The Complete Guide to Protein Intake and How Much You Really Need

The Complete Guide to Protein Intake and How Much You Really Need

Introduction: What is Protein and Why is it Important?

Protein is an essential macronutrient in the human diet. It is a building block of the body and helps to maintain muscle mass, regulate blood sugar levels, and synthesize hormones.

Protein can be found in many different types of food sources such as meat, eggs, dairy products, beans and peas. Protein can also be found in plant-based foods like vegetables and soy products.

How Much Protein Should You Eat Daily?

Protein is an essential component for the body. The human body needs protein for a variety of functions, including the production of enzymes and hormones, the formation of tissues, and cell growth. However, it can be difficult to know how much protein you need per day.

The amount of protein that you need depends on your age, weight and activity level. Generally speaking, most people need about 0.36 grams per pound of body weight each day to maintain their muscle mass. So if you weigh 140 pounds (63 kilograms), then you would need about 54 grams of protein a day.

What are the Benefits of Eating Moderate Proteins?

Eating moderate protein is good for your health. It helps in weight loss, reduces the risk of diabetes, and improves your mood.

It is also important to know that eating too much or too little proteins can have negative effects on your health. Eating too much proteins can lead to obesity and kidney problems while eating too little proteins can lead to osteoporosis and heart disease.

How to Make Sure Your Kids Eat Their Daily Protein Intake

It is essential to make sure that your kids eat enough protein. Protein is an essential nutrient that helps build strong muscles and bones. Many children are not getting enough protein in their diet due to a number of factors such as lack of access, lack of knowledge about the importance of protein, or a lack of resources for purchasing food.

Some children may not be getting enough protein because they are eating too much instead. They may be eating more than the recommended daily intake which can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.

Here are 13 lean protein foods to consider.

Most white-fleshed fish are quite lean and excellent protein sources, providing less than 3 grams of fat, 20–25 grams of protein, and 85–130 calories per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) plain, cooked serving (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).

Examples of very lean white fish include cod, haddock, grouper, halibut, tilapia, and bass (6).

These white fish generally have only 10–25% as many omega-3 fatty acids as higher fat, higher calorie, darker-fleshed fish such as coho and sockeye salmon. Therefore, it’s a good idea to eat both types of fish (7, 8Trusted Source).

A convenient way to buy plain fish fillets is in the frozen food section of your supermarket. If you move the fillets from your freezer to the refrigerator first thing in the morning, they’ll be thawed and ready to cook for your evening meal.


White-fleshed fish such as cod and halibut are excellent sources of hunger-satisfying protein with little fat and relatively few calories, but other types of fish, such as salmon, have higher amounts of healthy omega-3 fats.

A 6-ounce (170-gram) serving of Greek yogurt packs 15–20 grams of protein, compared with only 9 grams in a serving of regular yogurt (9Trusted Source).

This is because of how Greek yogurt is made. It’s strained to remove the liquid whey, leaving a more concentrated product that has more protein and is thicker and creamier (9Trusted Source).

If you’re looking for the least calories and fat, opt for plain nonfat Greek yogurt, which has less than 2 grams of fat per 156-gram serving (10Trusted Source).

Low fat plain Greek yogurt, which has about 3 grams of fat and 125 calories per 6-ounce serving, is also a good choice. By opting for plain, you skip the unnecessary sweeteners and can add your own fruit (11Trusted Source).


Plain nonfat or low fat Greek yogurt contains about twice as much protein per serving as regular yogurt. It also contains much less sugar.

Dry beans, peas, and lentils, also called pulses, are a subgroup of legumes. They average 8 grams of protein per 1/2-cup (100-gram) cooked serving and are low in fat and high in fiber (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

The high fiber and protein content in pulses helps make them more filling. What’s more, the fiber may help lower your blood cholesterol if you eat pulses regularly (13Trusted Source).

In a review of 26 studies in 1,037 people, eating an average of 2/3 cup (130 grams) of cooked pulses daily for at least 3 weeks resulted in about a 7 mg/dL reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol compared with control diets. That equaled an almost 5% reduction in LDL over time (14Trusted Source).

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 and nuts, you can fill in those gaps (13Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).


Beans, peas, and lentils are good sources of lean protein. They’re also high in fiber and may help lower your cholesterol if you eat them regularly.

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked chicken or turkey breast has around 30 grams of protein (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).

