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Getting protein on the go

Alyson Hurt

Getting protein during a sit-down meal may not be hard, but getting more protein in snacks can be more difficult. Many protein-rich foods like meat are hard to consume when you’re on the go.

This week on "Take Care," nutritionist Joan Rogus discusses protein’s role in our diet and the various snacks that are packed with it, including some surprising ones. Rogus is a registered dietician in central New York who has her own private practice in Syracuse.

While protein may not be a primary source of energy like carbohydrates, it is essential to your health. Rogus says protein is "part of every cell, organ, tissue, and muscle. It’s the building blocks of our body."

Ten to 35 percent of the adult diet should consist of protein. The Centers for Disease Control recommends consuming two to three servings of protein per day.   

The following are some useful protein facts provided by Rogus:

  • For maximum absorption, don’t eat it alone: "My rule of thumb is to always combine two food groups." Peanut butter and crackers is a good example of such a combination.
  • Insects are your friends: Insects are excellent sources of protein. A 200-calorie portion of cricket bar contains 31 grams of protein, which is more than the same portion of beef.
  • Snack, but in moderation: Protein is great for a snack and keeps you more satiated than carbohydrates, but you should try to limit how much you consume. "You don’t want more than 150 to 200 calories in the snack."
  • Stick to whole foods: Unless you’re trying to build muscle, protein supplements are unnecessary. "The whole food is always a better way to get [nutrients]."

It may not sound very appealing now, but crickets and other insects are commonly consumed in other parts of the world, and could soon become a common source of protein in the American diet.
"Just be open to new tastes," says Rogus.