Are You Getting Enough Protein 7 Ways To Eat More Every Day
Protein helps you build strong muscles, but it also helps boost your energy and regulate your appetite.
Protein has long held a place in the hearts of body builders, athletes and fitness enthusiasts for its crucial role in muscle recovery, growth and strength. It’s not just those groups who need protein, though: The average adult should get about 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight — if you weigh 150 pounds , you should aim for about 55 to 68 grams of protein per day.
People who lift weights, compete in sports or work laborious jobs may benefit from eating more protein than the current 0.8 gram per kilogram of bodyweight recommendation. Older adults, especially those at risk for sarcopenia may also benefit from more protein. Try this DRI calculator from the USDA to find out approximately how much protein you need.
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Adding protein to your diet can feel tough at first, but like anything, it can eventually turn into a habit and a nonnegotiable. If you’re looking to eat more protein, try these seven easy ways to up your intake every day.
Read more: How to calculate and track your macros
Fight Sweets With Healthy Stuff
Yet another birthday at work with cupcakes? Or extra stress have you aching for some sweets? To fight the urge, Berndt has this trick: When Im craving sweets, I reach for a chocolate milkshake made with chocolate whey protein blended with frozen almond milk cubes. Its delicious, and the protein helps curb my craving for sweets.
Have A Protein Shake For Breakfast
Many smoothies contain a lot of fruit, vegetables, or juice, but very little protein.
However, a shake or smoothie can be a great breakfast option, especially if you choose nutritious ingredients.
Whey protein powder has been studied the most and seems to have an edge over the others when it comes to helping you feel full (
Heres a basic whey shake recipe:
Whey Protein Shake
- 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop of whey powder
- 1 cup of fresh berries
- stevia or another healthy sweetener, if desired
- 1/2 cup of crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Having a protein shake for breakfast helps you start the day off right. Whey may be the best type to use.
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Before Working Out Or After: Whats The Protein Smoothie Sweet Spot
At the University of Connecticut, Rodriguez hones diets for collegiate and pro athletes, including those in the NFL, NBA, and NHL. She instructs them to get about 35 grams of protein per meal and scales it up for heavier guys. But will any protein do? Rodriguez cites several new studies that have examined plant versus animal proteins, and whole foods compared with supplements. The upshot: To grow new muscle and get bigger while adhering to a low-calorie diet, whole, animal-based sources are preferable, specifically meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy . Now, you might be wondering about the recent World Health Organization report from late last year that caused carnivores to panic because it labeled meat a carcinogen and lumped bacon with tobacco in the certain-death category. Not to worry. First, the WHO study surveyed people who consumed almost nothing butthat is, heaps of meat every day. These folks are also often overweight and sedentary. So does meat give you cancer? Or do you get it from being fat and lazy? The answer is almost certainly the latter, meaning that if youre fit and work out regularly, a modest serving a few times a week of beef, pork, or, yes, even bacon isnt going to put your health at risk.
What Are The Best Protein Sources
Animal products will be the foods that contain the highest amounts of protein, making them among the best protein sources. It is, however, important to understand that grams of protein isnt the only thing to look for when selecting what foods to consume. Take these three examples:
- 4 ounce serving of sirloin steak will provide about 33 grams of protein. However, it will also provide 5 grams of saturated fat, which if consumed in excess can be harmful to the heart.
- 4 ounces of ham will provide 22 grams of protein, and only 2 grams of saturated fat. However, it contains 1,500 milligrams of sodium which, if consumed frequently, can have negative effects on blood pressure.
- 4 ounces of salmon has about 30 grams of protein, provides only 1 gram of saturated fat and is naturally low in sodium. Salmon and other fatty fish like tuna, trout, and sardines are also excellent sources of omega-3 fats which help protect the heart.
On average, it is recommended to make ¼ of your plate a protein source. This can be accomplished by 3-4 ounce portions of meat, fish or poultry, or by incorporating a plant-based source Protein should be included with every meal, as we need to refuel our body as we use energy throughout the day. Common portion sizes of protein include:
- 4 oz steak 33 g
- 4 oz fish 30g
- 4 oz chicken or turkey 30g
- 6 oz plain greek yogurt 17g
- ½ cup cottage cheese 14g
- 2 eggs 12g
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Why Do Seniors Need A High Protein Diet
Protein is one of the foundational nutrients that make up your body. Every cell in your body relies on protein to function including:
Protein is essential for healing, building and repairing cells and body tissue. You need protein to:
- Heal from injuries
- Keep your fluid levels in balance
- Recover from surgery or illness
- Maintain healthy vision
- Balance your hormones and digestive enzymes
Without protein, your body starts to break down muscle mass and bone strength. Research has found that seniors are not able to use protein as easily as younger people, so their bodies may need more protein to meet its needs.
