Why a high-protein lunch?
Because protein takes longer to digest than carbs and sugars, your blood sugar stays more even, giving you fewer mood dips and higher energy levels. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 46 grams of protein for women over age 19, and 56 grams of protein for men. Protein may also aid with weight loss, according to a review of studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, possibly because it helps maintain muscle mass. “Starting at about age 35-40, women start losing a significant amount of muscle as they become more sedentary,” said David Heber, PhD, professor of medicine and Director of the Risk Factor Obesity Program at UCLA, in an interview with WomensHealthMag.com. Less muscle means less calorie burn, and increased chances of weight gain. Here are six ways to eat more protein at your mid-day meal.
If you lunch on: Slice of pizza
Up the protein: Choose toppings such as grilled chicken or ham (an ounce of each adds about 5 grams of protein), or tinned anchovies (one anchovy has 1 gram of protein). Consider adding an ounce of smoked lox slices on white pizzas (for 5 grams protein); one ounce grilled tofu for 3 grams; or one ounce cooked turkey bacon for 4 grams of protein. And always add extra veggies—like broccoli, mushrooms, or spinach—to increase fiber and vitamins with minimal calories.