Yogurt for Calcium and Protein
Not so long ago, yogurt was considered something only health food junkies ate. Now, it is a dietary staple for many who enjoy the taste, convenience, low calories, and, yes, health benefits.
Yogurt can even help you slim down, according to recent studies showing a low-calorie diet that includes three servings of dairy a day can help promote weight loss. Orlansky says yogurt is very appealing to those wanting to lose weight because of the protein/carbohydrate combination it offers.
"These nutrient combinations can help stave off hunger," she explains, adding that, "Yogurt contains about 30% of the recommended daily value in calcium and should be added to the diet since most American adults are not drinking milk."
Yogurt is made by curdling milk with purified cultures. That means that in addition to protein and calcium, it is high in live active organisms called probiotics. These can boost your immunity, prevent yeast infections, and keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy.
Flavored, plain, or low fat, you can eat yogurt as a snack or as the protein source at a meal. Yogurts make a great dip for fruits and vegetables and a delicious dessert topping instead of ice cream. For the best of smart and tasty eating, combine low-fat yogurt and fresh berries for a summer smoothie.
Protein- and Fiber-Packed Beans
The benefits of beans or legumes are as wide as the varieties available. Peas, lentils, black beans, butter beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) -- and that's a very short list. All are nutrient-rich and great sources of fiber, iron, and protein.
These small, tasty treasures can help you feel full longer, while curbing your appetite for foods that are high in fat. They have little or no fat themselves and are usually inexpensive as well. Most are good raw and can be easily mixed with other foods to add flavor, substance, and color.
"Substituting beans for animal protein in a meal can lower calories, saturated fat, and provide zero cholesterol," says Orlansky. She adds they are "particularly high in soluble fiber, which helps blood cholesterol levels."