How To Get Enough Protein In Your Diet

Animal Proteins Are Most Bioavailable

How to Get Enough Protein On a Vegan Diet

This means that the proteins you get from animal products are the most easily absorbed and used by your body. For instance, 20 grams of protein from eggs deliver more of a protein punch than the same quantity of protein from plant sources. This doesnt mean you cant get the protein you need from non-animal sources. It just means that if you eat protein from animal sources, your body can more easily harness it.

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Protein

  • Protein is an important building block for the body.
  • Protein helps us feel full and satisfied after eating.
  • Protein can help with weight loss by reducing appetite and cravings.
  • Protein can help improve your mood, energy levels, and sleep quality.
  • Eating protein at breakfast keeps us fuller longer throughout the day.
  • Eating protein before a workout will give you more energy to power through it.
  • You Don’t Start The Day With Protein

    “Many Americans think breakfast is only full of carbohydrate-rich foods and therefore tend to skip the meal,”Tawnie Graham, RDN, tells, adding that many people aren’t sure how to include protein in their morning meal.

    There are many benefits to including protein at breakfast, one of which is weight control. “A high-protein breakfast can help promote weight loss and/or prevent weight gain or regain,” says Su-Nui Escobar, RDN. “One key factor is the improvement in appetite control and satiety.”

    A study compared a 350-calorie cereal-based breakfast with a 350-calorie high-protein breakfast and found that the higher-protein meal was associated with reduced hunger and feeling more full, per the April 2013 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.“The high-protein breakfast led to daily reductions in the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, increases in the satiety hormone PYY and reductions in evening snacking particularly of high-fat foods compared with skipping breakfast,” Escober explains.

    Read more:14 Protein-Packed Breakfasts to Power You Through the Morning

    Fix It

    Add eggs into your breakfast routine! An egg scramble with beans and cheese is a great way to boost protein intake at breakfast, says Graham. She also recommends oatmeal with egg whites or adding a poached egg, kale and sautéed onions to your oats for a savory option. Need another choice besides eggs? Graham suggests pairing cottage cheese and fruit.

    Read Also: Can I Order Ideal Protein Online

    Can You Actually Build Muscle While You Sleep

    When we bulk up in response to resistance training, its because theres a net gain of new muscle growth. Squats break down quads, which respond by rebuilding themselves bigger and strongera process that protein amplifies. But like other scientists, van Loon once believed this occurred only when we were awake. Then three years ago, he met with a few colleagues at a bar and after too many beers, as he puts it, we thought, What happens if we give people protein during sleep? Scientists had never considered whether protein could be metabolized at night, or if it could, whether muscle synthesis would occur.

    When you eat protein, its amino acids are dispatched to various tissuesmuscle, organ, bonewhere theyre used to repair and rebuild cells. But to determine what happens at night, van Loon had to pinpoint the exact where and when of this process. So at a university animal research facility in the Netherlands, he rigged a Holstein cow with intravenous tubing and pumped in $40,000 worth of chemical compounds called tracers that allow scientists to follow them throughout the body. From the cows milk, van Loon derived a protein supplement he could give to human test subjects and then track the amino acids throughout their bodies. I could see the digestion and absorption, how much of the protein becomes available in the circulation, and how much of what you eat lands in the muscle over a few hours, he explains.

    Its All About The Protein Package

    How to Make Sure Youâre Getting Enough Protein in Your ...

    When we eat foods for protein, we also eat everything that comes alongside it: the different fats, fiber, sodium, and more. Its this protein package thats likely to make a difference for health.

    The table below shows a sample of food packages sorted by protein content, alongside a range of components that come with it.

    To call out a few examples:

    • A 4-ounce broiled sirloin steak is a great source of proteinabout 33 grams worth. But it also delivers about 5 grams of saturated fat.
    • A 4-ounce ham steak with 22 grams of protein has only 1.6 grams of saturated fat, but its loaded with 1,500 milligrams worth of sodium.
    • 4 ounces of grilled sockeye salmon has about 30 grams of protein, naturally low in sodium, and contains just over 1 gram of saturated fat. Salmon and other fatty fish are also excellent sources of omega-3 fats, a type of fat thats especially good for the heart.
    • A cup of cooked lentils provides about 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber, and it has virtually no saturated fat or sodium.

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    Getting Or Staying Sick

    Amino acids in your blood help your immune system make antibodies that activate white blood cells to fight off viruses, bacteria, and toxins. You need protein to digest and absorb other nutrients that keep you healthy. There’s also evidence that protein can change the levels of disease-fighting “good” bacteria in your gut.

    Add Hummus To A Sandwich

    Forget the fattening mayonnaise and cheese you can satisfy your need for something super creamy by spreading hummus on your sandwich instead. The chickpeas in your hummus are packed full of protein, and the flavorful herbs and garlic can be added to give your sandwich some zingwithout the grease and fat. To make your own hummus at home, check out our 11 Tips for Making the Perfect Homemade Hummus!

