Getting the right amount of protein in your diet is essential for healthy living. Protein is in every cell in the body from our muscles, to our organs, skin and even our hormones. Protein is essential for strength, muscle maintenance and building as well as energy.
Recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from researchers at Abbott and the Ohio State University found that more than 1 in 3 of adults over 50 years old are not getting the daily recommended amount of protein they need.3 And because we may begin to naturally lose muscle after we turn 40 — as much as 8 percent of overall muscle mass every decade — getting enough protein as we age is even more important.4
The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities throughout the day to add protein-rich foods — from a variety of sources — to your diet. Not only should you eat a good breakfast (no skipping!) each meal should contain 25-30 grams of protein.3 If that seems like a lot, consider working in a few of these foods between meals to meet your protein needs.
Give your body the fuel it needs with these protein-rich foods.
Try it: Start your day with a three-egg and veggie omelet, or hard-boil a few eggs to eat as a snack with a dash of salt and pepper.
Try it: Toast up a slice of multigrain bread and top with cottage cheese and sliced pears for a sweet and savory pick-me-up.
Try it: Start your day with a vanilla flavoured nutritional supplement, scientifically designed to help support muscle strength.
Try it: Pick some up in the frozen section and microwave for a few minutes. Top edamame with chili powder and red pepper for a spicy snack or soy sauce and rice vinegar for a twist on the classic.
Try it: Drain the liquid from the can and mix tuna with Greek yogurt, lemon juice and chopped celery and onion. Eat it on crackers for a protein-rich afternoon snack.
Try it: Blend cooked or canned lentils with your favorite seasonings — lemon juice, cumin, garlic, sun-dried tomato — for an easy lentil dip.
Try it: Eat a handful of unsalted almonds as an afternoon snack or sprinkle chopped almonds on a favorite salad or casserole for some added texture.
Try it: Soak sliced tempeh in your favorite marinade, coat with panko breadcrumbs and bake for delicious, healthy tempeh "fries."
References: 1. Carbone JW and Pasiakos SM. Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit. Nutrients 2019, 11, 1136; doi:10.3390/nu11051136. 2. Argilés JM, Campos N, Lopez-Pedrosa JM, et al. Skeletal Muscle Regulates Metabolism via Interorgan Crosstalk: Roles in Health and Disease. JAMDA 2016;17(9):789-796. 3. Krok-Schoen JL, Archdeacon Price A, Luo M, et al. Low Dietary Protein Intakes and Associated Dietary Patterns and Functional Limitations in an Aging Population: A Nhanes Analysis. J Nutr Health Aging 2019;23(4):338-347. 4. Baier S, Johannsen D, Abumrad N, et al. Year-ling Changes in Protein Metabolism in Elderly Men and Women Supplemented With a Nutrition Cocktail of β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate (HMB), L-Arginine, and L-Lysine. JPEN 2009;33:71-82. 5. Basic Report: Egg. Available at: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/117?manu=&fgcd=&ds=Standard%20Reference Date Accessed: September 2019. 6. Basic Report: Cheese, cottage. Available at: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/15?man=&lfacet=&count=&max=&qlookup=&offset=&sort=&format=Abridged&reportfmt=other&rptfrm=&ndbno=&nutrient1=&nutrient2=&nutrient3=&subset=&totCount=&measureby=&Qv=1&Q48=4.0&Q49=.5&Qv=1&Q48=4.0&Q49=1 Date Accessed: September 2019. 7. Ensure® Gold® Product Label. 8. Basic Report: Edamame. Available at: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2965?man=&lfacet=&count=&max=&qlookup=&offset=&sort=&format=Abridged&reportfmt=other&rptfrm=&ndbno=&nutrient1=&nutrient2=&nutrient3=&subset=&totCount=&measureby=&Qv=2.25&Q5600=1&Qv=1&Q5600=1 Date Accessed: September 2019. 9. Basic Report: Fish, Tuna. Available at: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4602?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=50&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=tuna&ds=Standard+Reference&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing= Date Accessed: September 2019. 10. Basic Report: Lentils without salt. Available at: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4808?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=50&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=cooked+lentils&ds=Standard+Reference&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing= Date Accessed: September 2019. 11. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Iron. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/ Date Accessed: September 2019. 12. How Many Almonds in a Serving? Available at: https://www.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/healthy-tips/2013/04/how-many-almonds-in-a-serving Date Accessed: October 2019. 13. Basic Report: Tempeh. Available at : https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4851?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=50&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=tempeh&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing= Date Accessed: September 2019