When we were growing in a womb, we developed as a result of our mother’s eating and taking care of us, which enabled us to grow. As we grow through life, food is one of the basics that we need. Comfort, cleanliness, safety and opportunity are key, but no food means we won’t survive.

Our body is made up of different protein structures – muscles, insulin and haemoglobin to name a few. Our bodies are very clever, however it doesn’t have a mind – you are the choice maker of what you put in your body to have a healthy body composition to function in daily life and excel.

Protein is getting more and more press, even cereal bars advertise protein in them….most have not changed their ingredients….they have just changed the marketing.

Why should we be eating more protein?

By using our muscles every day – whether a long day at work or an hours strength training in the gym, our muscles need to repair. We need a balanced diet, which includes protein to repair our muscles. Protein is also broken down slower than carbohydrates (blog to come) which means you will be fuller for longer.

Recommended for a ‘sedentary’ person – who does little exercise, is 0.8g of protein per kg of our own weight each day.

Recommended for a more active person – is anywhere between 1.2-2.5g of protein per kg of your weight.

2.5g of protein per kg of body weight is an upper maximum and should not be exceeded.

Different people will give you different amounts of protein to be eating depending on your activity level. But this is dietician’s and nutritionists should be valued for their expertise and will be able to calculate exactly what percentage of protein you need to be eating to sufficiently repair your muscles.

This is still within a calorie controlled idea of a diet. If you are eating around 2000 calories – another rough guide is 25% protein in your overall diet or you can workout the g per kg you need.

As a guide –

Meat eaters:

  • Steak (170g) = 42g
  • Canned tuna (160g) – 40g
  • Chicken breast (100g) = 30g
  • 1 Hamburger (115g) = 28g
  • Cooked Fish (100g) – 22g
  • Ham (85g) – 19g
  • ½ cup Cottage cheese – 15g
  • 30g Hard cheese (parmesan) – 10g
  • 30g Medium cheese (cheddar) – 8g
  • 30g Soft cheese (mozerrella, brie) – 8g
  • Chicken wing – 6g
  • 1 egg – 6g
  • 1 cup of milk – 8g
  • 1 cup of yoghurt – 8-12g
  • 1 Bacon slice – 3g

Vegetarian/Vegan –

  • ½ cup tofu – 20g
  • 1 cup soya milk – 6-10g
  • ¼ cup peanuts and almonds – 8- 9g
  • 2 tbsps peanut butter – 8g
  • ½ cup cooked beans – 7-10g
  • ¼ flax seeds – 8g
  • ¼ cup cashews – 5g

I mean, the above says to me, that 10 chicken wings (60g) still isn’t enough!!

Unless – I’ve had steak (42g) with cheese (10g), ham (19g), and some yoghurt (12g) on the side with a soya latte (10g) and 2 boiled eggs (12g) ….

Essentially – the lesson here is not dissimilar to calorie counting, its just nourishing your body with the right amount of nutrient that it can actually use that is functional.