© Rick Hanson, Ph.D. and Jan Hanson, L.Ac. 2001, 2002
Quick and Easy Protein
What can I do to feel less run down in the afternoon? Maybe I need to
eat differently, but I'm so busy here's a typical day: bagel and coffee
for breakfast, salad for lunch, granola bar (or leftover peanut butter
and jelly sandwich!) for a snack, and spaghetti for dinner.
In general, we recommend our daily Mother Nurture recipe, designed
specifically with a mom's nutritional needs in mind. It's comprised of
only seven ingredients. In sum, every day you should try to eat:
1. Eight to twelve ounces of protein
2. Five to seven servings of fresh vegetables, and one to two fruits
3. Unrefined oils and essential fatty acids instead of refined or
hydrogenated oils, or trans-fatty acids
4. Two to five servings of unrefined, varied whole grains
5. Organic foods whenever possible
6. High potency nutritional supplements
7. Zero or very little refined sugar.
Nutrition is a huge subject, so if there's room here to make just one
suggestion about your own diet, it would be this: eat protein at every
meal, especially in the morning. That will even out the blood sugar
crash we bet you're feeling in the afternoon, and give you energy
throughout the day. For a busy mom, good sources of protein include: Eggs - If you're in a hurry, hard boil eggs in advance and eat one or
two at breakfast.
Fish - Salmon contains high levels of the essential fatty acids every
mother needs. Besides eating it fresh, you can find salmon jerky in many
health food stores. Try to minimize fish at the top of the ocean food
chain - like tuna, shark, or swordfish - because mercury and other
toxins increase as you move up the chain.
Lean meat - For convenience, many health food stores sell different
kinds of tasty "jerkies" made from beef or turkey, but without any
Nuts - Almonds are particularly high in protein; almond butter on a
rice cake topped with apple slices is a delicious and healthy breakfast.
Soy - You can add soybeans to stews or soups, or toss tofu chunks into
your stirfry or casseroles. Try replacing half or more of the wheat
flour with soy flour. Soymilk comes in many flavors, and you may be
surprised to find that your children really like it.
Hummus - This Middle Eastern food is made from garbanzo beans and
sesame seeds. You can buy it in most supermarkets or make your own,
Protein shakes - If you are going to use these regularly, alternate
types of protein powder (such as whey-, soy-, or egg-based) to get a
Dairy products - Although milk, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of
protein, they are best consumed in moderation because many people have
an allergy to milk or cannot digest the lactose in it, and keeping the
digestive tract in good shape is a top priority for a mother. If you
have trouble with dairy, goat milk products may be tolerable.
Combining vegetarian foods - If you're a vegetarian, you probably know
about using food combinations (like rice and beans) for maximum protein.
(Diet for a Small Planet or Laurel's Kitchen offer good introductions to
this subject.) Since meat is the only significant source of iron and
vitamin B12 in the diet, a vegetarian should usually take these as part
of a daily supplement.