By: Leanne Ely
It probably comes as no surprise that protein is an essential nutrient. Proteins are required for giving strength and structure to your body’s tissues and cells. We need protein to control biochemical reactions and to help the immune system run smoothly. Protein regulates the body’s metabolism, and they are also responsible for the regulation of hormones and the activities hormones control.
We need protein for cell division, which makes sure we always have a good supply of healthy new cells. And, of course, proteins are the building blocks of muscle.
Everyone would agree that protein is an essential nutrient, but are we getting enough?
The amount of protein you needs depends on your weight.
Unlike other nutritional requirements, the amount of protein you need depends on your weight. You need to do a little bit of math here. According to the USDA’s Dietary Reference Intakes, you need x grams of protein per kg of body weight per day.
To figure out your weight in kgs, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2.
So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you weigh 68.1 kgs.
For babies up to one year: 1 gram per kg/per day. So, if the baby weighs 11 kg, he or she needs 11 grams of protein per day.
Children 1–3: 0.87 g/kg/day
Children 4–13: 0.76 g/kg/day
Males 14–18: 0.73 g/kg/day
Females 14–18: 0.71 g/kg/day
All adults 19+: 0.66 g/kg/day
Expectant moms: 0.88 g/kg/day
Lactating women: 1.05 g/kg/day
So, if you are a 150 pound adult, you weigh 68 kgs and you need 46.3 grams of protein per day.
Clear as mud?
Now that you know how much protein you need (I’ll give y’all a minute to figure out the math!), it’s time to figure out where your best sources of protein are found.
Before I go on with some good protein sources, I should mention that it’s important to consume smaller amounts of protein throughout the day to keep your body adequately fueled. So, if you require 40 grams of protein per day, you might want to have 10 grams every few hours rather than having 40 grams all at once.
Best sources of protein
Beef steak: 42 grams per 6 ounce
Chicken breast: 30 grams per 3.5-ounce serving
Hamburger patty: 28 grams per 4-ounce serving
Fish fillet: 22 grams per 3.- ounce serving
Tuna: 40 grams per 6-ounce can
Pork loin: 29 grams per 4-ounce serving
Other forms of protein:
Eggs: 6 grams per egg
Milk: 8 grams per cup
Cottage cheese: 15 grams per 0.5 cup
Yogurt: 8–10 grams per cup (check your label)
Almonds: 9 grams per 0.25 cup
Pumpkin seeds: 8 grams per 0.25 cup
Flax seeds: 8 grams per 0.25 cup
Your morning smoothie is a great way to get in a good shot of protein, but you have to be very careful about how you choose to get that protein into your blender! Many forms of protein powder are chock full of chemicals, GMOs and synthetic ingredients.
Our Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein mixes were created by yours truly, and they are the protein powders I use in my daily smoothie.