Protein is something we are all aware needs to exist in our diets. Most of us think of meat, poultry, fish, eggs or tofu. If working out is apart of your lifestyle or you’re an athlete, you may have protein powder or bars as part of your daily routine as well. But you guys, how many of you use milk and milk products as a form of protein in your diet? I am going to guess not many think of them immediately as a protein go-to but rather think of them as a complement like milk for cereal for example or cheese on…well let’s just say cheese on any and everything because it makes everything taste better.
But before I talk about why milk and milk products are great sources of protein, let me first start with what protein is exactly and why it’s important. No matter what your dietary preferences are, protein is an essential macronutrient we all need to help maintain our overall health. Protein contributes to developing antibodies to boost out immune system. For those of you working hard in the gym these days – getting a jump on your 2018 fitness goals, we need protein to help build and repair our muscles. Especially after a hardcore workout or training.
Now here’s the deal with how to best optimize your protein intake. A good rule of thumb is to distribute your protein evenly over your meals, so 30 grams during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, referred to as the 30-30-30 Rule. Utilizing milk products as an extra source of protein is often overlooked but I have made a conscious effort to integrate it into my day because the high quality proteins found in them help satisfy my hunger throughout my busy days. With an increase in frequency and intensity with my workouts now that my body is a much better place post baby, I find that adding more protein from milk, yogurt bowls and even cheese into my diet gives me the strength and stamina I need to make it through the day with work, workouts and Maxwell.
I am not sure if any of you out there track your intake of protein but to help you get an idea of the amount of protein you can expect to see from consuming milk products in your day-to-day life here’s some numbers to help put things into perspective for you:
- A glass of milk (250 ml) contains 8 grams of protein
- 3/4 cup of greek yogurt (175 ml) contains 17 grams of protein
- 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (125 ml) contains 15 grams of protein
- 50 grams of cheddar cheese (1 1/2 Oz) contains 12 grams of protein
Yogurt bowls are an easy way to start incorporating more milk products into your diet. I love added fresh fruit, chia and hemp seeds to mine for a bit of sweetness and crunch. It’s shocking how filling this snack really is. And whenever I need a bit of inspiration on new ways to add milk proteins to my existing meals, I check out DairyGoodness.ca for some recipe inspo. Below you will find the recipe details to a Bean and Barley salad that I discovered recently on the website. I made some slight modifications to it just for taste (removed the olives and used TK peppers) so it still packs all the same nutritional goodness.
1/2 of pearl barley and couscous
1 can (540 ml) of black, red, white or lima beans (no salt added)
1 cup (250 ml) of cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced in half
1 cup (250 ml) of bell pepper, your choice, diced
1/2 cup (125 ml) of red onion, diced
1/4 cup (60 ml) of fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) of fresh parsley
1 tbsp of dried oregano
3 1/2 Oz (100 grams) of Canadian Feta Cheese, coarsely crumbled
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste
In a saucepan, bring 6 cups (1.5 L) of water to a boil and cook barley for approximately 20 minutes or until tender. Drain, cool under cold water, then drain again.
In a large bowl, mix barley, beans, and vegetables.
In another bowl, whisk reserved oil with lemon juice. Add herbs, Feta and pepper and pour over salad. Mix well and serve.
This post has been sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada however all views and opinions are my own