How To Eat 100 Grams Of Protein Per Day (+ Example Day Of Eating)

If there’s one macronutrient that women tend to fall short on, it’s protein. Women require at least 100 grams of protein per day, but they often consume less than 50 grams. This can result in a range of health issues, both physical and emotional. In this post, I’ll explain why protein is crucial for overall wellbeing and offer tips on how to effortlessly eat 100 grams of protein daily.

Protein building blocks. Amino acids and how they get metabolized

Why Is Protein So Important?

Protein is a necessary nutrient and a crucial component of a nutritious diet. Your body REQUIRES protein and utilizes it to perform MANY functions. Proteins consist of vital amino acids, which are essentially fundamental chemical building blocks.

Your body uses these building blocks to do all of the things below:

1) Muscle growth and repair: The body utilizes protein to construct and restore muscle tissue. This is particularly crucial for an individual who participates in physical sports or activities.

2) Weight loss: Protein helps you feel full for longer, which helps you control your appetite and reduce calorie intake. Additionally, protein has a higher “thermic effect” than carbs or fat. The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the amount of energy your body uses to digest, absorb, and metabolize the food you eat. For protein, the thermic effect is about 20-30%, while for carbs it’s 5-15% and for fat it’s 0-5%. This means that if you eat 100 calories of protein, your body will use about 20-30 of those calories just to digest the food. Pretty neat, right?

3) Metabolism: Protein plays a role in regulating hormones that control metabolism, such as insulin and glucagon. Consuming enough protein is important for maintaining a strong and healthy metabolism.

4) Bone health: Protein serves as a fundamental component that assists in preserving bone density and strength. Insufficient protein intake can result in conditions such as osteoporosis.

5) Immune system: Numerous components of the immune system, like immune cells and antibodies, are composed of proteins. Hence, protein is necessary for the proper functioning of your immune system.

6) Enzyme and hormone production: Proteins aid in the production of enzymes and hormones that regulate important bodily functions such as digestion, blood sugar control, and growth. Inadequate protein intake can negatively affect your digestion, blood sugar control, and tissue growth.

7) Healthy skin, hair, and nails: Proteins are essential for the formation of collagen, which is a protein that gives structural support to the skin, hair, and nails. If your diet lacks sufficient protein, it will eventually result in dry skin, brittle hair, and weak nails.

8) Transportation of nutrients: Certain proteins, such as hemoglobin, have the function of transporting vital nutrients like oxygen throughout the body. Hemoglobin is specifically in charge of carrying oxygen within red blood cells.

9) Cellular repair and maintenance: Proteins are crucial for the reparation of damaged cells and the maintenance of cell structure. Additionally, they have a function in DNA synthesis and cell division.

10) Stabilizing blood sugar levels: Protein aids in balancing blood sugar levels by reducing the speed of carbohydrate absorption in the digestive tract.

11) Mood and cognitive function: Amino acids are essential for producing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which can impact mood and cognitive function. That’s correct! Consuming more protein can help stabilize your mood.

12) Wound healing: Since protein aids in muscle and cellular repair, it plays a crucial role in wound healing and injury recovery.

13) Athletic performance: If you engage in intense physical training, protein is necessary to aid in muscle recovery and enhance performance during workouts.

If that list doesn’t persuade you that protein is crucial, then I don’t know what will.

Functions of protein in the human body

Whether you’re an athlete looking to improve your performance, someone trying to lose weight, or simply seeking better overall health, optimizing your daily protein intake is a great place to start.

It’s important to keep in mind that as we age, we gradually lose skeletal muscle tissue, a condition known as sarcopenia, which is common in older people. Sarcopenia not only affects our physical appearance, but it can also lead to reduced mobility and overall health. To combat the effects of age and gravity on our bodies, consuming adequate protein is essential to maintain lean muscle mass, especially as we get older. You can learn more about sarcopenia here.

How Much Protein Should You Have Each Day?

Now that you understand how important protein is, let’s determine how much protein you should consume each day. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight (or 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight). For instance, if someone weighs 140 pounds, they would need to consume 50 grams of protein daily. However, there is sufficient evidence to show that doubling this amount is optimal. This means consuming around 0.7 grams of protein per pound (or 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight). Therefore, the 140-pound individual would need to consume 100 grams of protein daily.

How much protein do you need per day

Let’s assume our goal is to consume 100 grams of protein every day. Of course, you can choose to have more protein if you prefer. Personally, I consume around 120 grams of protein per day, which is about 0.9 grams per pound of body weight. However, research indicates that there isn’t much benefit to having additional protein. I like eating meat daily, which is high in protein. You’ll need to experiment with your own body to determine the best amount for you. That being said, if you can consume 100 grams of protein daily, you’re off to a great start.

