How Much Protein Do I Really Need?

Vegetarians, Vegans, meat eaters, marathon runners, body builders, and the average Joe alike; we all have protein requirements. Protein is one of the three macronutrients, among carbohydrates and fats, that the body needs to function and perform properly. But how much do we need?

It is recommended that the average person gets about 0.8 grams of protein per 1 kg of body weight. This equates to about 0.36g/1lbs. 

For example, a 130 lb woman would need roughly 47 grams of protein per day (130 lbs x 0.36 = 46.8). 

Of course, these are the minimum requirements and it is still perfectly healthy to exceed this number. In fact athletes, especially those looking to either gain or maintain muscle, may require a higher level of protein intake. 

It is recommended that athletes take in closer to 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. This may be hard to figure out unless you are aware of your body fat percentage, so a general rule is to consume about 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

For example, an athlete weighing in at 130 lbs with 10% body fat would require closer to 117 grams of protein per day. (130 lbs x 10% = 13 lbs body fat. 130 lbs - 13 lbs = 117 lbs lean body mass = 117 grams protein)

Keep in mind, athletes have much higher energy expenditures and therefore must consume more calories and food overall. As a result, their protein requirements are also much higher than the average person.

So now that I know how much protein to eat, what are some good protein sources?


A 4 oz. serving of chicken is about the size of your palm and provides about 36 grams of protein.

A 4 oz. serving of chicken is about the size of your palm and provides about 36 grams of protein.

Foods High in Protein

Meats

  • chicken
  • fish
  • turkey
  • lean beef
  • pork

Dairy

  • eggs
  • milk
  • cheese
  • cottage cheese
  • yogurt, specifically greek
Did you know there are three grams of protein per 1/2 cup of spinach?

Did you know there are three grams of protein per 1/2 cup of spinach?

Vegan/Vegetarian Options

  • seitan
  • quinoa
  • beans
  • grains
  • vegetables

Of course, if you are finding it hard to meet your protein requirements, there are supplements such as protein powders and protein bars that can be quite convenient. Just make sure to look at the nutrition facts and ingredients! Often times these products can be glorified candy bars if you don't look carefully. 

Happy eating!

~Mandy