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How To Set And Hit Your Daily Protein Target



How To Set And Hit Your Daily Protein Target

When we’re talking about exercise and the ‘right’ kind of diet, invariably, the conversation will turn to protein. Are we getting enough, how much is enough and what protein rich foods are best for us? 

It can be a minefield understanding protein, so in this article, we’re going to talk about how to get enough protein into your diet, with some delicious recipe ideas to help whet your protein fuelled appetite! 

Why do we need protein in our diet?

Protein, along with carbohydrate and fat, is a macronutrient. All three macronutrients provide us with calories, and therefore, energy. 1g of protein contains 4 calories – for comparison, 1g of carbohydrate also provides 4 calories, and 1g of fat provides 9 calories. 

Vitamins and minerals are known as the micronutrients, and despite being essential, have no calorific value and don’t directly provide us with energy. 

As well as providing energy, every single cell in the body needs protein for growth and repair, especially so, the muscle cells that use protein to help build new muscles fibres. All proteins are made up of amino acids, some of which the body can make and are considered non-essential in the diet, others the body cannot make, and they’re therefore known as essential. 

It’s important to eat a variety of protein rich foods in order to ensure you’re getting all the essential amino acids, particularly so if you follow a plant based diet, as it can be more difficult to find the essential amino acids in plant based foods. 

What foods are rich in protein?

Lean red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low fat dairy, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, beans, nuts, seeds and tofu are all excellent protein rich foods and form part of a healthy, balanced diet. 

How much protein do I need?

It’s recommended that adults consume 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight. For an average UK female, this means 45g of protein per day, and 55g for the average UK male. 

But since it’s not possible to specifically weigh the protein in a food (nor do we want to be weighing our food all the time), it’s helpful to think about this in portions – so aim for two portions of protein a day, with one portion roughly fitting into the palm of your hand. 

Help, give me some inspiration!

So now that you know how much protein you need, how does this translate into actual food and portion sizes? Each one of these recipe ideas contains one portion of protein, so aim for two each day. You may realise that you were eating the right amount after all – in fact, many of us eat more protein that we need. But if we’re exercising regularly, then eating an extra portion of protein each day will help us power our workouts and build muscle.






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