What Are The Best Sources Of Protein?

Getting enough protein is much easier if you eat animal-based foods, around 100 times easier. However, that’s not to say that you can’t get enough protein on a vegan or plant-based diet, but it’s just more challenging to do so. Below, I’ve listed some good sources of protein and the amount of protein you can expect to get from each source.

Meat

  • 8oz serving of ground beef = 42 grams
  • 8oz beef filet mignon = 48 grams
  • 8oz pork chop = 36 grams

Poultry

  • 8oz chicken thighs = 55 grams
  • 8oz chicken breast = 70 grams
  • 8oz turkey leg = 44 grams

Seafood

  • 8oz wild caught salmon = 47 grams
  • 8oz wild caught shrimp = 46 grams
  • 8oz canned tuna = 58 grams

Eggs

  • 1 egg = 6 grams
  • 1 egg white = 4 grams

Dairy products

  • 8oz of milk = 8 grams
  • 1 cup of plain full-fat greek yogurt = 9 grams
  • 1/2 cup of 4% cottage cheese = 13 grams

Plant-based protein sources

Beans and Legumes

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas = 15 grams
  • 1 cup cooked lentils = 18 grams
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans or black beans or pinto beans = 15 grams

Tofu and Tempeh

  • 6oz of tempeh = 32 grams
  • 6oz of tofu = 16 grams

Quinoa and Other Whole Grains

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa = 8 grams
  • 1 cup cooked buckwheat = 6 grams
  • 1 cup cooked millet = 6 grams

Nuts and seeds

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter = 8 grams
  • 1oz hemp seeds = 9 grams
  • 1oz pumpkin seeds = 9 grams

As you can observe, animal-based foods contain more protein than plant-based foods. If you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet, you need to be more aware and ensure that you are consuming enough protein every day.

What About Protein Supplements?

For women who follow a plant-based diet, it can be difficult to consume enough protein through food alone. This is where protein supplements, such as plant-based protein powder and bars, can be helpful in providing additional protein each day. Even if you are not following a plant-based diet, protein supplements can be beneficial if you have trouble meeting your daily protein requirements or prefer not to consume large amounts of animal protein.

For instance, the protein content of various protein supplements per scoop is listed below:

Plant-based protein powder: 1 scoop = 25 grams

Whey protein: 1 scoop = 20-30 grams

Collagen: 1 scoop = 12 grams

If you are going to use protein supplements, I recommend the following tips: 

  • Avoid artificial ingredients: I prefer to avoid consuming artificial sweeteners, flavorings, dyes, and gums as they tend to irritate my gut. In the long run, consuming these ingredients messes with my gut health.
  • Avoid inflammatory oils: Many “health” brands may sound great on the label, but when you check the ingredients, you may find palm kernel oil, palm oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, rapeseed oil, and so on. It’s best to avoid any products that contain vegetable and seed oils.
  • Avoid powders and supplements with long list of ingredients: Opt for products that contain simple and clean ingredients. Whenever possible, I prefer to purchase organic and non-GMO ingredients. You can easily identify these products by checking for the organic and/or non-GMO label on the packaging of most brands.

While protein supplements do have a role to play, I personally no longer use protein powders except for collagen. Although I get a good amount of collagen from whole foods such as bone broth, chicken skin, fish skin, and large bone-in roasts, I add an extra scoop of collagen powder to my daily routine to further boost my skin and hair health. There are several great brands of collagen available, but my current favorite is Perfect Supplements. I trust their sources and methodology. You can find their product directly on their site here or on Amazon

Alright, now let’s tackle the main question: How can you actually achieve your daily protein targets?

How To Hit Your Daily Protein Goals

If you’re far from eating 100 grams per day, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to reach that goal. You might think you need to meal prep, batch cook, or control your portions, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Personally, I don’t do any of that. I prepare each meal before I eat it. It may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be if you have the right mindset and tools. Here are my two biggest tips:

PS: I have nothing against meal prepping and batch cooking. If it works for you, then keep doing it!

Tip #1: Start with the protein

Firstly, I consider each meal from a protein-first perspective. Instead of saying, “I feel like eating pasta tonight,” I begin with, “I want to have chicken tonight, what can I pair it with?”

In the former approach, protein is an afterthought. In the latter approach, I start with my protein source and then add the carbs.

Fresh raw meat, chicken, fish, and pork. Meat is a great way to eat 100 grams of protein per day
Fresh raw meat, chicken, fish and pork.

Let’s take an example:

When planning breakfast, I begin by choosing my protein source: eggs and chicken sausage. Then I decide what to pair it with: sourdough bread with butter or oatmeal and some fruit.

