Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Apr

How to Eat Enough Protein

Mark tries to eat about 1 gram of protein per pound of body mass each day and suggests many others do the same to maintain lean body mass. But what does 100-150 grams of protein look like in terms of actual food? Do you know how much protein is in a single chicken breast? How about a six ounce steak? Fish, nuts, eggs, even vegetables? We’ll shoot for a picture of 150 grams of protein and break this down to what it could look like in a given day.

Beef (6 oz.) – 54 grams
Turkey, breast (6 oz.) – 51.4 grams
Pork Chop (6 oz.) 49 grams
Turkey, dark meat (6 oz.) – 48.6 grams
Hamburger (6 oz.) – 48.6 grams
Chicken, dark meat (6 oz.) – 47.2 grams
Tuna (6 oz.) – 40.1 grams
Broiled Beefsteak (6 oz.) – 38.6 grams
Chicken, breast (6 oz.) – 37.8 grams
Ham (6 oz.) – 35.4 grams
Salmon (6 oz.) – 33.6 grams

Cottage cheese (1 cup) – 28.1 grams
Yogurt, low fat (1 cup) – 10.7 grams
Skim milk (1 cup) – 8.3 grams
Whole milk (1 cup) – 8 grams
American cheese (1 oz.) – 7 grams
Soymilk (6 oz.) – 6.7 grams
Egg (1 large) – 6.3 grams

Meat Substitutes, Beans and Legumes, Nuts
Veggie Burger (6 oz.) – 51.4 grams
Tofu (6 oz.) – 13.8 grams
Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp.) – 8.1 grams
Almond Butter (2 Tbsp.) – 7 grams
Lentils (1/2 cup) – 9 grams
Split Peas (1/2 cup) – 8.1 grams
Kidney Beans (1/2 cup) – 7.6 grams
Sesame Seeds (1 oz.) – 7.5 grams
Black Beans (1/2 cup) – 7.5 grams
Garbanzo Beans (1/2 cup) – 7.3 grams
Green Peas (1/2 cup) – 4.1 grams

Fruits and Vegetables
Orange (large) – 1.7 grams
Banana (medium) – 1.2 grams
Green Beans (1/2 cup) – 1 gram
Carrots (1/2 cup) – .8 gram
Apple (large) – 0 grams

Obviously, the meats among the group are the best bet for protein. In looking at this list with the context of the 150 gram goal, it’s important to eat good protein sources at every meal. Check out our recipe posts for some ideas. We’d suggest giving a “protein” diary a shot if you’re concerned about protein intake.

So, tell us how you get your protein in each day and any other thoughts.

llerne Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Pondering Protein: How much protein should I be eating?

How much protein should Apurva be eating?

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You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I think I’m getting around 180g of protein per day, but I wouldn’t bet on it. It’s certainly not all from whole foods.

    Currently eat 100g sardines for breakfast with a 40g protein shake as a chaser (incl cacao & stevia).
    Lunch is an unknown quantity.. maybe a burger pattie or leftover chicken.
    Dinner’s usually a big load of meat & veg. Plus I have a protein shake after training if it’s not mealtime. Definitely *up* there, but I plan on doing better.

    OnTheRun wrote on May 12th, 2010
  2. I’ve been battling obesity for years now. I started eating primal 4 mos. ago and have actually gained weight. At 5’10” and 260 pounds, I have a hard time wrapping my head around eating 260g of protein a day! What am I missing here???

    Adgal wrote on June 3rd, 2010
  3. Adgal…here is a much better way to explain why we are fat.

    Chris wrote on June 3rd, 2010
  4. Thanks Chris. I’ve been a rock star on the plan when it comes to grains. Crackers and breads used to be my trigger foods, but I’ve been shocked at how easily I’ve been able to give them up. As far as sugar, I’m about 85% there — only fruits have been blueberries and strawberries, I’ve switched to Stevia when I need a sweetener, but I do still love me some dark chocolate every now and that — but no processed sugars. Amazingly, I just had bloodwork done (testing thryoid, lypids, etc): since I’ve been eating primal, my cholesterol is down from 223 to 173, and my tricyclerides down from 224 to 178!
    I’m just so stymied about the lack of weigh loss.

    Adgal wrote on June 4th, 2010
  5. Wow, reading this site has opened my eyes.

    Though I am obese, I have 200 pounds of lean mass. (Nifty they can now tell you that) In an effort to lose the excess fat my Dr sent me to a dietitian who says I should be eating a maximum of 100g of meat a day, roughly 3.5oz. Preferably lean beef or skinless chicken breasts.

    No wonder I have HUGE cravings for meat!!!

    Reading this post makes me realize just how much I am under eating protein and why my poor body is screaming for it!

    The dietitian’s response to me saying “I’m ready to rip and arm or leg off anything that walks by!” was “Well you need to fill up on healthy whole grains.” AGH!!!

    So glad I found this site, now I won’t feel guilty when I go against CW and actually eat the meat my body is craving and ditch the icky grains that make me feel ill.

    Yay for Primal!

    Star wrote on August 26th, 2010
  6. How can I consume 250 grams of protein per day without breaking my budget? What is the smartest solution to this problem?

    Grant wrote on November 12th, 2010
  7. I think budget is my main concern too. Protein costs!!

    Girish wrote on November 23rd, 2010
  8. Protein + Budget

    I’ve been into weight lighting etc for quite some time now and have managed, with ease over 300 grams of Protein a day.

    The first and best way for easy protein is definitely Protein Shake… myprotein do great protein only shakes for the cheapest in the uk.

