Learn how to meet your protein requirements by identifying the best food sources and tracking your consumption. 

If there’s one eating tip you should pay heed to, it’s the reminder to eat more protein. This food group is really, really important for your body, since it provides vital nutrition. Also, proteins are a better source of energy and stamina than carbs, since your body takes longer to burn and digest them.

Digesting this food group burns 20% to 30% more energy than carbohydrates, so eat more, to boost your metabolism. Also, the benefits of protein go beyond building muscle, as foods in this category make you feel fuller, and are a great source of sustained energy.

Guidelines on Protein

#1 Eat what you need
The protein requirement of an average adult is generally anywhere between 0.8 to 1.0 g per kilogram of body weight. So if you weigh 60-65 kg, you need about 60 g per day. But this varies, depending on your level of physical activity.

If you do weight training, for example, you will need more, to support muscle recovery and growth. Well-trained athletes may need double the amount of office goers of the same weight. The figure maybe double, that of the daily average requirement.

#2 Figure out animal VS vegetarian proteins
Protein sources are classified as plant-based and animal-based, with animal sources winning the contest hands down. Most animal sources, such as eggs, poultry, meat, fish, and dairy are ‘complete proteins,’ which contain all 20 of the essential amino acids.

But vegetarian sources such as grains, seeds, and nuts usually lack one or more of these amino acids. So if you are vegetarian, you need a wide variety of plant-based foods in your meals to meet your daily quota. Even then, you will need to eat 20% to 25% more of the plant-based kind than the animal variety, to compensate.

#3 Spread out your intake
If you tend to skip breakfast, and load up on the protein at lunch and dinner, then please stop. Your body can process only little quantities, at one go. So give your body little shots of this food, throughout the day.

If you work out regularly, make sure you have a high protein meal at the end of your workout, since this helps repair muscle damage and build tissue. You can opt for post-workout meals such as non-fat Greek yogurt, sprout salad, or paneer.

#4 Go for the gym-friendly kind
Smartly timed protein fuels can help your body to recover faster from a workout. The ideal number is 20 g, prior to, and after, a weight training session. Here are three of our favourites:

1.Chicken or tuna: A single can of tuna (140 g) can give you 30 g and 100 calories ,while four pieces of chicken yield 14 g, and 66 calories of energy. Work up a tuna sandwich or a chicken salad to treat yourself to a tasty power-packed snack.

2. Eggs: Eggs are one the best sources of high-quality protein. Just one egg can deliver 6 g, in the right combination of all the essential amino acids. Three hard boiled eggs or a scramble of 3 eggs can give you 19 g, along with 232 calories.

3. Chocolate milk: The newfound celebrity love of gym goers, chocolate milk is a perfect post-workout snack that provides about 17 g and 333 calories (from 450 g of chocolate milk).