Similarly, when planning dinner, I start with my protein source: slow-cooked beef shoulder roast. Then I choose my sides: butternut squash and rice with yogurt.

Snacks are a bit different. If I want to snack on a homemade chocolate chip cookie, I might add a cup of milk with collagen to it. Or if I want to snack on fruit, I might add cheese or a bowl of yogurt to it. With snacks, the process is reversed.

So, to achieve the goal of consuming 100 grams of protein per day, the first step is to change the way you think about food. Start by selecting the protein, and then decide on the sides.

Tip #2: Track your meals

I’ll admit, this is the tough part. It’ll add an extra 15 minutes of work to your day, but the payoff is worth it. And the best part? You don’t have to do it forever. Just commit to 2 to 4 weeks until you have a good grasp of macros.

Personally, I use an app called Cronometer, and it’s absolutely phenomenal. They have almost every food imaginable in their database, which makes logging meals a breeze.

You can even scan the barcode of items you buy from the store, and it’ll give you the exact measurements on the label.

For example, if I plan to eat 2 eggs cooked in butter, 1 chicken sausage, 1 large slice of sourdough with marmalade, and a cup of blueberries, here’s how I’d log it:

Example breakfast logged into Cronometer

It takes me around 2 minutes to log each meal. At first, it might take you about 5 minutes until you get the hang of it. But I assure you, within a couple of days, it will be a piece of cake.

If you want a tutorial on how to track your meals using Cronometer, just leave me a comment and I’ll make one!

Tracking is important because:

  1. It helps you know how much protein you’re currently consuming and how much more you need to consume to reach 100 grams per day.
Example showing how much protein, carbs, and fat you ate in a day on Cronometer

2) It helps you understand how much protein is coming from each of the different foods you are eating.

Breakdown of protein sources in a day on Cronometer

3) It is a great way to get an understanding of the micro nutrients in different foods, which is useful information to optimize your diet

Example of macronutrients targets in Cronometer
Example of macronutrients targets in Cronometer

To sum up, if you adopt a protein-first approach and keep track of your meals, you’re already 80% of the way to achieving your protein intake goals. After that, it doesn’t really matter when you consume your protein. If you prefer to have a lot of protein in one meal and moderate or low protein in the others, go for it. If you prefer to split it equally into three meals and a snack, that works too. It’s a myth that your body can only process a certain amount of protein in one sitting. Unless you’re consuming over 200 grams of protein in a meal, you don’t have to worry about that.

Now, let’s take a look at an example day where I easily consume 100 grams of protein:

Breakfast:

  • 1 cup whole milk (8 grams)
  • 1 scoops collagen (12 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (0 grams)
  • 1 cup blueberries (0 grams) 

Total: 20 grams

Brunch:

  • 2 eggs (12 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (0 grams)
  • 3oz canned wild salmon (18 grams)
  • 1 large slice of sourdough (5 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon date syrup (0 grams)
  • 1 orange (0 grams)
  • 3oz chocolate (4 grams)

Total: 41 grams

Snack #1

  • 1 banana (0 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (4 grams)

Total: 4 grams

Dinner:

  • 8oz ground beef (42 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (0 grams)
  • 1 cup cooked rice (0 grams)
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (9)

Total: 51 grams

Snack #2

  • 1 cup milk (8 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (0 grams)
  • Sourdough banana bread (5 grams)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (0 grams)

Total: 13 grams

Example of eating 100 grams of protein per day

The total amount of protein I consume in a day is 127 grams, which means I consume about 0.9 grams per pound of bodyweight. Since I am physically very active, I need to consume a minimum of 2200-2500 total calories a day, so I feel good eating that amount of protein. As for you, if you eat 100 grams of protein per day, you are doing great! If you have high activity levels and want to consume more protein, you can, but it isn’t necessary and won’t lead to any added benefits.

Tips and Tricks to Eat 100 Grams of Protein Per Day

Now that you have a complete understanding of why protein is important, how to determine your protein needs, and how to meet those needs, I want to share some tips and tricks to help you get started on the right foot:

1) Include protein in every meal

I mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth repeating. Instead of trying to cram a lot of protein into one or two meals, plan your meals around a protein source and then add sides.

2) Eat a variety of protein sources

Eating the same protein source for every meal can get boring quickly. Find protein sources you enjoy and mix and match them in fun ways. For example, instead of having a plain omelette every morning, add turkey bacon or cottage cheese to jazz it up. Instead of having baked chicken every day, try slow-cooking a chicken stew, preparing a chicken curry, or making chicken tacos. Get creative and have fun with it!

