While protein receives much attention in traditional media for its role in muscle growth and repair, as health professionals, we know polypeptides are very versatile molecules with many benefits. In particular, protein has a profound effect on satiety, which can aid in weight management. Protein slows gastric emptying to the small intestine, allowing food to remain in the stomach for a longer period of time and sustain that feeling of fullness. Thus, you are not reaching for a snack an hour after your meal. The mechanism is pretty simple, but it is a great appetite-control strategy for those looking to cut their calories throughout the day.
Research shows eggs in particular are a great protein choice to promote satiety. For example, one study provided men with either an egg-based breakfast or carbohydrate-rich bagel of equal calories followed by an unlimited lunch buffet. The results, published in the February 2010 issue of Nutrition Research, showed egg-eaters consumed significantly fewer calories at lunch. A similar study found overweight dieters eating eggs for breakfast as part of a calorie restricted diet consumed 330 fewer calories, lost 65% more weight, had a 61% greater reduction in BMI and felt more energetic than their bagel-breakfast counterparts.
However, for some people, morning and mid-day snacking is not a problem- it’s late-night snacking. Since late-night snacking often involves high-calorie foods consumed while watching TV or surfing the web, portions may not be controlled. Eating just an extra 100 calories each night through mindless eating can lead to 10 pounds of weight gain over the course of a year! This week’s recipe contains 19 grams of protein and 240 calories per serving and is a protein-packed recipe to help keep you satisfied.
HAM & ASPARAGUS STRATA
- 12 slices (1/2″ thick, 4″ diameter) French OR Italian bread (4 oz.)
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (4 oz.)
- 1 cup chopped cooked ham (4 oz.)
- 8 oz. fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)
- 6 EGGS
- 1 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
HEAT oven to 350°F. PLACE 1/2 of the bread in single layer in greased 8-inch square baking dish. TOP evenly with layers of 1/2 of the cheese, ham and asparagus. COVER with remaining bread, placing slices flat or in shingled pattern. REPEAT cheese, ham and asparagus layers. BEAT eggs, milk, lemon juice and garlic powder in medium bowl until blended. POUR over layers in baking dish. BAKE in 350°F oven until puffed, golden and knife inserted near center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
Calories: 240, total fat: 11g, saturated fat: 5g, polyunsaturated fat: 1g, monounsaturated fat: 3g,
cholesterol: 213mg, sodium: 540mg, carbohydrates: 16g, dietary fiber: 1g, protein: 19g, vitamin A: 774.8IU, vitamin D: 66.0IU, folate: 74.1mcg, calcium: 228.7mg, iron: 2.5mg, choline: 155.7mg