How many grams of protein should I be eating per meal?
Your daily protein requirement can vary depending on your age, weight, and health status. Many Americans are getting plenty of protein between the meat, dairy, nuts, and beans in our diet.
If you have diabetes, the most important thing to focus on is when planning meals is the amount of carbohydrate you eat. The amount of carbohydrates has a significant effect on your blood glucose level.
Instead of focusing on the exact amount of protein you should be eating, how about starting to choose more lean protein choices over high-fat protein foods? The key to choosing the right protein sources is to pick those that are less processed and are low in saturated and trans fats. That includes:
Vegetarian protein like beans, tofu, veggie burgers, and other soy products
Eggs, egg whites and egg substitutes
Low-fat milk, skim milk, low-fat yogurt with artificial sweetener, and non-fat yogurt
Fish and shellfish
Poultry such as chicken, turkey, or Cornish hen without the skin (white breast meat is lower in fat than the darker meat in the thigh and leg pieces)
Lean cuts of beef like round, sirloin, and flank steak; tenderloin; rib, chuck, or rump roast; T-bone, porterhouse, or cubed steak.
Lean types of pork include ham, Canadian bacon, pork loin, and center loin chops.
Nuts and seeds also have protein, and are a good, healthy option. In addition to protein, they also provide healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which may help lower cholesterol levels and promote heart health.
One way to help you balance the amount of carbohydrate and protein you are getting at each meal is to use the Diabetes Plate Method. It’s easy – just fill ¼ of your plate with a serving of starchy foods like ½ cup of mashed potatoes, a whole grain role, or 1/3 cup of brown rice. Then, fill another ¼ of the plate with a lean protein choice (3-4 ounces is a serving, or about the size of a deck of cards). The last half of your plate should be filled with non-starchy veggies.
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