3) Stay hydrated

When I eat higher protein meals, I tend to get thirstier. This is likely because protein metabolism produces waste products, which are excreted by the kidneys and require water. Additionally, the enzymes and digestive juices that break down proteins rely on water, and since the thermic effect of protein is higher, the body may require more hydration. Finally, when I eat protein, I tend to use more salt, which naturally makes me thirstier. In short, stay hydrated. You don’t need to measure and count, but drink enough to quench your thirst.

4) Stick with it for a month

New habits take time to become ingrained into your daily life. Initially, changing how and what you eat will feel difficult and you may have days where you just want to grab something fast and low in protein. Resist the temptation to do that for at least a month. After a month, you will begin to notice changes in how you feel and look and that will be a natural motivator for you to keep doing what you are doing.

5) Don’t obsess over it

I know I told you to track your meals, but don’t become obsessive over every gram of protein. Meals are meant to be enjoyable. Don’t develop an unhealthy relationship with food. If you have cookies or ice cream without protein, it’s okay as long as most of your meals have protein. You’re allowed to enjoy your food.

6) Consider your budget

Protein sources are generally more expensive than non-protein sources. If budget is an issue, find affordable options. Buy in bulk and freeze as much as you can. There are many ways to save money. Budget is not an excuse to not get enough protein.

7) Vegetarians need to work harder

Getting enough protein can be 100 times harder for vegans or vegetarians, but it’s totally possible with the right knowledge and planning. I’ll write a post in the future that explains how a vegetarian can eat 100 grams of protein a day. Stay tuned!

Conclusion

The health benefits of protein intake over the long term are numerous. It’s crucial that you consume enough protein to maintain muscle mass as you age, as well as to optimize muscle recovery, cellular repair, metabolism, immune system function, hormone production, blood sugar regulation, mood, and athletic performance. To achieve this, aim to eat 100 grams of protein per day.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments. I’m here to help!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. See my full disclosures here.

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8 Comments

  1. I’m NOT a mom!
    But I follow your writing and respect your views. I am a 79 year old guy who tends to be over-weight because I am not as active as I once was and I have a hard time getting weight off. I like protein food but for me to get to 85 to 100gm of proteins a day seems like I would increase my food intake! That feels contrary to good sense.

    I weigh 234lbs and am 6ft. Let me give you one eating caveat- I am totally done with chicken. I can eat chicken in a curry salad, no problem. But a roasted chicken, a baked? No, I no longer like chicken! I eat turkey on Thanksgiving to be in with the family but otherwise, DONE! So that protein option is basically not available to me.

    I love yogurt and cottage cheese, and eggs, and meat. Is a half a pound of ground beef reasonable? I’d like the food but it seems like a lot of beef.

    May I ask for some insights? If you can’t reply back, I understand. I’m not angry.

    Thank you for all your writing. I follow you on Twitter and enjoy your posts. If you are ever in or around Marin, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco,… an easy lunch on me. Maybe in Mill Valley or Sam’s in Tiburon!

    Take care, and thanks for being you!
    -Ric

    1. Hi Ric, appreciate the positive response. Eating 100 grams of protein doesn’t mean you will eat more food. You will just reduce the other macronutrients. So if you currently eat only 50 grams of protein but eat 250 grams of carbs, then you would reduce your carbs to 200 grams and increase your protein to 100 grams. A gram of carbs and gram of protein are the same number of calories, so it wouldn’t increase your overall food intake. Hope that was helpful!

  2. Hi,
    Nice write up in simple terms also in detail. As usual. Hopefully I can make my sister read this.
    Men, hopefully read and comment.
    Suggestion:
    1. the f/x/p/m icons on the left is very disturbing and not giving pleasant reading experience.
    2. in plant based protein image, there is “eggs & dairy” and inside the table, it is about seeds.

  3. Thank you for this informative post! I’ve started tracking my food intake on Cronometer because of this. How do you determine your macronutrient ratio? Or do you use the Cronometer’s default settings?

    1. Great question. Initially, I used the default setting. Over time, I fine-tuned it based on my activity levels. For me, that is 25% protein, 40% carbs, 35% fat. I have been liking this ratio as I still get 120+ grams of protein but I can eat more carbs to fuel my activity.

      You can try playing around with different ratios to see where you feel best. I would say don’t go below 20% protein though.

  4. I have excess uric acid and so I get gout attacks whenever I eat protein based food. As such been advised to abstain from red meats , sea-food , nuts and legumes. So what do I eat to loose weight and fat around the abdomen? Please advise. Thanks.

    1. I cannot give medical advice on this blog. However, dairy products are low in purine and can be a good source of protein (esp low-fat dairy).

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