A diet high in protein can protect you from losing muscle, and muscle is important because you require the use of your muscles for everything you do.
Strong bones and muscles allow you to get out of a chair, walk to the store, do yard work, go dancing, or play with your grandchildren. Even simple tasks like pulling on your socks and getting out of the shower are made easier by healthy and strong muscles.
As we age, it is normal to lose muscle mass, but a loss of strength can also cause you to fall. You may also be more susceptible to illness and injury.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that seniors were not getting enough protein, with 6% of men over 71 and 4-6% of women over 50 not getting the recommended amounts of protein.
Make Protein A Ritual
The “consistency is key” adage has become universal advice because it’s true and applicable for just about any habit you want to start and keep — or any habit you want to quit.
Ritualizing things — or attaching one action to another action — can help with consistency, which eventually leads to habits. For example, if you’re trying to get more steps in every day, you could say, “I’ll walk for 10 minutes after breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.” Boom — that’s 30 extra minutes of walking every day.
Try ritualizing protein in that sense. Maybe you drink milk with breakfast every morning, or perhaps drink a protein shake instead and then protein becomes part of your breakfast ritual. With 20 to 40 grams of protein, a daily protein shake can quickly up your overall protein intake.
You can also ritualize protein by drinking a post-workout shake. This may seem like common sense, but trust me, it’s easy to forget your post-workout drink if you say, “Eh, I’ll drink it after dinner or after I shower.” Go ahead and make it as soon as your workout is over drink it during your post-workout stretches or cool down and it’ll become a ritual.
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Swap White Bread For Whole
Bread is an unassuming place to up your protein intake, but some breads actually pack quite the protein punch: Just like brown rice has more protein than white rice, whole-grain bread has more protein than white bread.
This is because whole-grain foods keep all parts of the grain — the germ, the bran and the endosperm — whereas the refining process strips grains down to just the endosperm, which doesn’t contain many nutrients.
Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Whole Seeds and Grains, for instance, contains five grams of protein per slice. If you eat two slices for breakfast, that’s an automatic 10 grams of protein that you wouldn’t get with refined white bread.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
May Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage
Skin cancer is on the rise due in part to a damaged ozone layer and increased exposure to ultraviolet rays .
Research indicates that bioactive compounds in broccoli may protect against UV radiation damage which leads to skin cancer.
In some animal studies, treatment with broccoli extract resulted in significantly reduced tumor growth and prevalence in mice with UV radiation-induced skin cancer (
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The Best Protein Sources
Choose protein sources that are nutrient-rich and lower in saturated fat and calories, such as:
- Lean meats
- Nuts and seeds
It’s a good idea to change up your protein foods. For instance, you could have salmon or other fish that’s rich in omega-3s, beans or lentils that give you fiber as well as protein, walnuts on your salad, or almonds on your oatmeal.
How much protein are you getting? Here’s how many grams of protein are in these foods:
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese: 12.4g
3 ounces tofu, firm: 9g
1/2 cup cooked lentils: 9g
2 tablespoons natural-style peanut butter or almond butter
3 oz skinless chicken breast: 26g
3 oz fish fillet : 17-20g
1 ounce provolone cheese: 7g
1/2 cup cooked kidney beans: 7.7g
1 ounce almonds: 6g
4 ounces low-fat plain yogurt: 6g
4 ounces soy milk: 3.5g
4 ounces low-fat milk: 4g
You Probably Aren’t Eating Enough Of The Mighty Macronutrient But Here’s How To Fix It
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Having to balancing classes, jobs, clubs and a social life, college students often forget about maintaining healthy eating habits. I try to eat foods that make me feel good and sustain me throughout the day, and eating enough protein is key. Its an important macronutrient for everyone, not only athletes trying to bulk up. According to Kris Gunnars, a nutrition researcher for Healthline, a higher protein intake reduces hunger levels and promotes stronger bones and muscles, faster metabolism, lower blood pressure, and higher energy levels.
Here are eight tips and tricks that Ive found helpful to increase your protein intake.
