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Adding more protein to your diet? Some ideas

If you munch on pretzels and other carbs all day, then chow down on a half-pound burger at dinner, you won't be protein deficient, but you're not giving your body the steady supply of nutrition it needs throughout the day. Some snack ideas that combine sustaining protein with fiber:

Roll a slice or two of low-fat turkey breast around a cucumber spear or some steamed asparagus.

Try a low-fat mozzarella stick with a sliced apple.

Slice up a hard-boiled egg and enjoy with whole-grain crackers.

Stuff celery sticks with hummus or other bean spread.

Protein shakes made from whey powder (get a low-sugar brand), or milk, yogurt and fruit.

Black-Bean and Tomato Quinoa

Quinoa is a fiber- and protein-packed grain that's fast-cooking, but be sure to rinse it thoroughly before cooking to avoid any bitter flavor. This recipe, from Gourmet magazine, is easily adaptable. Cut the saturated fat by substituting olive oil for butter. Spice it up with chopped jalapenos, or up the veggie quotient with diced bell pepper, corn, whatever you like. Serve as a side dish, or make it the main course, accompanied by a salad and crusty bread.

Black-Bean and Tomato Quinoa

Yield: Makes 4 servings

2 teaspoons grated lime zest

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup quinoa

1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 medium tomatoes, diced

4 scallions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Wash quinoa in three changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time. Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 382 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated), 15mg cholesterol, 446mg sodium, 55g carbohydrates, 10g fiber, 14g protein

SOURCE: Gourmet, July 2007

Adding more protein to your diet? Some ideas 10/22/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 22, 2010 4:30am]
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