    Read Also: What Is The Best Protein Powder To Add To Smoothies

    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.

    Protein Intake How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day

    Plant-based Protein – How to get enough protein on a plant-based diet

    Few nutrients are as important as protein. Not getting enough of it will affect your health and body composition.

    However, opinions regarding how much protein you need vary.

    Most official nutritional organizations recommend a fairly modest protein intake.

    The DRI is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

    This amounts to:

    • 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man
    • 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman

    This may be enough to prevent deficiency, but the amount you need depends on many factors, including your activity level, age, muscle mass, physique goals, and overall health.

    This article examines the optimal amounts of protein and how lifestyle factors like weight loss, muscle building, and activity levels factor in.

    Proteins are the main building blocks of your body. Theyre used to make muscles, tendons, organs, and skin, as well as enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and various molecules that serve many important functions.

    Proteins consist of smaller molecules called amino acids, which link together like beads on a string. These linked amino acids form long protein chains, which then fold into complex shapes.

    Your body produces some of these amino acids, but you must obtain others known as essential amino acids via your diet.

    Protein is not only about quantity but also quality.

    If youre eating animal products like meat, fish, eggs, or dairy every day, youre likely getting enough protein.

    Protein is important when it comes to losing weight.

    Recommended Reading: How Do You Get Protein

    Sneaky Ways To Get More Protein Without Meat

    This post was written by Chris Freytag, fitness trainer, health coach, and author. The opinions expressed herein are hers and hers alone. To learn more about Chris, check out her websiteand follow her on or . There are plenty of misconceptions about vegetarians and vegans and I should know. My family consists of one vegan, three carnivores, and me, a flexitarian whos mostly vegetarian but occasionally eats chicken or fish. Because we dont always eat meat, my family has been the subject of many of the misunderstandings about vegetarians especially the idea that its impossible to get enough protein while eating a meatless diet. People have even mentioned to me that vegetarians cant build muscle like meat eaters because they are protein-deficient. In truth, vegetarians can certainly get enough protein in their diets, especially with a little planning. Meat-abstainers and carnivores alike can sneak more protein into meals by following these easy six strategies throughout the day. Also be sure to check out my recipes for Spicy Black Bean Burgers and Hummus, below!

    Can You Eat Too Much Protein

    For most of us, our daily protein requirements are easily achieved by a healthy, balanced diet. The Department of Health advises adults to avoid consuming more than twice the recommended daily intake of protein . This is because, in the long term, consuming too much protein might lead to health issues such as an increased risk of osteoporosis and a worsening of an existing kidney problem. However, research in this area is mixed and it is likely that other factors may influence outcome, such as whether the protein is of animal or vegetable origin and how balanced the diet is in terms of vitamins and minerals.

    One of the main issues with our Western diet is that often, our breakfasts and lunches are low in protein but high in carbohydrates, with a protein-packed evening meal. It is better to aim to spread your protein intake out throughout the day. Try our suggestions for high protein breakfasts, high protein lunches and high protein dinners.

    Read Also: How Much Protein Should You Eat On Keto

    What Does Protein Do In The Body

    Protein is present in every body cell, and an adequate protein intake is important for keeping the muscles, bones, and tissues healthy.

    Protein plays a role in many bodily processes, including:

    • blood clotting
    • seeds
    • soy products

    Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, also contain protein. Whole grains and vegetables contain some protein, but generally less than other sources.

    Animal products tend to contain higher amounts of protein than plant foods, so people following a vegetarian diet or a vegan diet may need to plan their meals to ensure they meet their protein needs.

    The FDA advise that people can tell if a food product is high or low in protein by checking the label.

    Foods that provide 5% or less of a personâs daily value are considered low in protein.

    Foods with 20% DV or more are considered high in protein.

    A person does not need to consume foods containing all the essential amino acids at each meal because their body can use amino acids from recent meals to form complete proteins. Eating a variety of protein foods throughout the day is the best way for a person to meet their daily protein needs.

    male adult aged 19+56 g

    Many factors can affect how much protein a person needs, including their activity level, weight, height, and whether they are pregnant.

    Other variables include the proportion of amino acids available in specific protein foods and the digestibility of individual amino acids.

    Try Savory Protein Powder

    10 Ways to Eat Your Daily Protein

    You can add protein powder to more things than just smoothies! health coach Michelle Gindi says. Ive had great success adding protein powder to my morning pancakes and some granola bars, which is a sneaky and delicious way to get in more protein! Ive even stirred some protein powder into vegetable soup for an all-in-one meal.