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But First: What Is Protein
Protein is an essential macronutrient made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are 22 amino acids in total, including nine essential amino acids that the body cant produce on its own. These amino acids must come from food.
Any foods or combination of foods that contains these nine amino acids is known as a complete protein. Foods that dont contain all nine amino acids are known as incomplete proteins. As a general rule, animal proteins tend to be complete, while plant-based proteins tend to be incomplete .
The USDA recommends46 grams of protein per day for adult women and 56 grams for adult men. Alternately, the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends basing daily protein intake on current body weight. They suggest 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for active adults. Using this method, a 150-pound person should eat 95 to 136 grams of protein per day.
Read more: The Truth About Protein
Choose Brown Rice Or Quinoa Over White Rice
Quinoa packs more protein than white rice.
This is one easy swap you can use often to get more protein in your diet. Both quinoa and brown rice have more protein per serving than white rice and can replace white rice in most meals.
The texture is similar, although quinoa does have a more earthy taste than rice. Each serving of cooked quinoa packs 8 grams of protein per cup, while brown rice contains 5.3 grams per cup — white rice, on the other hand, contains just 4.4 grams of protein per cup.
Quinoa surpasses both white and brown rice in terms of protein, but brown rice still offers more protein than white rice and is a good choice if you don’t enjoy quinoa.
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Add Protein To Your Breakfast
In my experience, breakfast is the hardest meal to work in protein. Cereal, toast, bagels and pancakes are high in carbs and low in protein, which explains why I feel hungry an hour after eating. Pairing these carbs with a source of protein, like an egg or yogurt, will leave you feeling more satisfied and energized.
Plan Meals Around Protein
Whenever I’m deciding what to cook, I include a protein source and make sure the meal is balanced. So instead of just having a big bowl of pasta and veggies in a sauce, I might have a smaller portion with chicken on the side.
Basing meals around protein is still possible if you’re vegetarian try tofu, seitan, dairy, eggs, or pulses.
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Worried About Getting All The Protein You Need On A Plant
If youve recently adopted a plant-based diet, you might be wondering just how to get all the protein that you need. Sure, its not as easy if youre skipping meat, but its not hard either. Whether your vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or otherwise, these foods will help you get the protein your body needs.
How To Get 200 Grams Of Protein A Day
The most effective way to get 200 grams of protein a day is to consume a substantial portion of a high protein food with every meal. Consuming high protein snacks at regular intervals can also help you increase your intake.
What follows is a list of 6 high protein foods. These are ordered from highest to lowest in terms of the protein content per 100 grams.
Most people need between 40 and 60 grams of protein each day in order to remain balanced and healthy. There are many studies on this and the amount of protein that a person needs varies. Typically, the determining factors are biological sex and exercise and the current build of the persons body. Also, the more exercise that people do, the greater their general need for protein.
May Help Slow The Aging Process
The process of aging is largely attributed to oxidative stress and reduced metabolic function over the course of your lifespan .
Though aging is an unavoidable natural process, diet quality is thought to be a major player in determining genetic expression and development of age-related diseases .
Research shows that sulforaphane, a key bioactive compound in broccoli, may have the capacity to slow the biochemical process of aging by increasing the expression of antioxidant genes .
Still, more human research is needed to determine a cause-and-effect relationship between dietary intake of broccoli and its effect on the aging process.
Summary Sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, may be able to slow the aging process. More human research is needed to better understand this function.
Based On Weight And Activity
There are other ways to get a more specific protein goal that may take into account lean muscle mass and/or physical activity level.
The average adult needs a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds, so a person who weighs 165 pounds, or 75 kg, would need about 60 grams of protein per day.
However, your protein needs may increase if you are very active. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Dietitians of Canada suggest that athletes need more protein.
These organizations suggest that athletes consume between 1.2 grams and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, with endurance athletes at the lower end of this range and strength and power athletes at the higher end.
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Protein On A Vegetarian Diet
The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight
A genuine deficit of protein is difficult to achieve so although vegetarians and vegans generally dont have anything to worry about in this regard, its still good to know what your best sources of protein are. This is especially true because these foods also pack many vital micronutrients. Infact, research shows that this may be a more relevant question in regards to maintaining good health on a vegetarian or vegan diet. For example, iron is abundant in spinach but its far less easily absorbed by the body than if it were to come from meat. From a strictly culinary perspective, high protein plant foods can also fill the texture and flavor gap we often crave from meat and animal products. Expand both your knowledge and palate by incorporating any of these foods into your diet.