavors

    2. i’d recommend actually using a whole egg and then adding some egg whites to is– while the protein is super helpful in avoiding cravings (and very healthy for you!), I always find that I need some good FAT, too! It’s usually the fat that keeps me sated, and protein that really keeps me healthy!

  7. I love lean beef for when I feel I need more protein, but having a filet mignon every day could get really pricey. Also, loving the punky brewster reference. How sweet was her bedroom? I was always jealous.

  8. Love the Punky, er, Protein Power! 🙂

    I love to buy chicken tenderloins, marinate them in Frank’s hot sauce, and bake them. I usually have them on salads with cucumbers, more hot sauce, and greek yogurt for “dressing.” YUMMY!

  9. I’ve been adding garbanzo beans to just about every salad I eat lately. I also make really strong coffee so I can do an at-home Misto with half milk, half coffee in the morning.

    Eggs are definitely my favorite protein. Two in the morning keeps me full forever! Or make stratta for dinner with leftover bread, meat and/or veggies.

  10. Legumes, sardines, grilled salmon, tofu, tempeh, raw nuts and raw nut butters are my favorite sources of protein. For me, breaking the sugar cycle required a switch to a low-glycemic diet, but almost two years later I am really glad I made the switch. I still eat carbs and I still eat dessert, but I really don’t get dessert cravings very often, and usually dark chocolate takes care of it (I need more than one square though). For me the issue is more when I start eating desserts, I still have satiety issues once I start, depending on what it is, but I have come a long way from times where I was like “I must have a Starbucks chai NOW” or “I cannot stop thinking about having a piece of chocolate.”

    1. ooh yes, I forgot about nutritional yeast! and hummus too. One of my favorite tricks when I get any suggestion of a sugar craving is steamed or raw kale topped with nutritional yeast, tahini or hummus, lemon and salt.

  11. I know it is really hard to kick the habit. Adding more protein and fat is a very good idea. If you are eating nuts, try going for the the raw or roasted and salted variety. The ones with sugar will only result in craving more sugar.

    Also like you had chocolate after lunch. You should save your sweet treat for after dinner time, then maybe by the time dinner comes you decided you don’t want the sweet treat. It is a struggle and it just getting your body into the groove of things. I know when I’m trying to kick the constant sugar craving habit, I look for whole grain crackers, whole grain bread or pretzels with a tablespoon of almond butter to get me through it, and it works!

    Do you like coconut? I love toasting up a good piece of bread, then smearing a little butter on it. I’ll add coconut and cinnamon, it is delicious and satisfying. That is another little trick I enjoy.

  12. I was a vegetarian for 12 years. I didn’t eat meat for a lot of reasons–animal rights, the “ick” factor of touching raw meat…

    Then I started running. After 12 years of not eating meat I suddenly craved STEAK. A big, juicy steak. OH MY GOD. I am now a full-fledged meat eater again and I eat it ALL.

    So to answer your question, when I crave protein, I eat meat. 🙂

  13. For me, giving myself small treats to try to satisfy my sugar cravings just doesn’t work… it just makes me crave more… and once I’ve had a little it’s hard to say no to more. I found that by just saying no to the cravings for a few days they almost completely went away. It was rough, but worth it. My go to snacks for fat or protein are avacados (sprinkled with salt/pepper), hard boiled egg, roasted nuts, peppers dipped in hummus, spoonful of nut butter, cheese, and Greek yogurt with berries.

  14. Almonds. And when I’m craving something chocolatey I have some of the cocoa roasted ones from Blue Diamond. They’re sweet, crunchy, and they have enough fat and protein to satisfy me.

  15. Definitely Tuna straight out of the can…or with mixings. That or greek yogurt. I like chobani the best but fage is a close second. If you’re looking for ultra high protien…pair yogurt with trailmix. It works for hours

  16. Oooh, I wasn’t aware of the Eggnog tea! I might have to try that…I love yummy flavored teas.
    I am struggling with the sugar problem in an odd way. Whenever I go through a withdrawal, I wake up in the middle of the night craving sweets really bad. Then I just stumble into the kitchen and half-consciously eat whatever I can find that’s satisfying. Not. Good.
    Anyway, I add a little soy protein into smoothies and oatmeal. I’m also a big fan of Old Wisconsin turkey sausage snacks. Wayyyy better for me than their beef counterparts, and very satisfying! Zone Perfect now makes a cookie dough line that’s soooooo good. Not an ideal source of protein, but walks the line well enough for a sweets craving!

