Protein gives us the energy to get up and go—and keep going. While too much protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease, the latest research suggests that most of us need more high-quality protein from sources other than red meat and dairy, especially as we age.
How much protein do you need?
Protein needs are based on weight rather than calorie intake. Adults should eat at least 0.8g of lean, high-quality protein per kilogram (2.2lb) of body weight per day.
Older adults should aim for 1 to 1.5 grams of lean protein for each kilogram of weight. This translates to 68 to 102g of protein per day for a person weighing 150 lbs.
Divide your protein intake equally among meals.
Nursing women need about 20 grams more high-quality protein a day than they did before pregnancy to support milk production.
How to add high-quality protein to your diet
Replace red meat with fish, chicken, or plant-based protein such as beans, nuts, and soy.
Replace processed carbohydrates from pastries, cakes, pizza, cookies and chips with fish, beans, nuts, seeds, peas, tofu, chicken, low-fat dairy, and soy products.
Snack on nuts and seeds instead of chips, replace baked dessert with Greek yogurt, or swap out slices of pizza for a grilled chicken breast and a side of beans.