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How Much Protein Should I Eat?

by Health, Nutrition

Why should we focus on eating enough protein? 

Well to start, we’re made of it. Protein is one of the three main macronutrients we consume (alongside fats and carbohydrates). It is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for most parts of our bodies. When we don’t have enough protein available, our bodies will start to take it from places where we need it. This decreases our ability to function at our best.

Higher protein diets have been shown to:

  1. Build and preserve lean muscle
  2. Provide important vitamins and minerals
  3. Lower blood pressure
  4. Support hormone and immune health
  5. Increase fullness when in a caloric deficit
  6. Maintain lean mass when losing fat

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT?

In the fitness and nutrition world, the general rule of thumb is that you should consume roughly 0.7 to 1.3 grams of Protein per lb of bodyweight, with 1g of Protein/lb of Bodyweight as the average. So, if you are an active individual who weighs 140lbs, the general recommendation would be to eat around 140 grams of protein per day.

Since it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the numbers, we’re breaking down what the above information might look like in the real world. The below guides are not prescriptions, simply examples of how individuals have met their intake based on their weight and personal goals.

With that said, check out some real life examples of how to get enough protein throughout your day!

WEIGHT: 140 LBS

  • Breakfast:
    • 3 Eggs: 19g
    • 1/2 Serving Ascent Protein Powder (Overnight Oats): 15g
    • 0.5 cup Oats: 5g
    • 0.5 cup 2% Milk: 4g
    • Total: ≈43g
  • Lunch:
    • 4 oz. Sliced Chicken Breast on :  35g
    • 1 Whole Wheat Wrap: 5g
    • Add Veggies & Condiments
    • Total: ≈40g 
  • Dinner:
    • 4oz. Lean Ground Beef (90/10) Hamburger: 28g 
    • 1 Slice Gouda Cheese: 5g
    • 8oz. Sweet Potato (Medium-Large Sized): 5g
    • Add Veggies & Condiments
    • Total: ≈38g
  • Snacks:
    • 1 Serving 0% Greek Yogurt: 17g
    • 0.5 Tbsp. Natural Peanut Butter: 3.5g
    • Total: ≈20g
  • Daily Total: 141 grams

WEIGHT: 180 LBS

  • Breakfast:
    • 3 Eggs w/ Veggies: 25g
    • 1 Serving Kodiak Pancakes: 14g
    • 2 Slice Turkey Bacon: 10g
    • Total: ≈49g
  • Lunch: Sandwich
    • 5oz. Sliced Chicken Breast on :  43g
    • 2 Slice Sprouted Grain Bread: 10g
    • Add Veggies & Condiments
    • Total: ≈53g 
  • Dinner: Taco Salad
    • 5.5oz. Lean Ground Beef (90/10) Taco Meat: 39g 
    • 0.5 cup Black Beans: 7g
    • 3/4 cup Brown Rice: 4g
    • Add Veggies
    • Total: ≈50g
  • Post-Workout:
    • 1 Scoop Ascent Whey Protein: 25g
    • Total: ≈25g
  • Daily Total: 177 grams

WEIGHT: 220 LBS

  • Breakfast: Protein Smoothie
    • 1 cup 2% Milk: 8g
    • 1 Serving Ascent Protein: 25g
    • 0.5 serving Collagen Protein: 9g
    • 2 Tbsp. Peanut Butter: 7g
    • 0.25 cups Whole Oats: 2.5g
    • 1 Banana: 1.5g
    • 0.5 cups Frozen Blueberries: 1g
    • 1 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder: 1g
    • 2 cups Spinach: 2g
    • Total: ≈57g
  • Lunch: Chick-Fil-A
    • 8 Count Grilled Chicken Nuggets :  25g
    • 1 Market Salad w/ Grilled Chicken w/ Balsamic Salad Dressing: 28g
    • Add Condiments
    • Total: ≈53g 
  • Dinner: Salmon Dinner
    • 9oz. Wild Caught Salmon: 54g 
    • 8oz. Roasted Red Potatoes: 8g
    • Add Veggies
    • Total: ≈62g
  • Snacks:
    • 2 Servings Beef Jerky: 22g
    • Add Fruit
    • Total: ≈22g
  • Post-Workout:
    • 1 Serving Ascent Whey Protein: 25g
    • Total: ≈25g
  • Daily Total: 219 grams

MEASURING MAY NOT BE FOR YOU (AND THAT’S OKAY)

Our intention isn’t to say you need to weigh and/or measure your food. That strategy is not a fit for most people. Especially for those who are just starting out on their nutrition journey.

If you simply want to be healthy and fit, aim to include a portion of lean protein at each of your meals. Explore a variety of protein sources in order to expand your options and get the best range of nutrients possible.

If you’re an athlete with specific performance goals, you may benefit from more detailed tracking. In addition to protein at every meal, focus on increasing your protein intake around your workout times to help maximize your performance and recovery.

FOCUS ON BALANCED MEALS

Hopefully you noticed that all our sample meals included a balance of protein, vegetables, and healthy carbohydrates. “High protein” doesn’t always mean “low carb”, and prioritizing protein doesn’t mean it should be your only focus.

By pairing your main protein with veggies and high-quality carbohydrates, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Looking for more balanced meal examples? Click the link below to check out what a sample meal prep day looks like for our family.

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