Tag: protein

A Better Bowl of Cereal

If you like cereal for breakfast or a late night snack, you’re not alone. The most popular varieties I see on food logs are Honey Bunches of Oats, Honey Nut or regular Cheerios, Special K, Chex, Raisin Bran, etc. While these don’t have a ton of sugar it’s certainly true that they’re processed and lack protein and fiber so they break down very fast in the bloodstream as sugar/glucose. All highly processed carbohydrates do that. Luckily, when we use dairy or soy milk we add some protein to the mix, but unfortunately beverages are digested quickly too. Bottom line is that any processed cereal digests quickly and can create a rise in blood sugar and for some a dopamine-induced pleasure response. And for some this can lead to an addictive response and cravings can escalate. This can certainly make it challenging to maintain or lose weight.

There are other reasons cereal can be alluring; we usually have it around and it’s easy. The crunch of cereal before it gets soggy can also be highly rewarding as we seek to chew our way out of the day’s stress.

When confronted with your next bowl of processed flakes, here are some whole food add-ins that can bring you more satiety and nutrition. You’ll likely feel fuller longer and avoid some of the physiological responses that lead to being hungry sooner or craving more. Try swapping half your bowl with the following add-ins:

  • Raw rolled oats (full of fiber and protein)
  •  Dried fruit
  •  Frozen blueberries (keeps the milk cold)
  •  Sliced banana
  •  Sliced almonds or chopped nuts (full of fiber, protein, and healthy fat)

If you’d like to start with a higher protein cereal, try any of the Kashi Go Lean varieties or Special K Protein Plus. (Kashi Go Lean also has added fiber.) I still think the whole food add-ins listed above are better choices as their nutrients take longer to digest and enter the bloodstream.

So, my advice is to experiment with ways to make your cereal less flaky. With half of your bowl as whole food add-ins, you’ve turned your average bowl into a better bowl.

New Year’s Mindset: Mindful Eating vs. Dieting

I am not here to sell you on an approach to eating healthier this New Year. January is a busy month for Nutritionists and I agree it’s a great time to start anew. However, if you’ve tried more than enough dieting approaches before – lower calorie, lower carb, lower fat, higher protein, juicing, detoxes, “eat this but not that” – and you’ve burned out on them and returned to the same challenges around eating yet again – this may be your moment to focus on a different approach: mindful eating.

It can be scary to leave the structure of a diet mentality. We take comfort in numbers, what is good vs. bad and that which can be measured. Mindful eating, on the other hand, doesn’t start with an object to evaluate or deprive. Mindful eating is a process that starts with one simple tool: Curiosity.

Here are two examples that illustrate these two very different approaches:

Situation #1: Afternoon snack hits at work and the chips in the vending machine are calling my name.

Dieter:Chips are my downfall and they don’t have any fiber or protein so I won’t eat them. Fruit, string cheese or yogurt are healthy options.

Mindful Eater: I’m craving chips. If I get up out of my desk chair and take a walk or stairs for 5-10 minutes does that lower the craving? (Crunching helps release some stress hormones just as exercise does.) If not, are there healthier crunchy foods I can have that can satisfy the crunch as well? (Veggies in hummus, snap pea crisps, popcorn, akmak crackers with cheese.)

Bottom-Line Issue: Stress may be playing a part in your craving crunchy foods. Or it may just be a textural preference. Protein/fiber rich crunchy foods are better choices for you than yogurt.

 Situation #2: I have been craving carbs all day today.

Dieter:Fruit and light popcorn are healthy options. Keep focus so I won’t go over my calorie budget.

Mindful Eater: Did I get enough sleep last night? Am I getting some carbs with every meal to give me energy? Did I have protein with all my meals today? Did I eat enough fat today? Am I hydrated?

Bottom-Line Issue: Lack of sleep can cause refined carb cravings during the day. Also, lack of balance in combining carbs, protein and/or fat in meals can cause blood sugar imbalances which lead to cravings. Sometimes we’re hungry when we’re really thirsty.

 As you can see from these examples – starting with curiosity is not an easy approach. But it can lead to graceful experimentation and an end to judging ourselves. Sometimes all we’ll be able to do when we mindfully eat is to be aware as we’re eating that food in which we wish we weren’t. And without the judgment talking we’ll be able to listen in to how our bodies feel afterward. This is progress!

Curiosity creates the space for change. Here’s to more mindful eating and less judgment this New Year.

Dietary Protein: How Much Do I Need?

A lot of clients have come in lately with a bit of confusion on recommended daily protein intake. The most popular myth I hear is that we need to consume our weight (lbs.) in grams of protein. I’ve even seen this all over the internet from some health professionals. The truth is that the original calculation of weight =daily protein grams comes from an equation that measures our weight in kilograms, not pounds. Since one kilogram is roughly two pounds we need to divide our weight (lbs) in half to get our daily protein intake.Weight (lbs.) divided by 2 = grams of daily protein

So, an individual who weighs 160# needs about 80g of protein a day.

