Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Most find it extremely easy to get in a ton of carbs and fats a day, but protein is something I regularly see people struggle with. Protein is an essential building block for our muscles, bones, skin, blood and cartilage. It’s responsible for building and repairing our tissues and for our body to repair and make new cells, making it a crucial macro-nutrient that our body requires.
Our bodies do not store protein, therefore when you are running low on protein your body doesn’t have a storage tank to pull from like it does with carbs and fats. But how do you know if you're getting in enough protein? As general rule of thumb, you should get in .5g of protein for every pound you weigh. For example, a 130lb woman should eat at least 65g of protein a day. For my clients who have a goal of building and maintaining lean muscle, I like to have them around .75 - 1g per pound of body weight.
SIGNS THAT YOU'RE NOT EATING ENOUGH PROTEIN
You are having trouble losing weight.
You lack energy, feel fatigued or your head feels foggy.
You lack focus or have a hard time concentrating.
You are struggling to build muscle.
You are constantly getting sick and and it takes you a while to get better.
You experience mood swings.
It takes a long time for your wounds to heal.
You experience muscle, bone and joint pain.
It takes you a while to recover from a workout.
You are constantly hungry and/or thirsty.
Your hair and nails are brittle.
You are constipated.* (This is a common symptom of under-eating.)
I would like to add that many of these symptoms are the same for those that aren't eating enough calories a day. Lack of protein and lack of calories often go hand-in-hand.
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR DAILY PROTEIN INTAKE
If you're struggling with trying to figure out how to get in enough protein a day, here are some of the top protein food sources and the amount of protein in each item:
Chicken breast (w/o skin) or Extra Lean Ground Turkey: 3oz. - 18g
Grass-Fed Sirloin: 3oz. - 20g
Fish: 3oz. - 17g
Whey Protein Powder: 1 scoop - 20 to 25g
One Large Whole Egg: 6g
One Egg White: 4g
Low-Fat Cottage Cheese: 1 cup - 24g
Plain Greek Yogurt: 1/2 cup - 12g
One Light String Cheese Stick: 6g
Low-Fat Mozzarella Cheese: 1/2 cup - 14g
Black Beans: 1 cup - 15g (this food is high in carbs and calories)
Lentils: 1 cup - 18g (this food is high in carbs and calories)
Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas: 1 cup - 12g (this food is high in carbs and calories)
Nut Butter: 1 TBS - 3.5g (this food is high in fat and calories)
Almonds: 1 serving (1oz.) - 6g (this food is high in fat and calories)
Hemp Seed: 3 TBS - 10g (this food is high in fat and calories)
Are you experiencing many of the symptoms listed above? Send me an email and let's discuss if signing up for a custom nutrition program is what you need! firstname.lastname@example.org