How Much Protein Should I Be Eating at Each Meal?

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question-icon-newI would like to know how much protein I should consume per meal. I found out that you need to divide your body weight by a certain number but I’m not sure if this is the amount of protein I need per day or per meal? Can you help?

answer-icon-newShoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Split up the total over the course of 5-6 meals. So, if your weight is 150 pounds then try to consume around 150 grams of protein per day and about 25 grams per meal (6 total meals). Evenly spacing your protein throughout the day is much better than consuming huge amounts in one sitting.

Eating enough protein is very important since amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential for repairing and building lean muscle tissue. Your goal should be to include a protein source at every meal you eat throughout the day and you should be eating a meal every 2.5 to 3 hours. By eating smaller and more frequent meals, you’re able to stimulate your metabolism optimally. A great example is when you go camping and build a fire. If you throw on a bunch of wood onto the fire, it will get simply go out (too much food at a meal). However, if you add a small amount of wood to the fire, you will be able to make it burn consistently hot for a long time. This is the analogy to think about when eating your meals during the day.

What Types of Protein To Eat? 
When choosing your protein sources, make sure to include lean choices like eggs, lean steak, chicken breast and fish. Another great source of protein to include in your nutrition plan is whey protein and other protein powders. The best time to include whey protein is before and after your workouts since it provides a fast acting source of nutrients for your muscles.

Some great types of whey protein powder are:

  • Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey
  • Dymatize ISO-100 Whey
  • AllMax Nutrition IsoFlex

high-protein-smoothieOther types of protein powders include egg, casein, soy and rice. There are many protein powders on the market that have a blend of different proteins and work great for a quick protein shake during the day since they provide a steady and slow release of protein to fuel your muscles. A no-brainer solution when you are in a rush and need to eat something healthy is to make a protein smoothie. Just mix 2 scoops of protein powder, 1 cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of frozen fruit, 2 cups of water and some ice. This makes a great tasting high protein meal that takes care of your sweet tooth and supplies your body with the nutrients it needs to run optimally. If you want that milkshake style consistency to your protein shake, the key is to use frozen fruit. Great tasting fruit for smoothies are bananas, strawberries and pineapple. Peel some bananas, put them in sandwich bags and throw them in the freezer for 24 hours. Or better yet, buy a huge bag of mixed frozen fruit at your grocery store and add a couple of handfuls when you make your protein smoothie.

If you’re a very busy person or a student going to school, you might not have the time to prepare your meals, so protein bars and other supplements come in very handy. Choose protein bars with at least 25 grams of protein and try to limit the sugar to less than 10 grams. A great tip is to bring a box of protein bars to work and throw them in the freezer in the kitchen (if available). Frozen protein bars are amazing and taste like a desert during the day. If you don’t have a freezer at work, then just keep a box of protein bars at your desk and this will allow you to have easy access to a quick protein packed meal anytime! The other great thing is the cost. Protein bars only cost around $2 to $4 per bar which is extremely affordable when compared to a meal at a restaurant which usually average at least $10 for a healthy meal.

Some great choices for protein bars include:

  • VPX Zero Impact Bars
  • Chef Jay’s Tri-O-Plex Bars
  • BSN Syntha-6 Bars
  • Detour Lean Muscle Bars
  • Met-Rx Protein Plus Bars

Another thing you can do to include protein in your diet is to have fun with your diet plan and experiment with things like high protein pudding, protein pancakes and homemade protein bars. Just add a few scoops of protein to your recipes and you will end up with a muscle building meal. For protein pudding, simply make Jell-O pudding with fat-free milk and then add 1-2 scoops of your favorite protein powder to it. Let it chill in the fridge for a while and you will have a tasty protein packed snack.

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