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December 2022

Are you Eating Enough Protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient present in every cell in the body and is vital for life. It helps to fight infection, keep fluids in balance, build and contract muscles, carry nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, and is involved with blood clotting. True protein deficiency is rare in the US, although some people may fall short of getting enough protein for optimal health.

How Much Protein Daily?
Protein needs are dependent on body weight, age and certain medical conditions. Although current guidelines for healthy adults is .36 grams of protein per pound, experts believe that a more optimal intake for seniors is .55 gm per pound. Protein needs may differ with certain medical conditions such as kidney disease. Check with your physician before making any dietary changes.

If you weigh 150 pounds you need 82 grams of protein daily.

Optimize Protein

  • Have protein throughout the day, every day, and at every meal.
  • Vary your protein: include fish, poultry, lean meat, eggs and low-fat dairy products.
  • Plant-based proteins can supply adequate protein; however, due to the protein quality and digestibility ranking, you may need to eat more. Be sure to choose a variety of plant-based protein throughout the day and include those with a higher digestibility ranking, such as soy foods, tempeh and hemp seeds.
  • Breakfast and snacks tend to be lower in protein. Be sure to include protein-rich foods.

Protein Rich Foods Focus on fish, poultry, lean meat, eggs, legumes and reduced fat dairy products. Use the “Nutrition Facts” panel on packaged foods for protein content– be sure to check the portion size.

Portion size is ½ c or 3 oz. cooked for meat, fish or poultry, unless otherwise noted. Nuts and nut butter are high in calories due to the higher fat content. Protein content listed as grams (g) and values are approximate.





Almonds (¼ c)


Lean Beef


Greek Yogurt (1 c)


Nut Butter (2 Tbsp)




Yogurt (1 c)




Egg (1)


Egg Whites (2)




Getting Enough Protein?
If you experience lingering fatigue, are constantly hungry, losing muscle or get sick more often, your protein intake may not be enough.

See how much protein you are eating. Aim for at least 20 grams of protein per meal and 8 grams for snacks.

Grams of Protein at Meals:

Breakfast: ______   Lunch: ______  Dinner: ______

Grams of Protein at Snacks:   ________

Total Protein for the Day:   ________


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