Skip dark meat cuts such as drumsticks and thighs to get the leanest meat. White meat includes the breasts, breast tenderloins (tenders), and wings.

If you’re looking to limit calories and fat, try to avoid the skin — 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of roasted chicken breast with skin has 200 calories and 8 grams of fat, while the same amount of skinless roasted chicken breast has around 161 calories and 3.5 grams of fat (17Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

You can remove the skin either before or after cooking — the fat savings are virtually the same either way. Typically, poultry cooked with the skin intact is moister (20Trusted Source).


White meat chicken and turkey, particularly the breasts, are rich in protein and low in fat if you remove the skin either before or after cooking.

Cottage cheese is a high protein, low fuss food.

A 1-cup (226-gram) serving of low fat (2% milk fat) cottage cheese has 163 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and 28 grams of protein (21Trusted Source).

The newest trends in cottage cheese include single-serve containers, flavored options, and the addition of live and active probiotic cultures.

Besides protein, you get around 10–15% of the RDI for calcium in 1/2 cup of cottage cheese. Some food scientists have recently suggested that manufacturers add vitamin D, which aids calcium absorption, though this is not currently common practice (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).


Low fat cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein and is becoming even more convenient with the increased availability of single-serving containers. It’s also a good source of calcium.

6. Tofu

Tofu is an especially viable protein option if you are trying to avoid animal foods. A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of tofu has 71 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, and 9 grams of protein, including sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids (23Trusted Source).

Tofu comes in different textures, which you can choose from based on how you plan to use it. For example, use firm or extra-firm tofu in place of meat that you’d bake, grill, or saute and soft or silken tofu in creamy soups or desserts.

If you’re not 100% sold on tofu, edamame and tempeh are two other whole food sources of soy that are high in protein and relatively low in calories and fat.

Note that about 95% of soybeans produced in the United States are genetically modified (GM). If you prefer to avoid GM foods, you can buy organic tofu — organic foods cannot be genetically modified (24Trusted Source, 25, 26).


Tofu is a good source of plant protein that provides adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids and is very versatile in recipes.

Lean cuts of beef are those with less than 10 grams of total fat and no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) cooked serving (27).

If you’re buying fresh beef that doesn’t have a nutrition label, certain words, such as “loin” and “round,” tell you the meat is lean. For example, sirloin and tenderloin steaks, eye of round roast, and round steak are all lean (28).

When it comes to ground beef, opt for something that’s at least 90% lean. A 4-ounce (113-gram) cooked hamburger patty made with 95% ground beef has 155 calories, 5.6 grams of total fat (including 2.4 grams of saturated fat), and 24 grams of protein (28, 29Trusted Source).

What’s more, a serving of lean beef is an excellent source of several B vitamins, zinc, and selenium (29Trusted Source).


Lean beef is generally signaled by the word “loin” or “round.” If buying ground beef, try to find something that’s at least 90% lean. Lean beef is an excellent source of protein and also packs B vitamins, zinc, and selenium.

The natural oil in peanut butter is heart-healthy but can pack a lot of calories. Just 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of regular peanut butter have about 200 calories and 16 grams of fat, along with 7 grams of protein (30Trusted Source).

A lower calorie option is unsweetened powdered peanut butter. Most of its fat is pressed out during processing. A 2-tablespoon serving has just 45 calories and 1 gram of fat but 4 grams of protein (31Trusted Source).

To use the powder like peanut butter, mix it with a little water at a time until it reaches a similar consistency to regular peanut butter. Keep in mind that it won’t be quite as creamy.

Reconstituted powdered peanut butter works especially well for dipping apples, bananas, or even dark chocolate. Alternatively, you can mix the dry powder into smoothies, shakes, oatmeal, or pancake or muffin batter to add a punch of flavor and protein.


Powdered peanut butter is a convenient protein source that has just a fraction of the calories and fat of regular peanut butter.

Whether you drink it, cook with it, or add it to cereal, low fat milk is an easy way to get protein.

A 1-cup serving of low fat milk with 1% milk fat has 8 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 105 calories. In comparison, a serving of whole milk with 3.25% milk fat has the same amount of protein but 146 calories and about 8 grams of fat (32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source).

Clearly, opting for low fat milk will save you calories and fat. However, some recent studies suggest that drinking whole milk may not increase heart disease risk, as was once thought, and may even help with weight management (34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).

