Protein Maintaining Muscle Mass As You Age
From around 50 years of age, humans begin to gradually lose skeletal muscle. This is known as sarcopenia and is common in older people. Loss of muscle mass is worsened by chronic illness, poor diet and inactivity.
Meeting the daily recommended protein intake may help you maintain muscle mass and strength. This is important for maintaining your ability to walk and reducing your risk of injury from falls.
To maintain muscle mass, its important for older people to eat protein effectively. This means consuming high-quality protein foods, such as lean meats.
The Best Foods For A High
The best high-protein breakfasts start with protein-rich foods. Our recipes below feature high-protein breakfast foods such as:
- nut butter
- protein powder
Read on to discover nearly three weeks’ worth of mouthwatering high-protein breakfasts that deliver exactly what your body needs for breakfast. Combine that with these best-ever ways to boost your metabolism and you’ll reach your body goals in no time!
Protein Punch: 24 gramsYou’ll Need: 2% Plain Greek Yogurt, fresh strawberries and blueberries, sugar, mint leaves, granola
Not only is this recipe great for breakfast, but it’s so decadent, you could even enjoy it for dessert! The protein in this recipe comes from two sources: the homemade granola contains 4 grams of protein per serving while 7 ounces of Greek yogurt contains 20 grams of protein.
“Greek yogurt has double the protein compared to traditional yogurt due to the straining process,” says Amidor. “In addition, it is low in lactose and a fermented food which provides live, active cultures that may act as probiotics and keep the gastrointestinal system healthy.” All the more reason to dig in!
Get our recipe for Greek Yogurt Parfaits.
Protein Payout: 24 gramsYou’ll Need: Black beans, eggs, feta cheese, salsa, avocado, cumin, lime, hot sauce, salt, pepper
Get our recipe for Black Bean Omelets.
The Health Benefits Of Protein
Protein gives you the energy to get up and goand keep going. While too much protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease, diabetes, and some other conditions, eating the right amount of high-quality protein:
- Keeps your immune system functioning properly, maintains heart health and your respiratory system, and speeds recovery after exercise.
- Is vital to the growth and development of children and for maintaining health in your senior years.
- Can help reduce your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Can help you think clearly and may improve recall.
- Can improve your mood and boost your resistance to stress, anxiety, and depression.
- May help you maintain a healthy weight by curbing appetite, making you feel full longer, and fueling you with extra energy for exercising.
As well as being imperative to feeling healthy and energetic, protein is also important to the way you look. Eating high-quality protein can help you maintain healthy skin, nails, and hair, build muscle, and maintain lean body mass while dieting.
While most people eating a Western diet get a sufficient quantity of protein each day, many of us are not getting the quality of protein we need.
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How Much Protein Do You Need
The recommended daily intake of protein is between 46-63 grams for most adults, with pregnant and lactating women needing up to 65 grams per day. The Daily Value for protein is set at 50 grams per day , which is an average that works for most people. Athletes or other people looking to build muscle mass may want to consume more protein.
High protein foods include lean chicken, lean pork, fish, lean beef, tofu, beans, lentils, low-fat yogurt, milk, cheese, seeds, nuts, and eggs.
Below is a list of healthy protein foods sorted by common serving size, use the protein nutrient ranking to sort by 100 gram or 200 calorie serving sizes. For more information, see the lists of vegetarian protein, high protein fruits, and high protein vegetables.
Egg Sandwich With Pastrami And Swiss
Protein Punch: 27 gramsYou’ll Need: Butter, pastrami, eggs, milk, salt, pepper, low-fat Swiss cheese, whole-wheat English muffins
While most breakfast sandwiches are filled with protein-packed meat, that doesn’t always mean those ingredient choices are the best in terms of calories or even your daily energy. In this recipe, we choose our ingredients with more care. The combination of pastrami and Swiss has long been confined to the realm of the lunchtime deli counter, but we think it works beautifully with soft scrambled eggsâespecially because pastrami trounces both sausage and bacon in the calorie department. Give it a try.
Get our recipe for our Egg Sandwich With Pastrami and Swiss.
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!
Why You Need Protein
Protein is vital for three major functions. It helps you grow and repair muscles and other soft tissues. It is also a building block of enzymes and hormones, which help regulate processes in your body. Thirdly, protein is a fuel that your body burns for energy.
Your bodys protein requirement depends on your weight. The average adult needs about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day . So, a 140-pound person needs around 50 grams of protein every day. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that protein make up between 10% to 35% of your daily calories.
Protein is the building block of numerous body parts, including:
Fish is also high in protein. Three ounces of Atlantic salmon contain 22 grams of protein, while the same amount of cod contains 19 grams.
