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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. why is there a picture of a GRUB with this article??????????

    kj wrote on July 15th, 2012
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. are these values from cooked or pre-cooked things?

    Mariano wrote on August 29th, 2012
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. I just could not depart your site prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the
    usual info a person provide to your guests? Is going
    to be again steadily to check out new posts

    Barbara wrote on May 30th, 2013
  14. Because of c. diff., and secondary IBD, I have to eat a large amount of protein to prevent serious weight loss. The problem is, I’m allergic to dairy, soy, and gluten. I’m fine eating meat and eggs, but the consensus is that IBD folks should not eat beans. Plus I would rather not eat a huge amount of red meat. I’m eating peanut butter, but too much peanut butter or almond butter triggers flares. The only protein powder I can use is Rice. Any other suggestions on how to (a) get enough protein, and (b) prevent further weight loss?


    Margaret Horn wrote on June 12th, 2013
  15. Money money money…
    I eat between 300 and 350g each day from Whey, chicken breast, egg whites, lean pork, tuna and salmon. It’s like having a full time job

    Barry wrote on June 19th, 2013
  16. The way I learned it is bodyweight minus body fat percentage =fat free mass. That number (in grams) is how much protein the individual should have/ day. Definitely not total body weight.

    Jan Penner wrote on August 26th, 2013
    • and bodyweight in kilos or lbs?
      I bet it is in kilos XD

      Nicolas wrote on August 27th, 2013
  17. Hi. Well i also try vegan/vegetarian diet (not for liking animals and all that animal right wich i found stupid) because all the hype the diet as around and the “health benefits”. Vegetarian was ok (dairy, eggs), vegan was awfull ( i think my reserve of b12, omega3 and the abundance of phitic acid was a bad idea). I eat the whole grain propaganda, and all that stuff. Also with wheight lifting.
    Then i try something more agressive, lots of animal protein and i feel like crap.
    Then i follow the FDA recommendation (something around 0,5g per pound of bodyweight for weight lifting) and eat the things never make me feel bad before i enter this “healthy quest”, even some white bread. SO i eat more carbs (little to none process sugar a bit honey) little phitic acid, the only grains i eat are process white rice, white bread, etc), moderate fat and vegetables, and some animal protein (salmon for fish you can eat it all week if you want and never have any issues with mercury) with some dairy. I feel a lot better and i keep building muscle. In fact i recover faster with less protein.
    If you think it carefully why eat that much protein. The body can not process and absor more than 20-30 grams per meal. There are good evidence that any number over it the body will start oxideze and turn into glucose. And obiously carbs is a less expensive way to get that glucose for the body; in order to oxidize protein and fats the body need more oxigen, more minerals and vitamins than with carbs, and also it leaves more damage to the body, more free radicals, therefore you need more antioxidants in your diet. Ofcourse it is a lot better a piece of chicker or meat for protein source than a cup of bean, and anyone that do not agree on that must be out of his mind. But carbs is a better fuel for the body than protein and also over fat. In fact the body burns body fat on cardio and not on wheight lifting because there is more oxigen in the body for the fat to be burned (it consume more oxigen to for it to be transform in ATP, and more oxigen consuption = more free radicals = you get old faster).
    I always read on bodybuilding forums and all other places that the best to do is eat tons of protein and that the recommendation from scientific research are not good, that the fitness industries know a lot more and all that crap, but at the end of the day is just crap. I will admit that using protein as fuel makes you burn more calories than other macronutrient but and therefore is easier to get leaner. But that have a cost and make the body do extra work.

    Nicolas wrote on August 27th, 2013
    • Animal welfare is stupid? What a strange comment.

      I’d rather be called stupid by an idiot, than be ignorant about the suffering of living things.

      cheryl wrote on August 27th, 2013
  18. Also other animals who dont eat meat such as rhinos, gorillas, bison, and elephants are quite big and strong. Just keep that in mind.

    You wrote on December 7th, 2013
    • Sharks are pretty big too and they eat meat.

      Malin wrote on March 3rd, 2014
  19. Hi, I enjoy working out and need about the amount of amino acid in 40 grams of protein after a workout.
    I saw the veggie burger has plenty, however most of these are made of soy and more than 80% of the soy is GMO, so my question is which source can provide the most protein?
    Another question is, if you eat too many beans could be stressful to your intestine, maybe just as beef?
    please give your take…
    Thank you!!

    Chris wrote on February 1st, 2014
  20. source of information please?where did you get this info from?

    d wrote on September 10th, 2014
  21. Hi Mark I’m kinda new to this although I did paleo a bit before. I’ve been back in the gym and looking at food again since January. I’m 16st at the moment and a bit on the porky side should I still be eating a gram of protein in my weight or should I cut it down until I am lean?

    Shaun wrote on April 20th, 2015

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