However, more studies need to be done in both areas before any conclusions can be made. If you aren’t sure which dairy milk option is best for you, especially if you’re already living with high cholesterol or heart disease, talk it over with a doctor or a registered dietitian.


Low fat milk is a good source of protein and can save you a significant amount of fat and calories compared with whole milk, especially if you consume it often.

A handful of pork cuts meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of “lean,” which means less than 10 grams of fat and no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) cooked serving (27).

The keywords that indicate lean pork are “loin” and “chop.” Therefore, lean cuts include pork tenderloin, pork (loin) chops, and pork top loin or sirloin roasts (28).

Pork tenderloin, the leanest cut, has 123 calories, 23 grams of protein, and about 2 grams of fat per 4-ounce (113-gram) cooked serving (36Trusted Source).

Before cooking pork, trim off any fat around the edges. You can use low fat cooking methods, such as grilling or broiling, if you’re looking to cut back on fat and calories.

Like lean beef, lean pork is an excellent source of several B vitamins and selenium and a good source of zinc (36Trusted Source).


You can find lean pork by looking for the word “loin” or “chop.” Even so, be sure to cut off excess fat on the meat if you’re trying to limit fat and calories. Pork is also rich in B vitamins, selenium, and zinc.

If you’re looking for a lot of protein for fewer calories, frozen unbreaded shrimp are a convenient option. A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving has 110 calories, 22 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fat (37Trusted Source).

Though the same serving also has 150 mg of cholesterol, scientists have found that consuming cholesterol as part of a nutritious diet generally has little impact on the heart health of people who are not currently living with heart disease or high cholesterol (38Trusted Source).

However, the high amount of sodium often added to shrimp during processing may be of concern for some people. Most of this sodium comes from additives, including sodium tripolyphosphate, which helps retain moisture, and the preservative sodium bisulfite (39).

If salt is a concern for you, look for frozen shrimp that contain only naturally occurring sodium.


Unbreaded frozen shrimp are a convenient, low fat, high protein food. Read nutrition labels when shopping to avoid products with high sodium content.

You can eat whole eggs (cholesterol and all) as part of a heart-healthy diet, but if you’re looking for something a little lighter, you can use just the whites (40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source).

One egg white contains less than 0.5 grams of fat but 3.5 grams of protein, which is about half of the protein in a whole egg (43Trusted Source, 44Trusted Source, 45Trusted Source).

You may want to try an egg white omelet or egg white muffins made with baby spinach and chives or diced peppers and onions. Alternatively, you can scramble egg whites with veggies to make a filling or topping for wraps, tostadas, or toast.

You can also buy powdered egg whites and egg white protein powders with minimal or no additives. These products are pasteurized, so you don’t have to cook them to ensure food safety (46).

You can mix powdered egg whites with water and use them like fresh egg whites. You can also add powdered egg whites to smoothies, shakes, or homemade protein bars.


Half the protein in eggs comes from the whites, but the whites contain only trace amounts of fat and less than a quarter of the calories of whole eggs.

Whether you call it bison or buffalo, it’s a nutritious, lean protein source that may have an edge over conventionally raised beef.

First, bison is leaner than beef. When scientists compared sirloin steak and chuck roast from grain-fed cattle (beef) to bison, the beef had more than twice as much fat as the bison meat (47Trusted Source).

Additionally, bison is more likely to be grass-fed rather than raised in a feedlot like cattle, which are primarily fed grains.

That gives bison a healthier fat profile, including 3–4 times more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, particularly alpha-linolenic acid. Preliminary research suggests that consuming bison may yield health benefits (47Trusted Source).

In a 2013 study, when healthy men ate 12 ounces of beef or bison (sirloin steak and chuck roast) 6 times weekly for 7 weeks, their levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, increased by 72% on the beef-rich diet but only slightly on the bison-rich diet (47Trusted Source).

Like most other foods, red meat should be consumed in moderate amounts. But if you enjoy red meat and want to keep your health in check, bison may be a good option.



Conclusion: The Importance and Benefits of Eating Enough Proteins

The conclusion of this article is that it is important to eat enough proteins in your diet.

The importance and benefits of eating enough proteins in your diet are:

- Helps maintain muscle mass

- Helps you feel full for longer periods of time

- Can help with weight loss


In our Slimsnacks meal plan, we have a 2500 calorie meal plan which is a high protein meal plan.

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