Consuming the proper amounts of lean protein is the most important aspect of your weight loss nutrition program. Nothing against other important nutrients, but proteins are the building blocks of muscular growth. As we know from other pages on this site, growing muscle is essential to burning fat and losing weight.
In addition, protein helps to stabilize your blood sugar and slows down the absorption of other foods. Slower absorption means it takes longer to feel hungry which will help you keep from binge eating.
While some of the information on this site may be a bit overwhelming, the answer to this question is pretty simple. Every day, you should consume 1 gram of lean protein for every pound of body weight that you carry. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, consume 200 grams of protein each day (divided among the 5 meals we discussed on the Diet Program page).
Don't like math? Here is an even easier way to figure out how much lean protein to eat. At each of your three main meals, consume a piece of protein that is about the size of the palm of your hand. Pretty straight forward, isn't it?
You may be wondering, "I weigh 350 pounds, do I really need to pack in 350 grams of protein per day?" Great question. The answer to that is no. Remember on the home page of this site, I asked you to set measurable goals for your weight loss program? Here is where your target weight comes in. If you are significantly overweight, then use your target weight to calculate your protein intake. If you are aiming for 190 pounds, then consume 190 pounds of protein each day.
Now that you know how much protein to eat each day, let's take a look at the protein sources that are considered "lean." This won't be all-inclusive, but there should be enough examples to keep your menu from getting boring.
A couple of notes: I really like beef (it's a staple in the mid-western US where I live, as is pork). Beef is loaded with protein, but most cuts have a lot of saturated fat in them. Look for cuts with very little marbling. Marbling is just lines of fat in the meat. Pork is very fatty, too. Most of its fat is on the outer edges and can be trimmed off. Stick with chops and save the ribs for your weakly cheat meal. Overall, chicken & turkey breast along with fish are your best bets.
Keep protein top-of-mind as you plan your meals. Combine that with complex carbohydrates and veggies/salad and you will be well on your way to making the changes needed to lose the weight and keep it off. Click on another link and keep building your weight loss program.