Any kind of bird raised primarily for meat and eggs is considered poultry.
Chicken is one of the most common poultry sources of protein. A 3-ounce serving of chicken breast contains an impressive 26 grams of protein. Turkey has slightly less protein, with 25 grams in 3 ounces.
One serving of beans provides the same amount of protein as 1 ounce of meat about 7 grams. Beans also keep you full for longer because, unlike animal sources of protein, they are rich in fiber.
5. Dairy Products
Greek yogurt is another protein-rich dairy product. It contains two to three times the amount of protein in regular yogurt.
High Protein Meal Ideas
- Salads topped with crispy kale, turkey or chicken slices
- Vegetable and kidney bean stew with a tomato sauce
- Lean beef mince chilli filled with beans and chickpeas
- Grilled salmon paired with steamed vegetables and wild rice
- Red lentil and chicken soup
- Cottage cheese flavoured with herbs on top a jacket potato
- Baked tofu, with steamed broccoli and roasted chickpeas. Add a dash of tahini for a protein punch
Protein Rich Food For Vegans
Plenty of high protein food is vegan and some of the best sources of protein are not from animal products, for example beans and lentils. Making sure that your meals contain ingredients such as chickpeas, peanuts, tofu or soya alternatives to milk and yoghurts will help you to get the protein you need. Foods such as tofu scramble or porridge made with almond milk will help you to get your daily dose of protein, to boost the protein content of you meals even further add chia seeds or peanut butter. Find out more about protein for vegans here.
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What Foods Are In The Protein Foods Group
All foods made from seafood meat, poultry, and eggs beans, peas, and lentils and nuts, seeds, and soy products are part of the Protein Foods Group. Beans, peas, and lentils are also part of the Vegetable Group. For more information on beans, peas, and lentils see Beans, Peas, and Lentils are Unique Foods.
Select a wide variety of protein foods to get more of the nutrients your body needs and for health benefits. Meat and poultry choices should be lean or low-fat, like 93% lean ground beef, pork loin, and skinless chicken breasts. Choose seafood options that are higher in beneficial fatty acids and lower in methylmercury, such as salmon, anchovies, and trout. The advice to consume lean or low-fat meat and poultry and a variety of seafood does not apply to vegetarians. Vegetarian options in the Protein Foods Group include beans, peas, and lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy products.
Proteins Are Made Of Amino Acids
Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are about 20 different amino acids that link together in different combinations. Your body uses them to make new proteins, such as muscle and bone, and other compounds such as enzymes and hormones. It can also use them as an energy source.
Some amino acids can be made by your body there are 11 of these and theyre known as non-essential amino acids. There are nine amino acids that your body cannot make, and they are known as essential amino acids. You need to include enough of these in your diet so that your body can function.
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Is Chickpeas High In Protein
They are good sources of protein that and a plant-based protein that is great for vegans and vegetarians. Per 100g of chickpeas, it contains 19g protein which is great. This is especially impressive when you compare this to meat-based protein. For example, most meats contain 20-30g protein per 100g.
Chickpeas are a garbanzo bean that contains virtually no fat. Even if you eat meat, adding chickpeas to your diet can make a big difference.
Peanut Butter And Banana Oatmeal
Protein Punch: 14 gramsYou’ll Need: Oats, salt, bananas, peanut butter, almonds, agave syrup
We love this oatmeal with peanut butter and banana recipe for its good-for-you ingredients. It makes a healthy morning meal you can have ready in minutes. Adding two tablespoons of peanut butter to this recipe gives this oatmeal bowl the protein boost you’re looking for in the morning.
“One tablespoon of peanut butter provides about 90-100 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fat. Much of the fat is the heart-healthy unsaturated kind which also helps you feel full along with the protein,” says Amidor.
However, the quality of your peanut butter will also make a huge nutritional difference. Amidor recommends looking for the real deal made from peanuts and salt and skipping the reduced-fat varieties which tend to have the same calories or contain added sugars and artery-clogging saturated fats.
Get our recipe for Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal.
Protein Punch: 41 gramsYou’ll Need: Eggs, milk, chorizo, black beans, shredded taco cheese, avocado, salsa, burrito shells, hot sauce
Get our recipe for Chorizo Breakfast Burritos.
Protein Punch: 5 gramsYou’ll Need: Cashew butter, maple syrup, whole wheat bread, red apple, ground cinnamon
Get our recipe for Maple-Cashew-Apple Toast.
Protein Punch: 10 gramsYou’ll Need: Chia seeds, coconut milk, nonfat Greek yogurt, maple syrup, salt, fresh mango, coconut chips, macademia nuts
Get our recipe for Overnight Chia Pudding.
