Protein plays an important role in our general health and well being. Just by replacing some of the carbohydrates in your diet with proteins you may see noticeable changes in body composition, and help controlling your total food intake and satiety (the feeling of being full) which can result in noticable weight loss.
Proteins function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It is important to make sure we are consumming adaquate amounts of them in our diet.
So how do you know if you are you eating enough protein?
The average adult should be consuming a bare minimum of .8g/kg/day of protein. For a person weighing 150 pounds that equates to 54.4g of protein a day- MINIMUM. Most of us need more than this for our body to funtion properly. As part of a well rounded diet, Proteins should make up 10-35% of your daily food consumption
If you are active at all, that should be increased to 1 kg/g and for someone who works out even just a few times a week the protein requirements go up to 1.2-1.4g/kg/day. So that same 150 pound woman who goes to zumba once a week, walks her dog every day and plays tennis for an hour every saturday needs about 90-95 grams of protein every day.
That sounds like a lot of protein to cram into your day but if you spread it out and choose a variety of protein rich foods to work into your meals it is not that hard to do. If you aim for about 30g per meal and about 10g per snack you can easily meet your bodies needs without overdoing it. By spacing it out evenly through your day you maximize the benefits while allowing your body time to process it and use it properly.
Everyone knows that meat is a great place to find protein but there are lots of other ways to sneak a little extra protein onto your plate without having to use powders or supplements.
Here is a list of some foods with good protein content*:
Meats and Seafood (based on 3oz serving size)
28g Chicken (skinless)
25g Turkey (roasted)
6g Egg (one large)
Plant Based Proteins (based on 1/2 cup cooked serving size)
11g Pinto Beans
8g Black Beans
8g Red Kidney Beans
7g Black-eyed Peas
7g Fava Beans
6g Wheat Berries
6g Lima Beans
4g Green Peas
Nuts and Seeds (based on 1 oz serving size)
12g Soy Nuts
9g Pumpkin Seeds
7g Peanuts (or 1 TBSP Peanut Butter)
6g Flax Seeds
6g Sunflower Seeds
5g Chia Seeds
18g Greek yogurt (6oz)
14g Ricotta Cheese (4oz)
14g 1% fat Cottage Cheese (4oz)
11g Nonfat Yogurt (1 cup)
8g Skim Milk (1 cup)
8g Soy Milk (1 cup)
7g Part Skim Mozzarella (1 oz)
6g Nonfat String Cheese (1 piece)
*Protein contents from 2013 Today's Dietitian Learning Library