Protein: Cell Building and Repair for Your Pregnant Body
Protein is made up of amino acids, which are basically the building blocks of every cell in your body and in your developing baby’s body. Aim to get 20 percent of your daily calories from protein (that’s about 100 grams per day if you’re eating a 2,000-calorie diet).
A single gram of protein contains 4 calories. To figure out how many protein calories a food contains, simply multiply the grams-of-protein-per-serving info by 4. Of course, you can always eat more protein if you want, up to 35 percent of your daily calories (which amounts to 175 g if you’re eating a 2,000-calorie diet).
Because a lot of protein-containing foods are fresh (think raw meat), they don’t require a food label. That’s nice for manufacturers but challenging for you when you’re trying to keep track of your protein intake. Let the table be your guide to how many grams of protein are in some common foods.
|Food||Amount of Protein|
|3 ounces lean cooked meat (poultry, pork, beef, and fish)||About 21 g (7 g/ounce)|
|6 ounces Greek yogurt||12–16 g|
|3 ounces firm tofu||9 g|
|1 cup lowfat milk||8 g|
|2 tablespoons peanut butter||8 g|
|1/2 cup black beans||7 g|
|6 ounces lowfat yogurt||5–7 g|
|1 large egg||6 g|
|1 ounce (or about 23) almonds||6 g|
|Most grain products (for example, a slice of bread, 1 ounce of cereal, or 2 ounces of dry pasta)||1–4 g per serving|
Protein takes longer to digest than carbs, so eating protein keeps you full for a longer period of time than eating carbs. Always try to include protein at every meal. At breakfast, your protein source can be milk, eggs, or yogurt, and at lunch and dinner, it can be meat or meat alternatives. You can also get protein from your snacks by eating nuts and nut butters.