  17. Beans beans the musical fruit! I love beans. I also love quinoa. Eggs are a huge source of protein for me too. I have started loving on nutritional yeast lately after a bad experience years ago. The tofu looks so good…sadly I can’t have that any more.

  18. I really love shrimp, salmon, and Greek yogurt. I am having trouble with my sweet tooth too. It’s been raging since last week, so I feel your pain.

    P.S. LOVE the new look! 🙂

  19. I am surprised at how much sugar you eat even when you aren’t aware of it. I recently started a low-glycemic diet and it is amazing to me how much of our daily products contain sugar. Try reading labels to find foods that don’t contain sugar (sugar can be found in tomato sauce, peanut butter, crackers, bread, yogurts, etc). I find that I now select foods by buying things that are sugar-free. It’s the little changes that can make a huge difference. Instead of sweetening things with honey or agave nectar try cinnamon. It works.

    Also, I find that if you can make it a week without sugar (cold turkey) your craving for it will be cut significantly. When I crave sugar, I have a slice of ham or turkey or a piece of cheese with an apple. I hardly ever see you have meat in your salads … try adding salmon or chicken … easy and also super affordable. You can kick the habit.

    1. I agree with Sara. Go a week sugar free. I recently did this (for two weeks) and it’s amazing how quickly your cravings die. I am the.biggest.sugar.addict and I NEVER thought I would be able to go sugar free, but now that I have, it’s amazing. I have added back in desserts, but I want less, and now I find that I can eat a reasonable amount. I also cut out refined carbs at the same time…and I think it helped.

        1. I never thought I could do it either, and for me…learning to manage my cravings meant not giving in to my bodies “sugar tantrums.” But that was what worked for me. Please know that I think you should do whatever is best for you. I hope that I didn’t offend you with my comment.

  20. I am trying to kick the sugar cravings as well and usually turn to sugar-free Oregon Chai Mix or Sugar-Free Swiss Miss to help satisfy. They are still sweets but at least they are a little bit longer lasting than a piece of candy and fill you up a bit more. I usually add a little soy milk to make it extra creamy.

    I noticed the protein thing as well. I usually have Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese Sticks on hand when I am really craving something bad for me. Super delicious and handy. Good luck!

  21. Sugar on peanuts…..nope. Just eat the peanuts plain. Also, nuts, vegetables and dairy have carbohydrates in them as well and you will get most of what you need from them and the complex carbohydrates you eat in the form of oats or high grain breads.

    If you feel snacky for sugar, eat a handful of almonds or a cup of yogurt instead. After a couple days your body will be “sugar free” and you will experience fewer cravings.

    Good luck!

  22. I love Punky! Awesome shout out!

    I also love the new look of your blog. It is very you which is a very good thing. 🙂

  23. I struggle with eating enough protein. I add protein drinks at the end of the day if I have not eaten the correct amount. This works great in the summertime. I also have HB eggs. TJ has a bag of pre-peeled HB eggs for when I get lazy. Cottage cheese is also a good choice.

  24. I always go for greek yogurt when I had a sugar craving. I LOVE the greek god’s Vanilla, cinnamon and orange. (http://greekgodsyogurt.com/html/yvanilla.php) It has a great source of protein and some good fats plus it is sugar but not a huge amount. Otherwise I also love trail mix to do the same thing. i often try and get a kind that has almonds and chocolate in it. so you get a little chocolate and a lot of protein. good luck!

  25. I love the look of the new site! I also have trouble getting enough protein, especially since I’m not a big meat-eater (I eat meat maybe once a week .. just don’t like it much!). I end up eating a lot of eggs (well, just one a day) and nuts. Quinoa is also a complete protein, so it’s a good grain to use as a base for your meal. I’ve also been trying to conquer some serious sugar cravings, and it’s hard!

  26. Eggs are my saving grace! If I start my day off with 3 eggs, I will stay satisfied for 5 hours or more. I love oatmeal too, but it usually only holds me over 3 hours. Try having a few eggs in the morning and see if that derails your cravings in the midmorning/early afternoon.

