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  • Protein – What you need to know!
  • The Basics: Food & Nutrition
Protein – What you need to know!

Protein is so important for everyone, but especially for pregnant and nursing women because it forms part of the structural component of every part of your body and your growing baby’s body. Not only does adequate protein intake help your baby achieve a healthy birth weight, but it also supports the production of new cells, enzymes, and hormones that regulate life. Everything from fingernails, hair, skin, and organ development also depends on protein.

Protein for Pregnant and Nursing Women – What you need to know!
A person’s protein needs are a bit tricky to define because they are based on one’s ideal body weight; however, a general rule of thumb is as follows: 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day when not pregnant or nursing. During the 2nd trimester and when nursing, a woman needs 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day plus 25 extra grams per day. If pregnant with twins, you will need an extra 25 grams of protein per day starting as soon as you learn that you are expecting. 

Protein is not available in a prenatal vitamin or pill/supplement form, therefore, it is important to ensure that you are getting an adequate amount from your diet. Animal protein provides more of the amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that your body cannot make on its own compared with plant sources; however, so long as a vegetarian diet is full of variety and careful attention is paid to protein intake, a woman can successfully achieve her protein needs.
 
Here are some of the best sources of protein (both animal and plant based):
 
Meats & *Fish

Chicken breast, skinless (3 oz, cooked)      26g
Pork tenderloin (3 oz, roasted)        22g
Beef, 95% lean (3 oz, roasted)      22g
Salmon, Atlantic (3 oz, roasted)        22g

*When selecting fish remember to opt for wild caught (over farm raised) to ensure that you are not consuming unnecessary chemicals.  Likewise, look for meat sources that are organic or raised on farms, which are antibiotic-free, steroid-free, hormone-free, free-range, and grass or vegetarian-fed.

Dairy

Cottage Cheese, low-fat (1/2 cup)   14g
Greek yogurt, plain (6 oz)    14g
Milk (1 cup, whole, 1%)     8g
Egg (1 large)       6g

                                                          
Legumes, Grains, Pseudo-grains

Tofu, raw (1/2 cup)     10g
Quinoa (1 cup, cooked)   8g
Lentils (1/2 cup, dry, cooked)     8g
Black beans (1/2 cup, dry, cooked)   7g
Garbanzo Beans (1/2 cup, dry, cooked)   7g


Nuts & Seeds

Peanut Butter - All Natural (2 Tbsp)    9g
Pumpkin Seeds (1 oz)    9g
Walnuts (1 oz)        7g
Almonds (1 oz)     6g
Pistachios (1 oz)    6g
Sunflower Seeds (1 oz)     5.5g
Sesame Seeds (1 oz)    5g
Chia Seeds (1 oz)    4.5g


Fruits & Veggies

Spinach (1 bunch – approx. 16 oz)   9.5g
Peas (1 cup)   8g
Corn (1 cup)    5g
Dried Figs (1 cup)    5g
Dried Apricot (1 cup)   4.5g
Artichoke (1 medium)   4g
Brussels Sprouts (1 cup)   4g
Broccoli (1 cup, chopped)   3g

 

  • The Basics: Food & Nutrition

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