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Why Is It Important To Make Lean Or Low
Foods in the Protein Foods Group including meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, nuts, seeds, and soy products provide nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of your body. Many Americans meet the protein recommendations for meat, poultry, and eggs, but do not meet the recommendations for seafood or nuts, seeds, and soy products. Meeting the recommendations for these Protein Foods subgroups can help increase intake of important nutrients, including unsaturated fats, dietary fiber, and vitamin D and help to limit intake of sodium and saturated fats coming from processed meat and poultry.
Evaluate Overall Nutrition And Health Benefits
The type of protein you eat also matters and good nutrition is about more than hitting your daily macro goals. Meaning you should also be considering the essential nutrients the food may or may not provide, along with less desirable components like saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugar.
Each type of protein can vary widely in the nutrients and potential health benefits it provides.
Meat and poultry can contain some saturated fat, but they also provide iron, zinc, and B vitamins.
Fish and seafood contain healthy omega-3 fats, and can also increase your intake of zinc, iodine, vitamin D, and magnesium.
And lastly plant based protein can include fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and much more!
Including a variety of protein options is your best bet for getting the most well rounded nutrition.
Top 13 Lean Protein Foods You Should Eat
Protein is an essential part of a balanced diet, but sometimes its accompanied by more fat and calories than you want.
Fortunately, there are a variety of lean animal and plant sources of protein that will help you meet your quota.
The protein Reference Daily Intake for an adult who eats 2,000 calories a day is 50 grams, although some people can benefit from eating much more than that. Your individual calorie and protein needs are based on your age, weight, height, sex and activity level .
Beyond proteins essential roles in building and maintaining muscle and tissues in your body and helping regulate many body processes, it also promotes satiety and may help in managing your weight (
Here are 13 lean protein foods you should consider.
Nuts Seeds Legumes And Grains
Protein content: 30g
Ever wondered why pumpkins look so swole? Its because theyre full of pumpkin seeds and you should be too, because along with their impressive protein content, pumpkin seeds offer other nutritional riches in the shape of magnificent magnesium and zincy zinc.
Protein content: 25-28g
The underground legume is a fabulous source of protein, and if you steer clear of the roasted and salted varieties, its a fairly healthy snack. In peanut butter form youll get around 4g of protein per tablespoon.
Protein content: 21g
Along with their high protein content, almonds are also high in fibre and a great source of vitamin E, which is needed to maintain healthy skin and eyes.
Protein content: 20g
Find a friend because this is a prime fist-bump opportunity. Perhaps the tastiest nuts of all are plump with protein. Sure, theyre also pretty fatty and if you opt for the roasted and salted versions, salty as heck, but still, pistachios are on the list.
Protein content: 18g
Any open packet of mixed nuts is quickly picked clean of all the cashews. Is that because they are the tastiest of nuts or because theyre high in protein? Its probably the taste thing, but theyre protein-rich too.
Protein content: 17g
The most in-vogue seed around is chock-full of fibre and protein, and most of the fat it contains is of the good unsaturated variety.
Protein content: 15-17g
Protein content: 14g
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Beans Peas And Lentils
Both the high fiber and protein contents in pulses help make them more filling. Whats more, the fiber may lower your blood cholesterol if you eat pulses regularly .
In a review of 26 studies in 1,037 people, eating an average of 2/3 cup of cooked pulses daily for at least three weeks resulted in 7 mg/dL lower bad LDL cholesterol, compared to control diets that equaled a 5% reduction in LDL over time .
Notably, pulses are low in a few essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein in your body. However, by eating other plant protein sources over the course of a day, such as whole grains or nuts, youll fill in those gaps .
Summary Beans, peas and lentils are good sources of lean protein. Theyre also high in fiber and may help lower your cholesterol if you eat them regularly.
Enriched Almond Milk Is High In Vitamin D
Many people are low or deficient in vitamin D. This raises the risk of brittle bones, fatigue, and weak muscles .
There are few good sources of vitamin D in the human diet. Thats why a common public health strategy is to enrich certain foods with vitamin D. This especially applies to milk products.
Just like regular milk, almond milk often contains added vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D varies between products. For example, 1 cup of almond milk may contain 2.62 micrograms, which is 13% of your DV. A cup of vitamin-enriched cows milk contains similar amounts .
This makes enriched almond milk a useful source of vitamin D that can prevent deficiency if you consume it regularly.
Bottom line: Almond milk is often enriched with vitamin D, and consuming it often may help prevent vitamin D deficiency.
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