How much protein per day should you be eating? A male friend recently told me that he eats 20-25 grams a protein per meal. I asked him how many meals he eats per day and he told me 3. 60-75 grams of protein for a male who is 5’11 is not a lot, especially for one who’s playing golf, hiking, and doing a lot of walking. As a 5’6 female, who works out 4-6 days per week, I struggle myself to eat enough protein most days. I usually max out between 65-80g.
If you workout and/or you’re trying to build more muscle and lean out, you need to eat more protein to stay energized. If you don’t eat enough protein, you will be more fatigued and will be more prone to getting sick. If you don’t exercise, you can eat less protein than someone who works out or plays sports. However, your body still needs to eat enough protein while it’s at rest. According to Daniel Pendick, former executive editor of Harvard Men’s Health Watch, “The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The RDA is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements. In a sense, it’s the minimum amount you need to keep from getting sick — not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day.” (Harvard Men's Health Watch)
To determine your daily protein intake, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36, or use this online protein calculator. For example, a 50-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds and is sedentary (doesn’t exercise), that equates to 53 grams of protein a day.
If you’re trying to lean out and gain muscle, the amount of protein that is recommended is going to differ from the above. According to US News & World Report, “each gram of protein contains four calories. Meanwhile, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that to increase muscle mass in combination with physical activity, you need to consume between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.”
For best results, I highly recommend using an app like MyFitnessPal that will tell you how much you should be eating based on how active you are and if you want to lose, gain, or maintain weight, and more.
The Hand Plan:
Some people use their hand as a measurement system which per serving equates to:
Women: 1 palm
Men: 2 palms
Women: 1 fist
Men: 2 fists
Women: 1 cupped hand
Men: 2 cupped hand
Women: 1 thumb
Men: 2 thumbs
*For more information about this measuring system, check out this guide!
Here are some good sources of protein to incorporate:
Good sources of protein
Food Protein (grams)
3 ounces tuna, salmon, haddock, or trout 21
3 ounces cooked turkey or chicken 19
6 ounces plain Greek yogurt 17
½ cup cottage cheese 14
½ cup cooked beans 8
1 cup of milk 8
1 cup cooked pasta 8
¼ cup or 1 ounce of nuts (all types) 7
1 egg 6
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database, 2015
Another good source of protein is our protein powders, check out our products here. At the end of the day, you have to listen to your body. Just make sure you’re fueling up with enough protein each day based on how active or inactive you are.