If I were to gather a group of gym frequenters and ask what part of nutrition is the most important when trying to reach physical goals, I’d hear a resounding, “PROTEIN!”
Protein is super important if you’re looking to gain muscle mass and lose weight. Depending on your fitness goal, you might need to eat more protein than you’re used to. Adjusting your diet and adding more protein can be tough, especially when you’re watching overall calories and other macros. But fear not, with some knowledge and discipline, you can do this!
First, let’s get on the same page about protein. In her article What is Protein?, Jessie Szalay wrote, “Protein is a macronutrient that is essential to building muscle mass.…Chemically, protein is composed of amino acids, which are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).”
Protein is measured my grams, and each gram contains 4 calories. Like I mentioned earlier, the amount of protein you should eat will depend on your fitness goal. There are lots of helpful sources online to calculate your macronutrients and break everything down. Once you know how many grams of protein you should eat to reach your goal, it’s time to start meal planning!
Since the amount of protein varies depending on the ingredient, we’ve put together a cheat sheet protein list for you to help in your meal planning and reach your goals. Check out the second link at the bottom of the post for a more extensive protein list. If you find or come up with any great macro-friendly recipes, send them our way! We’d love to share them with the Focus Fit community.
Ground beef, 85% lean (4 oz.): 21 grams
Ground turkey, 93% lean (4 oz.): 21 grams
Chicken breast, boneless (4 oz.): 26 grams
Turkey breast (4 oz.): 26 grams
Porkchop (4 oz.): 25 grams
Steak, New York strip (4 oz.): 25 grams
Ham (4 oz.): 23 grams
Tuna, fresh (4 oz.): 28 grams
Salmon (4 oz.): 25 grams
Shrimp (4 oz.): 15 grams
Chicken egg (1 large): 6 grams
Tofu, firm (4 oz.): 14 grams
Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp.): 7 grams
Almond Butter (2 Tbsp.): 7 grams
Greek yogurt, fat-free, plain (1 cup): 25 grams
Cottage cheese, full-fat, plain (1 cup): 23 grams