Many people believe that meat and dairy products are the only good sources of protein; however, other foods contain protein as well. Whole grain bread is a good example. When you choose whole grains, you get the protein, minus the unhealthy saturated fat found in animal sources. Choose protein sources that include fiber, minerals and vitamins.
Protein is one of the necessary building blocks for a healthy diet. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends that adults get 0.8 g protein for every kilogram of body weight. That means an adult weighing 160 lbs. needs 64 g of protein daily, or 8 g protein for every 20 lbs. of weight. Complete proteins are those that supply all the amino acids you need to build other proteins in your body. Whole grains are not complete proteins, which means you still have to consume other sources of protein in your diet to obtain all the essential amino acids. While complete proteins come from animal sources, soybeans and quinoa are the only plant-based sources of complete proteins.
Whole Grain Bread
Whole grain bread is made from whole grain kernels, which include the endosperm or the inner part of the kernel; the bran, which is the outer layer and provides fiber, and the germ, which is the nutrient-rich embryo part. According to MayoClinic.com, two slices of whole grain bread contain 7.2 g protein, 3.8 g fiber, 22 g carbohydrate and 140 calories. Whole grain breads can be made from any type of whole grain such as whole wheat, oats, rye and buckwheat.
Meats, poultry and fish all provide protein. Other sources include beans, legumes, grains and even vegetables. A 6-oz. steak delivers 38 g protein and 44 g fat, while 6 oz. of salmon has 34 g protein and 18 g fat, and 1 cup lentils has 18 g protein and 1 g fat, according to The Harvard School of Public Health. One cup of milk provides approximately 8 g protein, whether low-fat or whole. Although whole grain bread does not contain high amounts of protein, the low fat and high fiber make it a valuable source of protein.
Some people have allergies to foods that will prevent them from including them in their diet. Milk and dairy products are problems for people with lactose intolerance; gluten and wheat products cause problems for others. When looking to improve your diet and protein intake, always check with a medical professional if you have allergies.
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source; Protein
- MayoClinic.com; Nutrition and Healthy Eating; Whole Grains: Hearty Options for a Healthy Diet; June 21, 2009
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source;Protein: Moving Closer to Center Stage
- Cornell University; Nutrient Content of Milk Varies; June 4, 2010
- Go Ask Alice; Complete and incomplete proteins in grains and vegetables?; June 4, 2004
- The Whole Grains Council
- The Whole Grain Guide: Nutrition Action Health Letter; March 1997