The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
It’s 2023 and you’ve finally decided to lose all of the excuses and commit to a regular exercise routine. But is it true what the experts say? Is dietary protein really that important? And if so, how much do you need and what are the best sources?
I answer these questions below and point you to Fx-approved, protein-rich foods to support your 2023 fitness goals.
Protein and Exercise
Dietary protein is one of three main macronutrients, the others are carbohydrate and fat. They’re called “macro” nutrients because your body requires them in larger amounts compared to micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Your muscles require an adequate amount of protein for growth and repair. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (or 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight). This equals 54 grams of protein per day for a 150-pound person. But keep in mind, the RDA is set with a goal of avoiding protein deficiency.
If your goal is to build and/or maintain muscle mass, the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests an overall daily protein intake of 1.4-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.63-0.90 grams of protein per pound of body weight) as sufficient for most exercising individuals. To maximize results, this amount should be spread out over three or four meals.
The above 150-pound person would need to double their protein to 95-135 grams per day to satisfy this recommendation. That’s about 35 grams of protein per meal.
Top Protein Sources for Exercise
Club Fx Pillar #4 is all about protein! Using food as medicine, it recommends choosing plants over fish over fowl over grass-fed beef.
Adding a scoop of high-quality protein powder to one of your meals is a simple way to meet your daily protein needs.
Ancient Nutrition is one of my favorite brands of protein powder. Their Plant Protein+ powder is USDA organic, vegan and made from Fx-approved ingredients like pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds and an adaptogenic herbal and mushroom blend to promote a healthy response to stress.
Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein comes from pasture-raised and grass-fed sources and contains 10 types of collagen to help joints recover faster. It even offers a nice dose of probiotics to support gut health.
Both varieties taste great and blend well into smoothies, yogurt bowls, hot cereals and hot beverages.
Here are additional foods to help you meet your protein needs in an Fx friendly way:
- ¼ cup raw almonds: 8 grams
- ¼ cup Go Raw Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds: 8 grams
- 2 Tbsp. nut or seed butter: 8 grams
- ½ cup cooked lentils: 9 grams
- 3 oz. tofu: 13 grams
- 3 oz. tempeh: 18 grams
- ½ cup cooked quinoa: 5 grams
- 1 NoBull plant-based burger (Frozen Department): 10 grams
- 8 Flackers crackers: 6 grams
- 2 Tbsp. Bragg Nutritional Yeast: 5 grams
- 1 Tbsp. Bare Organics Spirulina Powder: 4 grams
- 1 scoop Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein+: 15 grams
- 1 egg: 7 grams
- 3 oz. meat (chicken, turkey, beef): 21 grams
- 3 oz. fish: 20 grams
- 1 scoop Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein Powder: 9 grams
To build the healthy and fit body you were meant to live in, proper nutrition is key. Make your meals count with a nice balance of greens, rainbow fruits and veggies and small amounts of Fx-approved protein. Remember, you can never exercise your way out of a poor diet!