  27. Balanced meal ideas:

    Breakfast:
    Oatmeal Pancakes For One (can double)
    -1/3 cup oatmeal
    -1/3 cup egg whites
    -1/2 tsp baking powder
    -1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    -Cinnamon to taste
    top with 1 T nut butter

    Lunch:
    Chicken teriyaki bowl:
    -3 ounces baked chicken, cut into small pieces
    -1 cup steamed broccoli
    -1/3 cup cooked brown rice
    -2T peanuts
    -splash of low sodium teriyaki sauce

    Snack:
    1/2c lowfat cottage cheese or greek yogurt
    1 small or 1/2 large sweet potato, cooked
    sprinkle of cinnamon

    Dinner:
    Spaghetti squash with meatballs
    -cooked spaghetti squash
    -cooked turkey meatballs
    -tomato sauce
    -sprinkle of parmesan cheese and drizzle of olive oil

    Dessert:
    small glass of wine, 2 ounces favorite cheese

  28. Something that helps satisfy my sweet tooth is hot chocolate! I make it with low-fat milk to get a calcium/protein boost. It is chocolaty, relatively low cal/fat (no butter!) and because it is hot, it takes me a long time to drink it, increasing my satisfaction!

  29. Though it does have sugar, I love adding a scoop of protein powder to my quick oats in the morning (made with unsweetened almond milk, a splash of maple syrup and cinnamon). It makes it taste like warm rice pudding and keeps me {very} full until lunchtime!

  30. i know it’s really, REALLY, *REALLY* hard, but sometimes you just have to say NO to your cravings. It can be more difficult than words can describe and almost a physical NEED to reach for another piece of x or y, but try making a list of things that you can either eat (celery with PB, tea, chug 2 glasses of water) or do (take up knitting, go for a walk, clean the toilet) to actively avoid that extra sweet.
    9 out of 10 times if you wait 10 minutes, your craving will subside. That 1 time it doesn’t, sure- go have fulfill it!

    1. oh, also as i stated above, add FAT to your foods! Try adding real butter to your toast next time and maybe half-and-half to your coffee (unless you go dairy free). I promise it’ll keep your more satisfied!

  31. Hi Tina,
    i love using ‘vega to go’ protein powder (the chocolate is my fave . . . and this brand is good for me b/c im gluten/soy intolerant) to make smoothies, i usually add in unsweetened almond milk, pumpkin, banana, blueberries, avocado, spinach, cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds – all blended with ice. it is so delicious and it does feel like your eating a dessert, but its filling and so good for you!!

  32. i love my tofu press – i use it to squeeze out spinach as well! i think chicken breast may be my favorite protein, i’m boring. or salmon? tasty. but since my husband’s vegetarian i end up eating a lot of lentils, beans, and eggs instead. oh, and soleil moon frye owns a store near where i live so i see her all the time – punky all grown up!

  33. Try adding protein powder to things like smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, pancake batter, cookie dough, etc. You can use less sugar since it’s already sweetened!

  34. Yumm! I am also trying to amp up my protein intake (as per the suggestion of my trainer) and have been trying to incorporate just as much non-meat protein as meat protein. One advantage is that it’s usually cheaper, but the drawback is that veggie protein is usually less-protein dense. Lately I’ve been experimenting with tofu marinades (I did a teriyaki one a while ago – http://eatspinrunrepeat.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/kitchen-how-to-teriyaki-baked-tofu/), which I soak the tofu in, then bake in the oven. I made a sweet chili glazed one last night which is amazing and I’ll post the recipe soon! Other favourite sources for me are edamame, protein powders (low-sugar ones), fish (I’m a salmon and tuna – a-holic!) and of course, chicken.

  35. I’m just curious about something. It appears as though your physique is aesthetically what any women would want and it appears as though your daily diet is pretty healthy (high in veggies and fruit) and non-restrictive even including beer and sugary treats. So why try and fix something that doesn’t appear to be broken?

      1. yes I did …I get it now. Good luck with everything, I am going to try and cut down on sugar too very soon. I was doing great but now I’m back to being addicted to a Pepsi a day since the holidays!!

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