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  • Writer's pictureNick Allen

How I reach my daily protein target

We’ve spoken in the past about our daily protein goal being one gram per pound of body weight. At around 170 lbs, that makes my goal 170 grams of protein per day — which is a lot. Regardless of how healthy your diet is, reaching the 1 g/lb mark has to be a conscious effort. While every day is a bit different, here’s an example of how I get to 170 grams on a typical day.

I usually work out first thing in the morning before eating, and then follow that up with 4 eggs (24 g protein) and a protein shake (30 g protein), putting my protein total at 54 g before I even head out the door. I usually don’t eat much during the work day, but I’ll often sneak in a couple snacks or a salad. Lately my go-to afternoon snacks have been a grass-fed beef stick (4 g), pepper jack cheese stick (4 g), and a large serving of almonds (9 g). This means by the time I get home from work I’m at around 71 grams on the day, still well short of my target.

Dinner is generally my largest meal, and on a standard night I’ll have a large serving of chicken breast (50 g), which immediately gets me back on track at 121 grams total. Sometimes I’ll trade the chicken out for another lean meat, but they all provide a substantial boost in my protein count for the day. Yet despite the large, protein-packed dinner, I’m still about 50 grams short of my goal. This is where the intentional planning comes in, as I had to find a reasonable way to fill this substantial gap. I ultimately ended up throwing in a protein smoothie at the end of the day, made with 4 simple ingredients: berries, milk (6 g), greek yogurt (30 g), and protein powder (24 g). With this 60 g protein shake, I’ve officially reached my target at 181 grams of protein on the day.

Looking back at this, you’ll notice a few things. First of all, I have 3 main chunks of protein throughout the day: breakfast, dinner, and my post-dinner smoothie. The snacks are a nice boost but they don’t make or break my protein count for the day. On the other hand, if there’s a day where I can’t fit in my evening protein smoothie, I’m suddenly 50 grams of protein short of my goal for the day.

You’ll also note that lean meat (chicken breast, turkey, beef, fish, etc.) provides an enormous amount of protein (and specifically bioavailable protein). This isn’t to say that you can’t reach your protein goals being vegetarian or vegan, but you have to make even more of a conscious effort. 

Lastly, I’ll close with the acknowledgement that we generally prefer whole foods as a source of macronutrients and micronutrients, rather than supplements. There are certain exceptions to this, and high quality protein supplements are one area we’re willing to make an exception. Frankly, it’s very hard to reach your protein targets without shakes/bars/etc. to help you along the way. As long as these products are low in sugar and don’t have any other red flags, we’re willing to ease up on the whole foods policy a bit in order to reach our admittedly aggressive protein targets.


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