The importance of protein, examples of high protein foods and how much you really need.
Why is protein important?
- It helps synthesize important hormones, including the hormones that make us happy and relaxed.
- It supports our immune system.
- Boosts our metabolism - helping us to lose fat and stay lean
- Makes us feel more satisfied after a meal
- Helps build and repair almost every tissue in our bodies - including muscles, connective tissue (tendons, ligaments) and bones.
- Aids recovery
Now that you are clued up on why we need protein, why don't you try a new habit this week - eat lean protein with every meal.
What are the best lean protein sources?
- Eggs (6g in 1 large egg)
- Greek yoghurt (23g per 8oz serving)
- Cottage cheese 14g per ½ cup serving)
- Swiss cheese (8g per 1 oz serving)
- 2% milk (8g per 1 oz serving)
- Whey or Casein Protein Powder (24g per scoop)
- Smoothies (16g per1 cup serving)
- Tuna (25g per3oz serving)
- Halibut (23g per3oz serving)
- Sockeye salmon (23g per 3oz serving)
- Anchovies (24g per 3oz serving
- Sardines (21g per 3oz serving)
- Steak (23g per 30z serving)
- Ground beef (90% - 18g per 3oz serving)
- Pork chops (26g per 3oz serving)
- Chicken breast (24g per 3oz serving)
- Turkey breast (24g per 3oz serving)
- Corned beef (24g per 3oz serving)
- Chorizo (21g per 3oz serving)
- Dried lentils (13g per ¼ cup serving)
- Peanut butter (8g per 2tbsp serving)
- Mixed nuts (6g per 2oz serving)
- Tofu (13g per 3oz serving)
- Edamame beans (8g per ½ cup serving)
- Green peas (7g per 1 cup serving)
- Soba noodles (12g per 3oz serving)
- Quinoa (8g per 1 cup serving)
Yes other food sources will have some protein, but the foods listed above contain the highest protein amount. Just choose what you like and be consistent.
How much do I need?
This depends on your activity levels, age, during training or in the off-season, and whether you are a beginner or an experienced athlete. The specific amount will range from 1-2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. This range is for males and females.
An easy measure of protein to start is 1 palm of protein (see picture below).
When do we eat protein?
Little and often - spread the protein intake throughout the day.
A solid portion of protein at breakfast will control your appetite all day long (reduces the desire to snack).