At the start of the new year, I signed up for an eight-week group fitness challenge to stay motivated and active during the winter.

My first week of fitness classes was tough. Really tough. After a particularly intense set of tricep dips, I visited a new restaurant a few days later, and it hurt to pick up a cheeseburger. Talk about calorie control!

Our group fitness instructor reminds us to eat protein after class for muscle recovery. And while you can get protein from peanut butter or energy bars, I recently saw a news story about how animal-based proteins, such as meat, dairy and poultry, are especially beneficial for our health. (You can read more about the study at

So I asked Nicole ...