It’s hard to beat the punch animal protein can bring to reach the amount I need each day, but I do try to incorporate plant-based options, too. After tracking for a while to be able to report back, I can say that right now my body is thriving on 90-100 g of protein a day.
That is a lot higher than the typically recommended .36 g of protein per pound (.8 g per kg) of bodyweight. I believe that’s for a sedentary adult, but if I went by that recommendation, I should be shooting for about 43 g of protein daily.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Dietitians of Canada suggest that athletes need more protein. They recommend that athletes shoot for 1.2 to 2 g of protein per kg of body weight. For me, that range would then be 65-108 g of protein per day.
While I do work out most days, I am not sure if I’d consider myself an athlete. However, I have noticed better muscle definition, more balanced blood sugars and staying full for longer, and sustained energy by increasing my protein.
I feel like it goes without saying that I’m not recommending this to anyone, as I’m not a RD and don’t know your personal health specifics, but I do encourage you to play around with it a bit if what you’re doing now isn’t giving you the results you want. Self experimenting is how I’ve discovered so much about what works best for my body.
So, what sources of protein are my favorite? Here are the protein options I find myself reaching for the most often!
Eggs. 7g of protein per egg. Call me Forrest, but I love eggs fried, scrambled, boiled, poached, all the ways! A fried egg over a breakfast hash would be my preferred breakfast any day that I have my act together enough to have it prepped. However, I also try to make a batch of boiled eggs weekly because they whole family loves this grab and go option.
Whey Protein Powder. 12.5 g of protein per 1 scoop. A couple years ago David went on a mission to find his perfect protein powder. He found Gnarly Vanilla and liked that it was grass-fed whey and tasted good. Since then we’ve just stuck with it. I take it on days we did extra hard strength workouts, so maybe 2-3 days a week. We also are big fans of their pre-workout.
Collagen. 9g of protein per 1 scoop. I use Vital Proteins because I can buy it at Costco, it dissolves easily, and has no flavor.
Cottage Cheese. 19g of protein per 1 cup. I love cottage cheese for it’s high protein and the taste, but I must admit it doesn’t always love me. Dairy is hit or miss for me (I guess I’m still outgrowing the childhood intolerance I had… anyone else drink Lactaid milk?). I’ve had pretty good luck with the Good Culture Brand, but keep it to only a couple times a week.
Chicken Breast. 26 g of protein per 3 ounces. I get most of my chicken through Butcher Box or through local farms because I trust their practices. Chicken breast is certainly easy but this chicken thigh preparation has become a go-to around here. It’s so flavorful and the skin is so crispy… the kids love it!
Lentils. Red lentils have 22g of protein per 1/2 c uncooked lentils. Other lentil protein counts here. I’m working on incorporating more lentils because they are a good source of plant protein, they are cheap (and we all know grocery prices are only climbing higher- here’s what I spent on groceries in February), and they cook up quickly. This is my current favorite red lentil recipe.
Salmon. 20 g of protein per 3 ounces. We eat salmon once a week, usually on Sunday nights. The brown sugar bourbon was always my favorite preparation, but lately we’ve all been big fans of the simple lemon dill method.
Pumpkin Seeds. 5g of protein per 1 ounce. I buy the big bag of sprouted pumpkin seeds from Costco and they are easy to throw on salads. I don’t love them on their own, though, so I usually mix them with some roasted and salted cashews to make a tastier blend.
Bone Broth. 10g per 1 cup. My go-to option for bone broth is Kettle and Fire. If you order directly through them and use AHS, you’ll save 20% on your order. I use bone broth to pump up the nutrition is soups, when cooking rice, or just to sip on. Their Turmeric Ginger variety is delicious!
Do you have a protein source you love that you love the most? What is it?