Protein Packs a Power Punch

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Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 3:32 am, Mon Aug 18, 2014.

(Family Features) Whether you're training for your first half marathon or a busy mom on-the-go, there's no question that protein is essential to keeping your body in top physical form. Lugging around heavy grocery bags? Chasing after kids? Protein increases strength by rebuilding damaged muscle tissue, and helps promote stamina since it takes longer to digest. No question about it - protein has certainly earned its reputation as the workhorse for your body!

Protein can be found in a wide range of foods, including meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, soy, nuts and seeds. Foods like these with high protein content help slow digestion, control appetite, and keep you feeling full longer. Choosing lean proteins and making sure you are getting a variety of protein-filled foods are two ways to get the most from your nutrition plan.

There are also a variety of nutritious snacks that can help you capture extra protein as part of a balanced diet. For example, a LUNA Protein bar is a gluten-free bar made from a blend of soy and whey protein. With less than 200 calories, it provides satiation to keep you feeling full, along with 12 grams of soy and whey protein and 3 grams of fiber.

Finally, it is important to remember that how much protein you need depends on your activity level. For example, a 140-pound woman who has a primarily sedentary lifestyle needs 56 grams per day, while a 140-pound woman who participates in regular, high-impact exercise may need as much as 119 grams of protein per day.

Remember that a pre or post-workout snack with vitamins and nutrients is especially important to help you power through your sweat session. Tara DelloIacono-Thies, Registered Dietitian for LUNA, suggests these protein-rich snack ideas:

  • Celery sticks, carrots, or apple slices with nut butter
  • Hard-boiled egg with salt and pepper on whole wheat bread
  • 1 protein-rich bar, such as LUNA Protein Bar
  • Plain Greek yogurt topped with seasonal fruit
  • Low sodium turkey meat rolled up with lettuce, low fat cheese, mustard and veggies of your choice

For more healthy tips to help incorporate protein in your daily diet, visit www.lunabar.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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