    Read Also: What Are The Best Tasting Protein Powders

    Smoked Salmon And Boursin Cheese Frittata

    Protein Punch: 16 gramsYou’ll Need: Eggs, 2% milk, light sour cream, kosher salt, pepper, diced red onion, light Boursin cheese, smoked salmon, extra-virgin olive oil, chives

    It’s no secret that eggs are the classic protein-packing breakfast many people turn to each day to kickstart their morning. While mastering the art of creating the perfect scramble is always commendable, there are plenty of other ways to cook up eggs for an even more filling meal. That’s where our smoked salmon frittata with Boursin cheese comes into play. This recipe is easy to make and ready in just a few minutes.

    Protein Punch: 10 gramsYou’ll Need: Eggs, 2% milk, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, turkey or chicken sausage, salt, pepper, frozen pie crust

    Most quiches suffer the burden of excessive amounts of heavy cream and cheese. This quiche dispenses with the heavy dose of dairy fat and instead gets its flavor and substance from antioxidant-dense sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and lean protein-packed chicken sausage.

    Get our recipe for Artichoke Feta Quiche.

    Protein Punch: 20 gramsYou’ll Need: Canned chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, yellow onion, rosemary, salt, mushrooms and asparagus

    Protein Punch: 12 gramsYou’ll Need: Rolled-cut oats, milk, peanut butter, maple syrup, chia seeds

    Get our recipe for Peanut Butter Overnight Oats.

    Protein Punch: 22 gramsYou’ll Need: Ezekiel toast, peanut butter, chia seeds, honey, banana

    Eat This, Not That!

    Eat Your Protein First

    When eating a meal, eat the protein source first, especially before you get to the starches.

    Protein increases the production of peptide YY , a gut hormone that makes you feel full and satisfied .

    In addition, a high protein intake decreases levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and increases your metabolic rate after eating and during sleep .

    Whats more, eating protein first can help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels from rising too high after a meal.

    In one small study, people with type 2 diabetes were served identical meals on different days. Blood sugar and insulin rose significantly less when they consumed protein and vegetables before eating high carb foods, compared with when the order was reversed .


    Eating protein first at meals can help you feel full and keep your blood sugar and insulin levels from rising too high.

    Also Check: What Types Of Food Have Protein

    Struggling To Cook Healthy We’ll Help You Prep

    Some say Americans get adequate or even too much protein others argue we could safely eat more than whats recommended .

    If youre looking to up your protein intake, that doesn’t necessarily translate to eat more meat. Plus, youre likely aware of ways to add meat-based protein to your diet with beef, chicken, turkey, seafood, etc. Though animal-based protein delivers all of the essential amino acids we need, you can absolutely get sufficient protein from plant-based sources.

    Aim To Get Protein At Every Meal

    How to Get Enough PROTEIN From an ALKALINE DIET

    A daily intake goal of 60+ grams of protein may seem daunting, but including small amounts throughout the day makes it a lot more manageable. Try to incorporate at least a bit into every meal and snack you have throughout the day, and you won’t feel overwhelmed trying to get all your protein in at once when dinner rolls around. You’ll also have more energy and fewer cravings throughout the day.

    If you’re looking to better support your body through proper protein consumption, check Agape Nutrition’s wide range of protein powders and products, including plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.

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    How To Get More Protein In Your Diet

    In the United States, people get most of their protein from animal sources, such as meat, fish, and eggs. People who follow a vegan diet must make sure they eat enough plant-based protein to get the nutrients they need and meet their dietary requirements. Here are some simple ways to boost your protein intake and make sure youre maintaining a healthy diet:

    • Try to aim for at least the size of a deck of cards of protein per meal
    • Aim for lean protein sources
    • Egg whites, eggs, chicken, fish, shellfish, pork
    • Have a serving of protein with your snack
    • Apple and peanut butter

    You Take In Too Much At A Time

    Forking into a thick steak or chugging a protein shake with 40 or 50 grams of protein in one sitting is, unfortunately, not as effective as you might think, says Paige Penick, RDN. “Your body just can’t use that much protein at once.”

    According to research, 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per meal or about 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal is optimal and is the maximal amount your muscles can absorb at once, per a February 2018 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Any more provides no additional benefit and excess protein is broken down to glucose or triglycerides for energy storage in muscle or fat.

    Dietitian Lisa C. Andrews, MEd, RD, calls getting too much protein in one meal the “shake mistake.””Clients often think they should refuel with a protein shake after a long workout and forgo having carbohydrates. Protein alone won’t replace glycogen in the absence of carbohydrates.”

    Bottom line: “Protein doesn’t give you energy and excessive protein isn’t always the best for our health,” Graham says. “Protein is for maintaining and building muscles, as well as replacing other needed protein in the body.”

    Fix It

    Spread your protein consumption throughout the day, and stick to 25 or 30 grams max each time you eat, says Penick.

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