    Secondly – EGG’s …. my budget does not allow me to have morals, I buy 30 battery farmed eggs at a time, hard boil them all and consume 5 a day… easy 30 grams of protein for roughly 30p its not bad!

    Thirdly -Oats oats oats (with protein shake as milk topper) very easy protein

    Every country has the cheap store (lidls, nettos), I personally buy a huge bag of ham each week, very easy protein for roughly £2.00 for a couple of KG’s of good ham.

    Turkey vs Chicken (Turkey Wins) whenever you have the option go for turkey…you get 2x more meat for your money and its got nearly 50% more protein.

    From there with good fruit, nuts, milk (beef jerky if your looking to treat yourself) you’ve got many cheap, low fuss options to keep that protein craving at a minimum…its kept my 6ft 8 a*s in shape for the last year or so!

    Just remember for all you tuna lovers… don’t go overboard, I used to go for 2-3 cans a day for easy protein and started losing my mind! Dont poison yourself with the mercury, stay under 4 cans a week!



    Dave wrote on February 2nd, 2011
    • 2-3 cans? Wow, Dave, I don’t know how you could eat that much of one thing without your taste buds revolting!

      Brad wrote on February 25th, 2011
      • Dave Sounds a Fishy tale “2-3 cans a day Ewww

        Stu wrote on September 26th, 2013
  9. I don’t understand why a high protein diet is recommended when most amino acids are converted into glucose for energy which means protein is a carbohydrate. It also yields ammonia as a byproduct which is toxic. It would be an expensive source of energy compared to fats and carbohydrates especially now that the food prices are high.

    Studies showed that those with impaired kidneys slowed their deterioration by eating less protein. Kidney disease is quite common and is silent in the early stages. Those with healthy kidneys are not affected by a high protein intake.

    brian wrote on July 16th, 2011
  10. Do I calculate grams of protein for my IDEAL weight. I am over weight and certainly should not eat that many grams of protein. I am doing 50-100 carbs per day and am confused about how many grams of protein to eat. I have the 21 day transformation but I couldnt find that info.

    danielle wrote on January 19th, 2012
  11. please help anyone. I am having to have GB due to the effects of GERD on my esophogus. I have to prove I eat enough protein and I truly need to, to counter act the effects of the surgery. Where can I find a list of grams of protein in foos. The internet only gives me websites selling product and I am committed to staying health.

    Please lead me to a site that gives me this info.

    Thank you from someone who does not want to be malnurished!!

    rmb9349 wrote on January 19th, 2012
  12. What veggie burger has 51g of protein? I don’t eat meat (only fish) and I’d like to know because I’m trying to eat more protein. All of the major brands are around 15g which is not even close.

    Pie Man wrote on February 2nd, 2012
  13. Greetings! I’ve been following your web site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic job!

    Milton Berle wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  14. I’m 6’8″ and about 280 lbs. Do you have any idea how to eat 280 grams of protein? I simply cannot physically eat 3 lbs of meat per day.

    Noodly James wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  15. hi Mark,
    I just finished my analysis and found out that my protein is too high,what will be the effect in my health,can u suggest foods that low in protein that i will include in my diet?thank u very much.

    carolyn magpali wrote on March 22nd, 2012
  16. why is there a picture of a GRUB with this article??????????

    kj wrote on July 15th, 2012
  17. Please keep in mind that the protein recommendation of 0.7 to 1.0 grams is per pound Lean Muscle Mass, not your scale weight. There is a big difference.

    Meredith wrote on July 19th, 2012
  18. Just wondering why Quinoa was not included on your protein list. I am wondering just how much protein is available in Quinoa.


    Bee Miller wrote on August 12th, 2012
  19. are these values from cooked or pre-cooked things?

    Mariano wrote on August 29th, 2012
  20. I would like to know how much protein a 6 year old child should eat a day. My six year old son is small – almost the smallest child in his class – and my husband worries it is because he doesn’t eat enough protein. He does not like meat or fish so items on your meat list he eats none of and he does not like eggs. I do make sure he eats a very balanced and healthy diet. At every meal he eats fruits, vegetables, beans, wholewheat carbs, as well as proteins that he likes – tofu, peanut butter, yogurt. And he will eat a little ground beef in pasta or chili so we do that too. But now I see from your list that the amount of tofu he eats certainly doesn’t equal a hamburger! Can you please give guidance for how much is enough for healthy growth? Let me add that I am short and my father is very short so I think this is likely just small genes but I want to do everything I can!!

    Erin Meyer wrote on October 5th, 2012
  21. A few points I see here maybe I can help with. These are just things ive learned over the years, feel free to correct me.

    1) Liquid (powdered) protein is optimal after a workout because you need fast delivery. There’s a lot of information to support and discredit every different source of powdered protein. So, I’d say choose whatever fits your program best.

    2) Bodybuilders recommend white meat over dark post-workout because fats slow the delivery process.

    3) Nobody’s mentioned collagen. From all I gather it is an extremely bioavailable protein source, which is something these raw numbers completely neglect.

    Not all proteins are created equal.

    Kashkillz wrote on November 18th, 2012
  22. 1 gram per lb of lean mass, not per pound of body weight. Some can get away with 1 gram per 2 lbs of lean mass, and some can get away with between the 2 numbers. All depends on your activity. If you’re tearing your muscles 2-3 times a week via lifting heavy things, make sure to get your 1g/lb of lean mass in the 24 hours after your workout, but personally i don’t hit that every day. There’s days where i only get 100g of protein and my lean mass is about 145lbs.

    powder wrote on March 5th, 2013
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    Barbara wrote on May 30th, 2013

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