How to Eat More Protein
Protein is considered a “macronutrient,” meaning that our bodies generally require large amounts of it. This is because our bodies use protein to make everything from bones and hair to muscles and blood.However, unlike fats and carbohydrates, our bodies do not store protein, which makes it important to consistently keep proper amounts of protein in your diet.By learning what foods are high in protein and how to integrate them into your diet, you can easily begin eating more protein.
Adding More Protein to Your Diet
Add more seafood and lean meat to your diet.Seafood and poultry are two excellent sources of protein.They’re also healthier options than other forms of meat protein because they’re generally lower in fat.
- In addition to being a great source of protein, many seafood options, such as salmon, are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart.
- Dark meat poultry is slightly higher in fat than white meat. You should also remove the skin from poultry before cooking because it’s loaded with saturated fat.
- Pork tenderloin is another protein-rich white meat.It is less lean than poultry but still leaner than red meat.
Choose lean beef.When you do have a dish that calls for beef, ensure that you use lean beef. Lean cuts are generally only 1g higher in saturated fat than skinless chicken, and they’re still a great source of protein.Some examples of lean cuts of beef include top round, sirloin, flank steak, and 93% ground beef. A 3.5 oz serving of lean beef has 10g or less of fat, 4.5g or less of saturated fat, and less than 95mg of cholesterol.
- In addition to a source of protein, lean cuts of beef also contain zinc, iron, and vitamin B12.
- Look for the terms “loin” or “round” to help pick out lean cuts of beef.
Increase the amount of low-fat dairy in your diet.Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all good sources of dietary protein.Full-fat options can carry heavy calorie counts, though, so always opt for low-fat options (such as 1% or skim milk) to maximize the amount of protein while minimizing calories.
- Dairy products are also a great source of calcium and many are fortified with vitamin D.
- Try strained Greek or Icelandic yogurt for a higher protein snack. Each 6 oz serving has about 14g protein, compared to 10g in low-fat yogurt.
Eat more eggs.If you’re looking to add more protein on a budget, eggs are one of the least expensive sources of protein you can find.The American Heart Association even says that healthy adults can safely add an egg to their diet every day.
- As with dairy products, you can also maximize protein while minimizing fat based on how you eat the eggs. Egg whites contain nearly 50% of the protein in the entire egg while containing almost no fat,so consider separating the egg white from the yolk when eating eggs. Purchasing a carton of egg whites can also be a good option. Be sure to read the label to make sure it is 100% egg whites, since some brands add salt.
Add more beans to your diet.Beans are a great source of protein for any diet, and they’re also loaded with fiber and other nutrients that keep you feeling full, which makes them a perfect substitute for red meat in a number of dishes, including chili and tacos.1/2 cup of beans even contains as much protein as a full ounce of broiled steak.
Eat more soy.Soy is another great source of protein, and it’s lower in fat than many other sources, which makes it a heart-healthy option.
Keep nuts as a snack.Almonds, cashews, and pistachios are all relatively low-calorie nuts at approximately 160 calories per ounce.These options also contain between 5-6g of protein in the same serving size as well as beneficial fiber, making them a great protein-rich snack that’s much healthier for you than something sugary and processed.
- Avoid nuts coated in salts or packaged/roasted in oils. Raw or dry roasted nuts are the best options for maximizing protein while minimizing calories.
Consider a protein supplement or powder.If you are protein deficient or extremely physically active, consider a protein supplement. Many grocery stores sell affordable protein bars or protein powders that you can add to smoothies, shakes, cereal, and other foods.
- Check the label on the product to ensure that it contains at least 6g of protein per serving and that it is low in both sugar and fat.
Calculating How Much Protein You Need
Determine how much protein you need based on your age.Many people assume that the more protein they can pack into their diet, the better. However, there are establish daily recommendations for how much protein someone’s diet should include. The easiest breakdown for this is by age.
