NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Protein is essential for helping us reach physical goals, like getting leaner and stronger. It’s also involved in pretty much every aspect of our energy and metabolism and is key for maintaining our alertness and focus.

In today’s FUELED Wellness + Nutrition, Molly shares an easy rule of thumb on how much protein we need, and – if we’re lacking – 3 seamless ways to add more into our diets.

Protein is key for our bones, muscles, and skin; also healthy hormones and blood pressure. It’s a tremendous benefit in post-workout muscle recovery, serving to repair muscle fibers that are stressed with exercise.

Protein is digested more slowly than carbs, so it keeps us feel fuller longer. Too little protein in the diet can leave us feeling tired and hungry, can weaken our immune system and can lead to sarcopenia, the gradual loss of muscle mass that naturally occurs as we age.

The Recommended Daily Allowance for protein is too low for most active people… so how much protein do we really need? Research shows that most of us should aim for 0.45 to 0.68 grams of protein per pound. To streamline, round up to 0.5 to 0.75 grams (or even simply 1 gram) of protein per pound of body weight.

For a 150-pound person, this means 75-150 grams of protein daily.

If we incorporate protein into meals and snacks throughout the day, it is easy to reach our daily protein goals with everyday food and drink: A 6-ounce serving of fish, meat or poultry has about 40 grams of protein.

Not a meat-eater? It’s easy to meet daily protein goals with meatless options. Read more about why protein matters, plus find a summary of 21 popular ‘protein’ foods ranked from greatest to least protein content in Molly’s blog, here.

3 Effortless Protein Add-ins:

Collagen | essentially flavorless, it dissolves easily and works well in hot or iced coffee and smoothies, even sauces, soups and baked goods. Two scoops typically adds 20 grams protein.

Greek Yogurt | Fage 2%, Chobani full-fat, Trader Joe’s reduced- or full-fat, or Kite Hill’s no-sugar-added plant-based protein yogurt.  Versatile for smoothies, creamy hot dishes [eg Bolognese, creamed spinach] and creamy dips [in place of sour cream and/or mayo].

Smoothies | DIY at home by adding plant- or whey-based protein, collagen, Greek yogurt; or any of the nutrient- and protein-packed 30+ Eat Fit approved smoothies at Smoothie King, with as much as 20-plus grams of protein, and some as much as 45 or 65 grams of protein [find full list + nutrition facts on the Eat Fit smartphone app, available for Apple and Android devices].

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FUELED Wellness + Nutrition is powered by Smoothie King. Learn about Eat Fit at Smoothie King; click here for the full list of Eat Fit options available at Smoothie King, proud sponsor of FUELED Wellness + Nutrition with Molly on WGNO. 

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Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD is a registered dietitian + nutrition journalist in New Orleans, and founder of Ochsner Eat Fit nonprofit restaurant initiative. Tune in to her podcast, FUELED | Wellness + Nutrition and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @MollyKimballRD. See more of Molly’s articles + TV segments at www.mollykimball.com, and sign up for Eat Fit Wellness Bites weekly newsletter, here.

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