Are you Getting Enough Protein?

Are you Getting Enough Protein?

Are you Getting Enough Protein?

Profile picture of Jemma Besson

By Jemma Besson, RD CDE
Jemma Besson is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator who works for Shoppers Drug Mart®.

Protein is one of the nutrients I discuss with every single one of my clients. I often see two things – one, people do not consume enough protein or two, intake of protein is imbalanced throughout the day. Protein is an essential nutrient that is part of your skin, hair, muscle, antibodies, cell structures, enzymes and hormones. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Some of these amino acids can be made in the body, but a few of them are essential – meaning we must get them from food. Protein can be found in high amounts in foods like meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and tofu. Foods like legumes, nuts, and seeds contain moderate amounts of protein. Fruits and vegetables are not a good source of protein.

Why is protein important?
Our body requires a constant supply of protein to help produce enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and antibodies. Without adequate protein, our body simply cannot function well. We need enough protein to support our immune system so we can fight off illness more effectively. Protein is also needed for growth and repair, and helps transport important nutrients around your body. Protein also promotes satiety, meaning that you feel full and satisfied after meals and snacks – this can be particularly helpful if you are trying to lose weight (no-one likes feeling hungry all of the time!).

How much protein do you need?
Protein needs vary depending on your weight, age, activity level and diet. The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for adults (19 years and over) is 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. For example, if you weigh 68kg (150 lbs), then you would need about 55 grams of protein per day. However, the RDA is the amount of protein needed to prevent deficiency. Many researchers and practitioners suggest that optimal intake is closer to 1.0-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Your needs may be even higher if you are an athlete, pregnant or have certain medical conditions. There is where working with a Registered Dietitian can really help determine the right amount of protein that your body requires.

Sources of Protein
Quick myth bust – avocados are not a good source of protein! One whole avocado will give you an average of 2-3 grams of protein. Have a look at the chart below and see how that compares!

Serving Protein (grams)–may vary with brand
Meat/Alternatives
Beef or Pork, cooked 2.5 oz (75g) 21-28
Chicken or Turkey, cooked 2.5 oz (75g) 17-22
Fish, cooked or canned 2.5 oz (75g) 11-19
Eggs 2 12
Legumes (cooked)
Lentils ½ cup 9
Beans (Navy, Kidney, etc) ½ cup 8
Edamame ½ cup 6
Soy Foods
Tempeh ½ cup 16
Veggie burger (average) x1 70g 11
Tofu ½ cup 10
Soymilk 1 cup 8
Dairy
Regular Yogurt ¾ cup 6-8
Greek Yogurt ¾ cup 14-18
Cottage Cheese 1 cup 28-30
Nuts/seeds
Nuts ¼ cup 5-8
Peanut butter 2 tbsp 7
Hemp Hearts 2 tbsp 7

Meat/Alternatives

  • Beef or Pork, cooked
  • Serving: 2.5 oz (75g)
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 21-28
  • Chicken or Turkey, cooked
  • Serving: 2.5 oz (75g)
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 17-22
  • Fish, cooked or canned
  • Serving: 2.5 oz (75g)
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 11-19
  • Eggs
  • Serving: 2
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 12

Legumes (cooked)

  • Lentils
  • Serving: ½ cup
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 9
  • Beans (Navy, Kidney, etc)
  • Serving: ½ cup
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 9
  • Edamame
  • Serving: ½ cup
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 6

Soy Foods

  • Tempeh
  • Serving: ½ cup
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 16
  • Veggie burger (average)
  • Serving: x1 70g
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 11
  • Tofu
  • Serving: ½ cup
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 10
  • Soymilk
  • Serving: 1 cup
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 8

Dairy

  • Regular Yogurt
  • Serving: ¾ cup
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 6-8
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Serving: ¾ cup
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 14-18
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Serving: 1 cup
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 28-30

Nuts/seeds

  • Nuts
  • Serving: ¼ cup
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 5-8
  • Peanut butter
  • Serving: 2 tbsp
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 7
  • Hemp Hears
  • Serving: 2 tbsp
  • Protein(grams - may vary with brand): 7

Bottom Line
The meal people often struggle to get enough protein is at breakfast. A great high protein breakfast could be a mushroom and spinach omelet made with 2 eggs and 1.5 oz cheese paired with half of a cup of roasted sweet potato. This breakfast would give you close to 25 grams of protein. Not only is it delicious, but it will keep you full and provide a steady stream of energy for hours! A good rule of thumb it to aim to include a protein source at every meal and snack. This will help you spread your intake throughout the day and better reach your goal intake.

If you would like a customized plan of how to get enough protein to meet your needs, Registered Dietitian Services are available through Shoppers Drug Mart at shoppersdrugmart.ca/dietitians. Feeling overwhelmed by all the different package options? Take the online quiz to see which service best meets your needs or schedule a Free 15 minute call with one of our Online Dietitians today.

The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a Physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters. Please note: Dietitian services are currently only available in Ontario. Please contact your store to learn more. ®/TM 911979 Alberta Ltd. ©2020 Shoppers Drug Mart Inc

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