Do you have any idea how much protein you eat every day? Probably not but you should.
There are 3 types of nutrients that serve as energy sources in the body: carbs, fats, and proteins. Protein is the basic structural material of all organ and tissue cells. The building blocks of human proteins are 20 amino acids that are obtained from both plant and animal sources. Their main ingredient is nitrogen, which is not present in carbohydrates and fats. Of the 20 amino acids, the body cannot make 9 of them so you must get them from your diet.
How much protein do you need?
An average person requires about .6 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Runners lose more essential amino acids (the ones we don’t make) as a result of training, so their protein needs are a little higher: up to 1 gram per pound of body weight. Easy math- if you weigh 100 pounds, you want to get somewhere between 60 and 100 grams of protein per day. Note: the human body cannot absorb more than 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. Eating too much will crowd out other macronutrients, cause dehydration, and leech minerals such as calcium from the bones.
Don’t let this scare you though. It would truly be hard to get too much protein. You’ll have to work to get your .6 – 1 gram per pound per day.
How do you get protein?
Animal foods contain the highest amount of protein. However, there are plenty of protein-rich plant foods out there too. Lean meats, poultry, fish, soy, and nuts are all great protein sources.
Here are some ideas on easy ways to get protein throughout the day:
* egg whites- 4 g protein per egg (if you’re only eating the egg whites, you can eat several)
* whole egg- 6.5 g. protein per egg (the fat content goes up with the whole egg so i usually use 1 whole egg and the rest all egg whites for all my omlettes and scrambles)
* whole grain and flax english muffin- 5 g. protein
* peanut butter- 8g. protein for 2 Tbsp
* almonds- 6g. protein per 24 almonds (approximately)
* Chobani greek yogurt- 14g. protein for 6 oz
* 1% organic milk- 8g. per 8 oz
* whole grain bread- about 4g. protein per slice
* turkey- 8 g. protein per 2 oz
* tuna – 12.8 oz per 2oz can
* salmon- 25g. per 4 oz fillet
* tofu- 10g. per 2.5 oz
* whole grain pasta- 8g. protein per 1 cup
* chicken- 27g. per 4 oz breast
post workout snack:
* muscle milk- 15g. per 8 oz
You want to refuel your body with proteins within about 30 minutes of a tough workout. It’s best to actually eat a meal within about an hour but if i go for a hard run or a long bike ride, i’ll usually drink a muscle milk within about 30 minutes of that workout. Then i’m held over for a little while longer and not completely famished…and have time to make a better choice about what i’m going to eat next.
These are just some tips on how i tend to get protein but not an actual meal plan i want you to follow. Again, if you go to www.livestrong.com and register, you’ll have access to “daily plate” which will tally up all your protein for the day. You’ll know how you’re doing as the day goes on.
I challenge you to start taking note on how much protein you’re eating daily. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find. Let me know if you have any questions regarding your nutrition 🙂