If you are obese (BMI >30) this equation is not as accurate. I would recommend you shoot for 20% of your total daily calories from protein. No need to do the calculation yourself as you can enter your intake into an app/website and you’ll be able to click on a pie chart that lists percentages of calories as protein/fat/carbohydrates.

Another important point about meeting your protein needs – our body can only absorb about 30g of protein at a time. So, if your protein needs are higher than 60g per day you need to make sure you’re getting protein at more than just two meals a day. The more you spread it out over the day the better your body can absorb it.

Example: 80g daily need: 10g breakfast; 30g lunch; 10g snack; 30g dinner

So, what are some of the benefits of meeting your daily protein needs?

  1. You’ll feel fuller (protein exits the stomach slowly and so prevents immediate blood sugar drops).
  2. Your immune system will be ready to fight (antibodies are built from protein).
  3. Our muscle mass can be maintained and if we’re doing strength training –they can grow (at night our body will use dietary protein to repair the muscle tears).

Below is a helpful list: what foods have protein and the amounts in grams to help you meet your needs.


Beans/Legumes – 1/2 cup cooked


Kidney beansAdzuki beansLentilsSplit peas 9 g8 g8 g8 g Black beansGarbanzo beansBlack-eyed peasEdamame (soy beans) 7 g7 g6 g13 g

Dairy, Soy & Substitute Products


Cottage cheese, 1cupTofu, firm, 4 ozTempeh, 3 oz

Soy burger, 1 patty, 4 oz

Yogurt, low fat, 6 oz

Soy yogurt, 6 oz

Goat milk, 8 floz

Milk, skim, 8 floz

Milk, 2 %, 8 floz

31 g20 g16 g14 g

6 g

5 g

9 g

8 g

8 g

Greek Style Yogurt, 6 ozCheese, 1 ozSoy cheese, 1 ozMiso paste, 2 Tbsp

Cream cheese, 1 oz

Soy milk, 8 floz

Rice milk, 8 floz

13 g7 g6 g4 g

3 g

6 g

1 g

Grains & Grain Products – 1 cup cooked


QuinoaBarleyAmaranthMillet 8 g6 g6 g6 g RiceBagelOatmealBread, whole wheat, 1 slice 6 g6 g5 g3 g

Meats, Seafood, & Poultry – 3 oz (deck of cards)


Chicken BreastTurkeyTuna, in waterClams

Beef, lean


26 g25 g22 g22 g

22 g

21 g

SalmonPork chopHamFish, white


Egg, 1

20 g19 g18 g17 g

16 g

7 g

Nuts & Seeds – ¼ cup (handful)


Peanuts, dry roastedPumpkin seedsSunflower seeds 9 g9 g9 g AlmondsCashewsPeanut butter, 1 Tbsp 6 g5 g4 g



If you have any questions about meeting your protein intake and/or any other nutrition-related question please email Kathryn at kreed@sacdt.com to schedule a consultation.

How Eating so Much Protein Could be Making Me Fat!

How much protein does one need is a very debatable subject and probably one of the biggest misconceptions within the exercise community. Many people that I have asked how much protein they are consuming tell me about 2 grams per pound of body weight…which is completely wrong. Let me tell you a little bit about protein.

First off where do you think these people are getting the wrong information from? They probably received their misinformed info from the label on the supplement bottle or from a website or friend’s recommendation. Well if we take the first one, why would the unregulated supplement company suggest too much protein? Well if you consume 3 times as much as needed you go through their product 3 times as fast, and have to constantly replace it…helping out their 5 billion dollar yearly supplement revenue. The second thought would be the internet (blogs and/or personal websites) or friends; of which most are going off what they remember hearing from other people who workout and over consume protein. The recommendation is (depending on your activity level) 0.8-1.9 grams of protein per Kilogram (Kg) of body weight. My thought is that people hear this and immediately think it is per lb of body weight. Now if you want to convert it to lbs for all the US people to understand easier it would be this: 1 Kg = 2.2 lbs, so 0.36-0.86 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight…sounds very much different than what you have heard around the gym huh!

Here are some fun facts that science has shown about protein:

  • There has never been any scientific evidence for the body needing or being able to utilize over 2 grams of protein per Kg of body weight.
  • Your body can only absorb about 28 grams of protein at one time
  • Excessive amounts of protein can cause dehydration
  • Excessive protein is either utilized by the muscle or taken to the kidney where it is broken down and converted to fat

Let’s take these last points and follow them as if you took a supplement shake after working out, but decided to double the scoops and consume 56 grams of protein. Since your body can only absorb ~28 grams those excess 28 grams will be absorbed by the small intestines and transported to the liver. In the liver the amine (Nitrogen) will be broken off and excreted in your urine, causing you to become slightly dehydrated. The carbon skeleton will then be converted to pyruvate which in turn is reutilized for aerobic activity’s energy and/or converted to carbs and/or fatty acids and stored as subcutaneous deposits. When all is said and done not only do you end up wasting your money on supplements but you are increasing your fatty acids within your blood…isn’t the point of working out and eating correctly to build muscle and burn fat??