Why is Protein Important for Women?
- Another great thing about protein is that it’s a thermogenic, so it helps your metabolism. This means that it creates a slight calorie burn as it’s digested. When compared to carbohydrate rich foods, protein has a greater thermogenic effect. Think of it as giving your digestive system a good cardo blast!
- The chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine are released after eating protein (meats, poultry, dairy, legumes), which enhance mental concentration and alertness.
- Eating protein sources at meals might help you to feel satisfied, both at the meal and after eating. This can help fight late-night snacking!
Low-fat protein foods are not only heart-healthy, but are also easier to digest, and they won’t leave you feeling bloated like fried meats or high-fat choices such as spare ribs or salami.
The Best Protein Foods
It is best to get your protein from foods such as:
- Lean meat
- Skinless poultry
- Low-fat dairy (yogurt, milk or cheese)
- Beans and lentils
- Tofu or textured vegetable protein
- Tuna packed in water
Combine carbohydrates and protein to keep your energy lasting even longer. Try them in any combination that works for you, or try some of our examples below:
- Whole grain bread with roast turkey and tomato slices, paired with an apple
- Whole grain cereal with nonfat milk and a sliced banana
- Salmon on a bed of lentils drizzled in fresh lemon juice, spicy brown rice and beans topped with Greek yogurt
- Chicken vegetable soup with a pear salad
How Much Protein do Women Need?
Protein should represent about 10 to 35% of your daily calories, depending on your overall health and activity level.
The average healthy adult should have .8-1.0 g/kg of protein each day. This means that an average woman weighing 150 lbs. should aim for 54 to 68 grams of protein each day. It’s also best to eat a consistent amount of protein throughout each day rather than load up at one meal and go without for other meals. Your body loves consistency, especially in protein intake.
Persons who are very physically active or have an infection or heightened metabolic need may require more protein. Persons with chronic kidney disease should check with their physician about protein in their diet—sometimes a lower limit is suggested. In general, we recommend obtaining protein needs from food, not from powdered supplements. Adding non-fat dried milk to drinks and foods (such as coffee, oatmeal, potatoes), however, can increase the protein content safely, since 1 oz (2 tablespoons) contains 3 gm of protein.