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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - It can help you lose weight, as well as increase your metabolism up to 30 percent. Protein can also help control the afternoon sugar cravings so that you are not sabotaging yourself at your co-worker's candy dish.

Brenna Thompson, Registered Dietitian with Nutritional Weight and Wellness, joined KARE 11 News @ 4 to talk about how you can eat your way to more energy.

Thompson says for optimal metabolism, you'll need to eat a balanced meal, such as chili, to have sufficient protein, which will allow your pancreas to secrete a fat-burning hormone called glucagon. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, Thompson explained that they like to counsel clients that women should have 3-4 ounces of protein at each meal, while men would have at least 6 ounces at meals.

A tip on how to eyeball 3-4 ounces of protein is a meal-size portion is about the size of the palm of your hand. For snacks, we recommend about half of that. Most people need about 100 grams of protein per day.

Suggestions for good protein sources for breakfast include having a crust-less quiche, served with delicious strawberries. The eggs in the quiche will give you good energy to start your day and you'll find you have better focus when you start your day with protein. In addition, the protein will also start revving your metabolism right away in the morning. This is a fabulous make-ahead option to grab on busy mornings.

For lunch, Thompson suggested a steak or chicken salad – with olive oil dressing -- to re-charge your battery. Insufficient protein is the single biggest mistake made by people who are trying to lose weight, especially women.

For a snack or before a workout, make a metabolism-boosting protein shake with whey protein, not a smoothie that is high in sugar. Whey protein comes from dairy and will boost your metabolism. This shake is easy to make and includes yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit, coconut milk and whey protein powder. People who consume whey protein before exercise were able to burn more fat than others who fasted or ate sugar or processed carbs. The recipe is listed below:

· ½ cup of yogurt

· 1 scoop of whey protein

· ¼ cup of canned coconut milk

· ½ banana

For more information call- Nutritional Weight & Wellness-- 651.669.3438.

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