- Children ages 1–3: 13 grams
- Children ages 4–8: 19g
- Children ages 9–13: 34g
- Girls ages 14–18: 46g
- Boys ages 14–18: 52g
- Women ages 19–70+: 46g (71g if pregnant or breastfeeding)
- Men ages 19–70+: 56g
Look up the amount of protein in common foods.When considering protein in this manner, it helps to know how much protein is in certain common foods.
- 1 cup of milk has 8 grams of protein
- A 3-ounce piece of meat has about 21 grams of protein
- 1 cup of cooked beans has about 16 grams of protein
- An 8-ounce container of yogurt has about 11 grams of protein
Calculate protein requirements as a portion or your daily diet.Seeing protein listed in grams can be hard to visualize. Another way to see it is that your daily amount of protein should constitute between 10-35% of your caloric intake.
Determine whether you have special additional requirements.Athletes and the elderly may need more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance for individuals in their age groups to maintain muscle health and proper skeletal function. Ask a health professional or dietitian to help you calculate your daily needs if you are highly active, over the age of 65, or have a metabolic or kidney condition.
Evaluate your current diet.Depending on your current diet, you may already consume adequate protein, even for an active lifestyle. Write down the type and quantity of foods you eat every day for a week (including snacks, drinks, and supplements). If they have an ingredient label, calculate the grams of protein in the serving you consume; otherwise, look up the probable amount of protein in a food through the or an online ingredient tool.
Start to read nutrition labels.Getting accustomed to the quantity of protein in common foods, such as milk, can help you plan your daily menu to ensure adequate protein intake. If you are concerned about sufficient protein intake, opt for foods fortified with protein, such as energy bars or specialty athletic drinks.
Incorporate plant- or animal-based proteins at each meal.Consuming a variety of foods can help you achieve your daily protein needs with little additional meal planning, particularly if you do eat animal products. Obtaining the recommended number of servings for dairy, grains, vegetables, and lean protein (such as fish or chicken) every day should provide more than sufficient protein for the average person’s needs.
QuestionTo get more protein, is it better to cook an egg or eat it raw?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't eat a raw egg, it contains salmonella and you could get very sick. You'll get just as much protein eating a cooked egg.Thanks!
QuestionHow many grams of protein do you get from the whites of two eggs?Top AnswererA single egg white has about 3.6 grams of protein, so 2 egg whites contain about 7.2 grams of protein. If you really want to maximize the amount of protein you get out of your eggs, keep the yolks. An entire egg contains 6 grams of protein, eating 2 eggs gives you 12 grams of protein. The yolk will not increase your cholesterol and will not harm you. In fact, the yolk contains choline, a vitamin we need in our lives.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I eat to get my 20 grams of protein every morning?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerLook for different protein sources. Eggs, meat, dairy, tofu and beans are some examples of good protein sources. Count your proteins -- that is the only way to make sure you get 20 grams every morning.Thanks!
QuestionWill this make my hair grow?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHair needs protein and other nutrients to grow, so adding more protein to your diet might help. Make sure you get enough vitamins and minerals, eat healthy and drink enough water. If your hair still does not grow, there are other options, but good nutrition is important so hair stays healthy and strong.Thanks!
QuestionDo onions have protein?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerOne medium onion (100 g) has about 1.2 g of protein.Thanks!
QuestionIs it possible to have a mix of proteins (like fish with eggs) for a meal?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, that is possible!Thanks!
QuestionWhat else can I eat if I am allergic to nuts?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry beans, seeds and meat. Even dairy products, vegetables and grains can contain protein. Try protein supplements and powders for an easy way to add protein to your diet. If you still aren't sure about what to eat, ask a nutrition specialist.Thanks!
How much protein should I eat in a day to gain a lot of muscle in a month?
- Research has shown that including a source of protein (an egg or Greek yogurt) at breakfast along with a high-fiber grain, such as whole wheat toast, can help you feel full longer and eat less throughout the day.
- Don’t sacrifice other nutrients for the sake of increasing protein in your diet. Above all, a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables as well as the above suggestions is ideal.
- In some cases, it is possible to consume too much protein, which can cause certain health problems or lead to weight gain.
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