When it comes to improving nutrition & “eating better,” getting enough veggies & fruit is key 🔑 since 9 out of 10 of us don’t get enough. (The goal is 3 cups veggies + 2 cups fruit daily.) But then once you feel like you are making progress with that, quickly the next focus is…
Are you getting OPTIMAL PROTEIN?
👉WHY IS GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN IMPORTANT?
Eating enough protein is important because it keeps our muscles healthy along with many other whole body benefits such as:
✨ healthy aging
✨ muscle strength
✨ metabolic health
✨ mental clarity
✨ fewer cravings
✨ improved mood
✨ blood sugar support
✨ improved body composition
👉HOW MUCH PROTEIN IS OPTIMAL?
Experts recommend levels of protein for OPTIMAL HEALTH around 0.54 to 0.9 grams/pound body weight per day, which is about DOUBLE the general recommendation.
QUICK CALCULATION: HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO *YOU* NEED???
Take your body weight in pounds x 0.75 = your target AVERAGE PROTEIN grams/day.
👉WHAT DO I EAT TO GET ENOUGH PROTEIN?
A PROTEIN MIX of both animal and plant protein, aka Flexitarian, may be the easiest way for most people to achieve higher total daily protein for functional performance and strength. Here are estimates of protein amounts in various animal AND plant foods…
✨ ANIMAL-BASED PROTEIN FOODS
FISH 3 ounces, cooked = 19g
CHICKEN 3 ounces, cooked = 23g
TURKEY 3 ounces, cooked = 23g
BEEF 3 ounces, cooked = 22g
PORK 3 ounces, cooked = 23g
COTTAGE CHEESE 1/2 cup = 14g
GREEK YOGURT 1/2 cup = 14g
DAIRY MILK 1 cup = 8g
CHEESE 1 ounce = 7g
EGGS 1 = 7g
✨ PLANT-BASED PROTEIN FOODS
BEANS 1/2 cup, cooked = 7g
LENTILS 1/2 cup, cooked = 9g
EDAMAME 1/2 cup = 9g
TOFU 1/2 cup = 10g
TEMPEH 1/2 cup = 10g
NUTS 1/4 cup = 6g
SEEDS 1/4 cup = 7g
NUT/SEED BUTTER 2T = 7g
WHOLE GRAINS 1/2 cup, cooked = 4g
NUTRITIONAL YEAST 1T = 4g
SPIRULINA 1T = 4g
👉IDEAS FOR A PROTEIN BOOST AT MEALS & SNACKS
✨ add plain greek yogurt to your bowl of oatmeal
✨ make a batch of tuna/chicken/chickpea salad for quick lunches
✨ hard boil eggs for quick grab & go protein during the week
✨ eat clean jerky & fruit as a snack
✨ cook chicken breasts or tofu ahead for the week
✨ eat cottage cheese & fruit as a snack
✨ rinse a can of beans & store in the fridge, add to any salads
✨ buy pre-steamed lentils for quick taco night
✨ serve edamame as a dinner appetizer
✨ add plain kefir or protein powder to a smoothie
✨ keep nuts in your bag for emergency snacking
✨ make chocolate chia pudding as a treat
✨ sprinkle hemps seeds on apple slices
✨ add smoked salmon to avocado toast
Over the next 7 days, estimate the grams of protein at each of your meals & snacks to check how close you are to optimal levels. If you don’t enjoy math and numbers, just look 👀 to make sure each meal & snack has a protein food.