Hello folks, when it comes to nutrition one of the first questions people often ask me is about protein. Protein is an important part of our diet as our bodies use protein to build and maintain components of the body such as muscle, bone, enzymes, and red blood cells. In the US we get plenty of protein.
With our athletes the protein needs are influenced by sex, age, exercise duration, intensity, as well as the amount of protein required for maintenance of existing lean body mass, plus allowances for the amount required to accrue additional lean body mass during the adolescent growth spurt. Basically, they will need enough protein to help them maintain growth and development. The average adolescent athlete will need approximately 1.35-1.6 g/kg body weight/day which is a little more than an adult due to the body growth. For females the highest requirement of protein is during the ages of 11-14, and for males 15-18. These are the ages when growth is at its peak and the estimation of extra protein should be based on growth rather than chronological age.
In the US protein is not a concern. We get plenty protein from a variety of foods including meat, eggs, milk, nuts, legumes, and plants. We have been taught that meat is a “high-quality” protein and plants are not because meat is a complete protein meaning that it has all the amino acids that our bodies cannot produce. Plants on the other hand can have all the amino acids we need when combined with other plant protein sources. Beans and lentils are also complete proteins. As we continue to learn more about food, there are studies that argue that we can receive plenty of protein without eating meat every day. Meat is not a necessity of our everyday diet and can cause diet and health problems when consumed as much as we do with the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) over a long period of time. When you are eating meat, look for lean cuts that are not oversized. Processed meat is not good and can be a treat but shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet. I threw in a couple articles that I think give some good info about food.
I also recommend that you check out this documentary The Game Changers on Netflix, I has good science backed information about some effects of meat on the body. I think that we all deserve to have as much information as we can find on health and nutrition for ourselves and our children.
Since we are talking about protein, here is a recipe that we love that has a good amount in it. If you have peanut allergies, please be careful what you use to substitute. I have been told that a coworker used sunflower butter for her daughter that has a peanut allergy and she enjoyed it!
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 jalapeno seeded and diced if you like spicy
1 medium sweet potato peeled and chopped
1 can 28oz diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup peanut butter
4 cups veg broth
1 ½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper if you like spicy
1.5 cups chickpeas or 1 15oz can drained and rinsed
2 handfuls kale or spinach destemmed
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent
2. Add the bell pepper, jalapeno if you are using it, sweet potato, and tomatoes with juices. Raise the heat to medium high and simmer 5 more minutes. Season with S&P.
3. In a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter and 1 cup of vegetable broth until no lumps remain. Stir into the vegetables with the remaining 3 cups of broth, chili powder, and cayenne.
4. Cover the pan and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 10-20 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.
5. Stir in chickpeas and kale or spinach and cook until wilted. Season again with S&P.
6. Eat it.
If you have any questions that you are curious about, any comments, or concerns, please reach out to me at email@example.com and I’ll get back to you.
I hope everyone and your family, friends, and neighbors are doing well. Stay safe and healthy, and remember that nutrition is always the first line!