Pumped Up for Protein

​Protein is an important nutrient found in the foods you eat every day. It plays many roles in your body, including:

  • recovering after exercise and injury
  • fighting infection and protecting you from getting sick again
  • keeping you full by slowing down digestion and telling your body to stop releasing ghrelin, the "hunger hormone"

How much protein you need in your diet depends on your age, sex, and activity level. Most adults need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. Some people need more protein than others. People who are physically active, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people with certain medical conditions have higher protein needs.

Many foods contain protein. Some come from animals while others come from plants. Animal-based proteins include chicken or poultry, beef, pork, game meat, fish and seafood, eggs, and dairy products, like cheese and yogurt. Plant-based proteins include beans, peas, lentils, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and soy products. 

Use the handout below to find a protein source that works for you! 


Pumped Up for Protein


Identify one source of less healthy protein in your current diet (foods containing saturated fats, like bacon at breakfast, fatty steaks at dinner) and replace it with a healthier option from the handout for one week.


Salmon Tacos

BBQ Tofu


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  2. Belza A, Ritz C, Sørensen MQ, Holst JJ, Rehfeld JF, Astrup A. Contribution of gastroenteropancreatic appetite hormones to protein-induced satiety.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97(5):980-989. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.047563
  3. Otten J, Pitzi Helwig J, Meyers L, eds. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. The National Academies Press; 2006. doi:10.17226/11537
  4. Gordon B. How much protein should I eat? EatRight.org. Published October 2020. Accessed January 11, 2021. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelinesand-myplate/how-much-protein-should-i-eat
  5. Larson H. Six creative ways to enjoy beans. EatRight.org. Published October 2020. Accessed January 12, 2021. https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/snackand-meal-ideas/six-creative-ways-to-enjoy-beans
  6. American Heart Association. Saturated fat. Heart.org. Accessed January 12, 2021. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/saturated-fats