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?
Diatta @ Femme Fitale Fit Club says
Apple slices with peanut or almond butter is my absolute favorite! Very filling and totally delicious. This is a great list. I love beans too. 🙂 #wowlinkup
Lol, I really should say I’m obsessed with apple slices and peanut butter. Thanks Diatta!
I mentioned to my fitness instructor who is also a nutritionist that my salad for lunch doesn’t keep me full and I end up hitting the vending machines around 3:00. She suggested I add a protein to my salad; cottage cheese, hard boiled egg or shredded chicken. I was surprised that a couple tablespoons of cottage cheese does the trick.
I love putting chopped hard boiled eggs in a salad. I can even eat them alone. Good advice, thanks for sharing!
Serena, love your site and this is a great post. I am always talking to my kids about protein and how we really need it to fuel our active bodies. Both kids play sports and our 13 year old daughter is a runner. Unfortunately, she is at the age where I am having to get her to eat more food and more often. I printed this out so I can have her read this also. Looking so forward to staying and following more 🙂
Thank you so much Lynda! I think protein is the forgotten nutrient sometimes. Glad you’re educating your kids. Thank you for sharing!
The Frugal Exerciser says
I love eating nuts but I do love a good beans over rice. Even though I’m on the paleo diet, I continue having peanuts and beans which are a no, no on the paleo plan. #wowlinkup
I love beans and rice, too. It’s such a simple dish, yet packed with lots of goodies for you.
Thanks for sharing your list! It’s pretty conclusive and it gives me ideas for incorporating them into my daily diet.
I also love the fact that you have mentioned portions and protein available in those portions, useful indeed. Would love to see more of recipes using these protein sources.
Thank you so much Amy! I will definitely try to post more recipes using these foods!
Compact Hike says
I am a vegetarian and can find a lot of good stuff from your article thank you.
Why thank you so much! I hope you can put the list to good use!