Protein: The Building Blocks of Life

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Proteins are the building blocks of life; every cell of the human body contains protein! The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day. The daily recommended intake of protein for healthy adults is 10-35% of your total calorie intake.

Millions of people around the world do not get enough protein each day. Lack of protein can cause growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity, and heart or respiratory system troubles. Your body needs protein in order to repair cells and build new ones!

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, one ounce of most protein-rich foods contain 7 grams of protein. An ounce equals: 1 oz of meat fish or poultry, 1 large egg, ¼ cup tofu, ½ cup cooked beans or lentils, and 1 Tbsp peanut butter.

Fish and meat are known for being high in protein, but here are some great sources of protein if you are looking for some vegetarian options:

  • Quinoa (8 grams of protein per cup)
  • Edamame (9 grams of protein per cup)
  • Tofu (16 grams of protein per cup)
  • Beans (12-15 grams of protein per cup depending on type of bean)
  • Nuts (22-36 grams of protein per cup depending on type of nut)
  • Chickpeas (16 grams of protein per cup)
  • Chia seeds (38 grams of protein per cup)
  • Hemp seeds (11 grams of protein per tablespoon)
  • Raw lentils (47 grams of protein per cup)
  • Sesame seeds (25 grams of protein per cup)

Not all sources of protein are created equal and it is important to make sure that you are getting enough protein to meet your dietary needs. What are some of your favorite sources of protein?

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Top High Energy Foods to Beat the Midday Snooze

All foods give you energy, but not all foods give you the same energy to keep you going throughout the day. Many people turn to coffee or sugary treats when their energy, but these effects are often short term and lead to a crash later. Snacks that provide the most energy are rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates.

Here are some healthy foods that keep you energized much longer:

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  • Nuts – Almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios are just a few of the protein-filled nuts that give you an energy boost. Nuts are a great source of magnesium to convert sugar into energy fuel. Pistachios provide protein, fiber, and heart healthy monounsaturated fats to give you energy all day long. Since you have to remove the shell of pistachios, it is less likely that you will overeat.
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  • Peanut Butter – Peanut butter contains healthy fats, protein, and fiber to keep hunger away. Just be sure to avoid peanut butters with added sugar or hydrogenated oils!

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  • Leafy greens – Leafy greens such as spinach, romaine lettuce, and arugula are high in folate, which is a mood-enhancing nutrient. These vegetables all contain vitamin C to help you stay strong and healthy. You can add leafy greens into pastas, salads, soups, and sandwiches to boost your energy through the day.
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  • Fruit – Fruit contains vitamin C, fiber, and natural sugar to boost your energy level. Frozen fruit or fresh fruit smoothies can be an easy way to add more fruit into your day. Bananas decelerate digestion and they are full of fiber, vitamin B, and potassium, so this fruit is a great snack to keep you going.
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  • Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, natural sugars, and natural fats from the cacao bean.

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  • Whole grains – Complex carbohydrates such as the whole grains in oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Your body primarily uses carbohydrates to fuel itself, so whole grains area critical aspect of creating natural energy throughout the day. Whole grains help you feel satisfied so you are less likely to turn toward sweets and empty carbohydrates.

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  • Hummus – This fiber and protein filled snack is a perfect snack with veggies or pita chips to stabilize blood sugar, reduce hunger, and increase energy.
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  • Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt has almost twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt. If you add nuts and fruit, it’s a prefect mix to give you more energy.

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  • Water – Water may not be a food, but it’s important to drink enough water in order to stay energized. When you are dehydrated, you often feel tired and sluggish. Water regulates digestive and bodily functions, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated!

These are just a few of the many foods that you can eat to get more energy. It’s important to find snacks that have protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates in order to stay energized throughout the day!

Let us know your favorite high-energy snack in the comments!

Snacking around the World

The variety of snacks you can get just by walking into your average grocery store can be pretty mesmerizing. You can get chips that come in a plethora of flavors; you can get pretzels (sweet or salty); you can get candy or chocolate bars; you can get cookies or crackers; you can get nuts or seeds, and the list really goes on endlessly. In the US, chips and cookies are the staple snack, but around the world, palates and flavors differ entirely.

We brought in some unusual snacks from around the world to the office and had everyone give them a try. Then we had everyone guess which country the snacks originated from. It was a blast seeing everyone’s amusement with the kinds of snacks we laid out. Here’s what went down.

We managed to get some of the snacks from local ethnic markets in Des Moines, but had to order the rest online because they were too difficult to find.

Boxes from Amazon

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First up, they tried some Dela Rosa, a sweet marzipan peanut candy from Mexico. They came individually packed in little round pieces, and it was a powdery consistency that pretty much broke once we opened the little wrappers. No one could guess where this was from, but we definitely weren’t expecting that level of sweetness from it.

De La Rosa box De La Rosa open box

Next, everyone had a go at TimTams. I think these were the safest looking food on the table, and everyone just loved them. We even had people asking for seconds. This Australian chocolate cookie snack is a definite must-try :) They are available on Amazon in the US!

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These little burgers are the cutest thing you’ll ever eat, AND they are delicious! At first, they seemed a little curious, but when everyone had one, we were very much immediate fans of Every Burger! This Japanese snack is actually a rich chocolate sandwiched between mini wheat cookies. Who else would come up with little chocolate burger snacks, other than the Japanese :)

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Dried cuttlefish is actually a pretty typical Asian snack, especially in China. It is very much just plain dried cuttlefish, and it has quite a sweet tang. Unfortunately. it also packs in a heavy fishy smell that had everyone on their feet before trying a tiny piece of this. As it turns out, most Americans probably will have a hard time overcoming that smell long enough to enjoy this interesting snack, although there were one or two people at the office who actually enjoyed this one!

Dried Cuttle Fish Dried Cuttle Fish packaging

These squid-flavored peanuts are common on Korea (although this packet is from Japan). They seemed a little peculiar at first, but everyone seemed to enjoy them. In fact, they were really addictive and the bag was gone before we could get proper pictures of the little squid-peanut balls :)

Roasted Squid-flavored Peanuts

Next on the menu, Muruku from India! This was the easiest to guess which country it came from, and everyone got it right. It has a distinct spice and curry taste and is a common savory, crunchy snack in India. Definitely a simple, but flavor-packed snack to try if you ever get the chance !

Muruku Muruku pieces

This last snack is a fun walk down memory lane for 90s kids in Malaysia and Singapore. No one got this guess right, but they were very much amused with its ramen-ness.

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That was a real fun activity to have in the office. What other interesting snacks have you tried from around the world? Let us know, and maybe we’ll try them in the next round :)

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