Meal Plan for Meeting Your Protein Needs - DEMO
In general, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for non-pregnant, non-breastfeeding women over 19 years old is 46 grams. For pregnant and breastfeeding women, it is 71 grams. While this recommendation is for an average woman, it’s a great place to start to ensure you are meeting a minimum amount.
Protein sources and gram amounts:
Meat, poultry, fish: 3 oz cooked contains 18-24 grams
Eggs: 1 whole egg contains 6 grams
Dairy: 1 cup has 8 grams. 1 ounce cheese has 6 grams. 1 cup low fat yogurt has 12 grams. 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt has over 15 grams.
Soy products: 1 cup soy milk contains 7 grams. 1⁄2 cup tofu contains 10 grams.
Nuts and seeds: 1⁄4 cup nuts or seeds has 5 grams.
Beans and peas: 1⁄2 cup beans have 7 grams.
Whole Grains: 1 cup cooked quinoa has 8 grams. 1 cup cooked oatmeal has 6 grams. 1 slice 100% whole wheat bread has 4 grams.
Not all protein sources are created equal. When choosing proteins, focus on lean sources such as: eggs, lean cuts of meat, soy products, safe-to-consume seafood such as salmon and cod, poultry without the skin, nuts, seeds, beans and peas, and whole grains. Consuming a variety of these foods will offer you many other nutrients in addition to the protein they provide. Aim to have a bit of protein at each meal and some snacks to help meet your goal.
The below meal, snack, and recipe ideas can help meet your protein needs.
Smoothie made with fruit, low-fat yogurt or milk, veggies (like spinach or kale) and 1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter (12+ grams protein)
2 Eggs, black beans, handful of veggies, and salsa wrapped in a whole grain tortilla (22+ grams protein)
Low-fat plain Greek yogurt with berries and chopped walnuts (18+ grams protein)
Oatmeal (1/2 cup dry oats), nut butter, and banana (10+ grams protein. 17+ grams if oatmeal is made with low fat milk or soy milk)
Eggs, whole grain toast, and an orange (16 grams if 2 eggs)
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Shredded chicken (seasoned with dijon mustard) over a bed of lettuce with whole grain toast (16+ grams protein)
Tuna* or canned salmon mixed with olive oil and seasonings stuffed in an avocado, sliced tomato drizzled with olive oil, and brown rice (18+ grams protein)
Turkey (fresh, not deli meat), whole grain bread, baby carrots, hummus (30+ grams protein
Quinoa topped with spiced black beans, diced tomato, and a drizzle of oil, cilantro optional (15+ grams protein)
Chopped salad (use up those veggies left in the fridge!) drizzled with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper; canned salmon, whole grain wrap (20+ grams protein)
Stir-fried veggies and chicken with quinoa (25+ grams protein)
Ground turkey, black beans, and veggies sautéed in a skillet with cumin, chili powder, and a can of low sodium diced tomatoes. Topped with sprinkle of cheese (35+ grams protein)
Shrimp, brown rice, green beans (22+ grams protein)
Broiled salmon, asparagus, millet (31+ grams protein)
Bean and vegetable soup with whole grain toast (10+ grams protein)
White bean dip with fresh cut veggies (5+ grams protein)
Cup of low-fat plain Greek yogurt with whole grain cereal and berries (15-20 grams protein)
Walnuts, raisins, and a few dark chocolate chips (5+ grams protein)
Pear with cheese (6+ grams protein)
Two tablespoons almond butter on whole grain crackers (10+ grams protein)