I’ve never been one to obsess over my protein intake, but protein is a very important nutrient we all need.
To sum it up, protein pretty much keeps our bodies working.
Eating too little protein can result in a condition called Kwashiorkor, a form of malnutrition, as well as growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity, weakening of the heart and respiratory system, and even death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recommended amount is 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams per day for men.
The recommended amounts for children are as follows:
- ages 1-3, 13 grams a day
- ages 4-8, 19 grams a day
- ages 9-13, 34 grams a day
- ages 14-18 (girls), 46 grams a day
- ages 14-18 (boys), 52 grams a day
Do you and your family eat enough protein? I know I could use some improvement.
Here are 25 foods, with their protein content, to give you an idea of how much you’re already eating and where you can improve, if needed:
- Almonds – 1/2 cup whole almonds = 15 g of protein (1/2 cup sliced almonds = 12 g of protein)
- Beef – 3 ounces = 25 g of protein
- Black beans – 1/2 cup = 7.6 g of protein
- Cashews – 1/2 cup = 8 g of protein
- Cheese – 1 slice of cheddar cheese = 7 g of protein
- Chia seeds – 2 tbsp = 3 g of protein
- Chicken – 3 ounces roasted chicken breast (no skin) = 19 g of protein
- Cod – 3 ounces = 19 g of protein
- Eggs – 1 large brown egg = 6 g of protein (1 large white egg = 3.6 g of protein)
- Flaxseeds – 2 tbsp = 4.7 g of protein
- Kefir – 1 cup plain = 9 g of protein
- Kidney beans – 1/2 cup = 6.7 g of protein
- Milk – 1 cup whole = 8 g of protein
- Peanut butter – 2 tbsp natural peanut butter = 8 g of protein
- Peanuts – 1/2 cup dry roasted = 17 g of protein
- Pecans – 1/2 cup chopped pecans = 5.5 g of protein
- Pumpkin seeds – 1/2 cup whole roasted = 6 g of protein
- Salmon – 3 ounces baked, wild = 19 g of protein
- Sesame seeds – 2 tbsp = 3 g of protein
- Soy beans (Edamame) – 1/2 cup = 8 g of protein
- Sunflower seeds – 1/2 cup, hulled = 12 g of protein
- Tuna – 3 ounces tuna fish = 15 g of protein
- Turkey – 3 ounces turkey breast = 14.5 g of protein
- Walnuts – 1/2 cup, chopped = 9 g of protein
- Yogurt – 1 cup plain, whole = 8.5 g of protein
You can easily incorporate many of these foods into your diet without much effort.
Add nuts, seeds, or beans to your salad. Or just have nuts & seeds for a snack. Add some raisins and you have trail mix.
Add seeds, yogurt, kefir, or milk to a smoothie. Throw some pumpkin, sunflower, or flaxseeds into your homemade granola bars.
My favorite snack these days is apple slices with natural peanut butter! Delicious!
Always choose low-sodium (ex: nuts) and lean options (ex: beef) where applicable.
What protein packed foods do you love to eat?