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Protein & Pepper and Parmesan Tilapia

Try this red pepper and parmesan tilapia recipe to get your protein tonight!

February 4, 2015
Little River County, Ark. –

Protein is an important macronutrient that your body needs to build, repair, and maintain tissues. Protein helps your body to build muscle, repair wounds, grow hair and build antibodies to help your body to fight disease.  When you do not get enough protein, you may experience loss of muscle mass leading to physical weakness, fatigue and a weakened immune system. 

Your body cannot make protein, nor can it store protein to be used later. Proteins are broken down by your body into amino acids. You must consume protein to give your body the essential amino acids necessary for your body to function properly. 

Animal sources of protein such as poultry, lean beef, pork, fish, and eggs provide high-quality protein with all the essential amino acids your body needs. Plant sources of protein such as beans, nuts, and seeds contain inadequate amounts of one or more amino acids therefore it is incomplete protein.  To make a complete protein you must pair the plant protein food with another source like beans and rice, peanut butter and whole grain bread, or black beans on a tortilla.  Soy protein is the only complete plant protein that has all the essential amino acids.

Protein needs are based on weight. While each person needs protein, you do not need excessive amounts of protein. A 150-pound person needs about 56-68 grams of protein per day.  Many adults can replace some of the carbohydrates they typically eat with protein to decrease cholesterol and blood sugar while improving body composition.  About 30 grams of protein per meal would help you to reach those protein goals with 3 meals per day.  Protein helps you to feel full and stay full as well as help with weight control. The nutrition breakdown each day for this higher protein diet would be about 30% of the daily energy intake from protein, 40% of the daily energy intake from carbohydrates and about 30% of the daily energy intake from healthful fats.

What foods would be good sources of high-quality protein?

  • Beef flank – about 31 grams per 4 ounces
  • Sirloin (beef) – about 34 grams per 4 ounces
  • Chicken breast – about 30 grams per 4 ounces
  • Ground beef – about 30 grams per 4 ounces
  • Pork loin – about 29 grams per 4 ounces
  • Tilapia – about 30 grams per 4 ounces
  • Ham – about 19 grams per 4 ounces

What foods would be good vegetarian sources of protein?

  • Pinto beans – about 12 grams per 4 ounces
  • Mixed nuts – about 19 grams per 4 ounces
  • Cottage cheese – about 15 grams per 4 ounces
  • Quinoa – about 16 grams per 4 ounces
  • Southern peas  - about 8 grams per 4 ounces
  • Greek yogurt – about 12 grams per 4 ounces
  • Tofu – about 10 grams per 4 ounces

You can start increasing your protein intake today! Incorporate protein in every meal and snack. Enjoy eggs, yogurt, or low-fat milk at breakfast. Eat snacks high in protein such as nuts, nut butter, seeds, or Greek yogurt. Add beans or meat to your soups, pasta, or casseroles. Eat lean meat at least several times per week.  Have fish at least 2-3 times per week.

Red Pepper and Parmesan Tilapia

4 tilapia filets (6 oz each)
2 tbsp margarine, melted
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ - 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp black pepper
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
*Adjust the red pepper and black pepper to your taste.

Line a 10x15x1-inch baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place fillets in a single layer on a baking dish. Brush fillets with melted margarine. Sprinkle evenly with Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, black pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Serves: 4 with 179 calories, 5 g fat, 2 g carbohydrate and 35 g protein per serving.
Try this delicious recipe with steamed broccoli and a baked sweet potato for dinner soon!

By Celeste Scarborough
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Celeste Scarborough
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
1411 N Constitution Ave Ashdown AR 71822
(870) 898-7224

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