Healthy Eating

4 Reasons to Eat More Protein + 3 Easy Recipes

Plus, a step by step way to calculate your own protein needs.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

Let’s talk protein—it’s one of those macros that many of us stress about getting enough of. However, here’s the thing—chances are you’re getting enough, but the type of protein matters too (in a big way). Read on to learn about how much protein you really should be enjoying each day and why it’s actually really easy to get your daily protein allowance without having to gulp down massive amounts of protein shakes.

Plus, we’re sharing three easy batch cooking protein-rich meals to make your weeknights ten times easier (you’re welcome). 

4 Reasons to Get Enough Protein 

First, let’s break down why protein is important. It does far more than just help us build and maintain those strong, lean, and sexy arms we’ve been working on. 

Protein is also key for:

  1. Repairing tissue
  2. Making hormones
  3. Making enzymes
  4. Protein also acts as a building block for our bones, skin, blood, and cartilage. 

Another important thing to note is that the body doesn’t store protein—this is why it’s essential that we eat enough good quality protein each day to keep up with our active body’s demands. 

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

Ok, so how much protein do you really need each day? It’s a common misconception that we need to overdo our protein consumption when we’re exercising. While we need enough, we also don’t want to overdo it (too much protein is hard on the kidneys). 

As a general rule of thumb, the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) suggests that we consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. 

This equals out to be roughly:

  • 46 grams of protein per day for the average woman whos not super active. 

Endurance athletes require quite a bit more protein at roughly 1.2-1.4 grams per kg of body weight per day. 

And, those recovering from injury and older adults also need more, requiring roughly 1-1.3 grams per kg of body weight per day. 

To help you get the whole picture of how much protein you need each day, here’s a calculation you can play with using your own individual numbers. 

Step #1

Calculate your weight in kg—to do so, take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2. Yes, your weight in kg will look way lower! 

Step #2

Then, determine your individual protein needs based on the ranges above. If you fall into that average range, then take your weight in kg and multiply that by 0.8 grams. 

Voila! You just calculated out how much protein you need per day. 

Here’s an example of this IRL. 

  • 150 lbs. divided by 2.2= 68 kg
  • 68 kg times 0.8= 54 grams of protein per day 

When to Eat Protein 

It’s important to consume well-balanced meals and snacks throughout the day, so you really can squeeze some high-quality protein into everything you do eat. 

Eating protein at breakfast will help keep you full, and pairing some protein with some healthy fats (like half of an avocado with one hard-boiled egg) is also going to help keep you full and your blood sugar stable

Here are some healthy protein sources to much on throughout the day: 

  • Organic chicken/turkey 
  • Eggs 
  • Nuts & seeds 
  • Quinoa 
  • Lentils 
  • Beans 
  • Organic cheese (preferably grass-fed) 
  • Tempeh 

3 Easy Batch Cooking Protein Recipes 

One last thing about how much protein you need each day—whipping up some batch cooking protein-rich meals over the weekend will make your life SO much easier (like seriously way easier) during the craziness of the busy week. 

When you have these meals prepped, you can also have leftovers the next day, guaranteeing that you always have a meal rich in quality protein and all the nourishing goodness your body needs. 

We’re sharing our top three fav super duper easy batch cooking protein recipes that will work for lunch or dinner. 

#1 Turkey Tacos

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of ground turkey 
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped 
  • 1 cup of kale, chopped
  • 1 packet of organic taco seasoning 
  • Your favorite taco shells 
  • Avocado, lettuce, shredded organic cheese for topping
  • Coconut oil for cooking

Directions:

  1. Saute the ground turkey in coconut oil until brown and cooked through. 
  2. Add the onion, tomato, kale, and taco seasoning and cook again for about 5 minutes. 
  3. Serve with taco shells and desired toppings. 

Batch Tip: Brown the turkey the day before and have all of your toppings prepped. This way, it’s just a matter of mixing in the veggies and seasoning and serving up your tacos! 

#2 Chicken & Veggies 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, cubed 
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar 
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper 
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp. oregano 
  • 1 pinch of sea salt and pepper 
  • Coconut oil for cooking

Directions:

  1. Start by cooking the cubed chicken breasts in coconut oil until completely cooked through.
  2. Add the bell peppers and onion and cook until the veggies are soft.
  3. Remove from heat and drizzle in the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle in the seasoning. 
  4. Serve over a bowl of quinoa or brown rice. 

Batch Tip:

Cook the chicken and veggie stir-fry over the weekend, making 2-3 batches. Freeze to use during the week to simply reheat and serve over a bowl of quinoa or brown rice. 

#3 One Pan Chicken Pizza “Pasta” 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, cubed 
  • 2 cups of cooked spaghetti squash 
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets, cooked 
  • 1 cup of marinara sauce 
  • 1 cup of shredded dairy-free cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast 
  • Coconut oil for cooking

Directions:

  1. Add the chicken cubes to a skillet with the coconut oil and saute until completely cooked through. 
  2. Add the spaghetti squash, broccoli, sauce, and cheese. Stir well and heat until the cheese melts. 
  3. Sprinkle in the nutritional yeast and enjoy!. 

Batch Tip:

Make this on a weekend or on a weeknight where you have extra time, and make enough to have leftovers the next day. You can also make extra broccoli to have on hand during the week for other recipes.