Protein – Everything You Need to Know and Then Some
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that protein should be an essential part of your diet.
But what you may not know or understand is exactly how much protein you should be eating per day, where to find it and why exactly it’s so important.
Why it’s important:
Proteins are the building blocks to our bodies which are made up of amino acids.
When all 9 essential amino acids are found in protein, that makes it “complete”.
It is vital, no matter what your goals are, to consume a complete protein in every single meal, including snacks.
Our bodies need protein for:
- Tissue repair/Growth
- Immune system function
- Formation of hormones and enzymes (healthy hair, nails & skin)
- Preservation of lean muscle mass
By making protein a big part of your daily diet, you are ensuring the health of your metabolism, improving recovery after a workout, and improving muscle mass which in turn burns body fat.
When you do not consume enough protein, the body resorts to breaking down it’s own proteins from muscle in order to meet it’s demand.
When you lose muscle mass, your metabolism slows therefor fat loss stalls.
Who Needs It?
Everyone needs protein. If you don’t understand why, read the previous section again.
Ladies, if you want your hair to stop falling out, if you want your nails to grow easier and stronger, if you want energy that lasts the entire day, than eat your protein.
If you want to “get toned” (if you know me, you know I hate that phrase) than eat your protein.
If you want to burn fat, eat your protein.
Point concluded – eat your protein!!!
You will not get “bulky” just by eating protein or drinking protein shakes.
(Read I Don’t Want to ‘Get Big’ for more info)
You could research all day trying to figure out exactly how much protein you should eat per day and you’ll find lots of different answers.
Just to give you some parameters, I recommend consuming somewhere between .8x your body weight and 1.4x your lean muscle mass. Anywhere within that range is going to be a great start rather your striving for fat loss, muscle gains or just overall balanced health.
Assuming you’re eating 5 meals a day, a good minimum average for females is about 20-25g per meal (100-125g a day) and 35-40g per male (175-200g a day).
If you’re trying to build muscle, you might need a little more than that (along with a hefty amount of carbs and fats added in at the right pace).
If you eat less than 5 meals a day, than you need to have more protein per meal.
Where to find it:
Here’s a list of just a few foods that you can find your complete proteins in, how many grams each food has per serving, and what a serving size is considered to be.
So if you need 25 grams of protein per meal, than you need to have about 4oz of chicken at a time, or 1 cup of cottage cheese, or 9oz of yogurt or 1 scoop of whey protein powder.
– Counting macros requires math.
A lot of people have a misconception that foods like peanut butter, quinoa and almonds are considered a protein. While these foods do have protein in them, they are not a complete protein because they do not have all 9 essential amino acids.
For example, peanut butter per serving has about 16g of fat, 7g of carbs, and 7g of protein. Because it has more fat in it than anything else, it’s considered a fat in terms of the 3 macronutrients (proteins, carbs, fats).
Ground turkey that’s 93/7% has about 5.5g of protein, 2g of fat, and 0 carbs per serving. Because it has more protein in it than carbs or fats, it’s under the protein category.
Now it’s time to put it all together and make meals out of those high protein foods.
Listed below are just a few examples of ways I myself like to put meals together.
All meals include a complete protein along with a balanced amount of carbohydrates and fats.
*Sidenote – While it’s okay to receive protein coming from a whey source a couple times a day, I recommend that 2-3 of your meals include a meat and/or diary source.
Breakfast – 2 eggs, + 2 servings of egg whites + 2 slices of Ezekiel bread + 1 TBSP of sugar free jelly (total macros = 25p/23c/9f).
On the go option – Protein Shake: 1 scoop protein powder + 1 TBSP peanut butter + 1 small banana (total macros = 30p/28c/8f).
Morning Snack – 1 cup of low fat cottage cheese + 1 cup of strawberries + 1/4 serving of almonds (total macros = 26p/22c/9f).
Lunch – 4oz of sliced deli turkey + 1 slice of lot fat cheese + sliced green bell peppers + walden farms 0 cal dressing + 1 extreme wellness high fiber tortilla wrap + 1 serving of sugar snap peas + 2 TBSP of humus (total macros = 31p/30c/10f).
Afternoon Snack – 8oz of non-fat plain greek yogurt + 1/2 cup multi grain cheerios (instead of granola to cut back on sugar intake) + 1/2 serving of pistachios (total macros = 26p/24c/8f)
Dinner – 3oz of filet + 3oz of white potatoes + 1/4 TBSP of grass fed butter + 2 cups of steamed broccoli (total macros = 28p/26c/8f).
The meal examples listed above are based off of a flexible dieting approach and are just a general way shown on how to balance meals in terms of proteins carbs and fats.
These macro totals are not a number across the board that will guarantee success for all.
Understanding just exactly how many grams of proteins, carbs and fats that your body needs will help you take things to the next level on your fitness journey.
By signing up for one of my online nutrition programs, not only will you learn how to count macros in general, but you’ll also learn the exact amount that your body needs to reach your personal fitness goals.
To learn more about how my online programs work, read 6 Steps to Training with Dani Online or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.