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Does protein matter? Sure. But most of us are getting enough, if not more than our bodies need. Sustained high protein consumption can be harmful to our long-term health, research suggests.
Instead of adding more protein, replace some of your meat and dairy protein servings with plant-based sources, like beans, nuts and seeds, quinoa, tempeh, tofu, edamame, and nutritional yeast (high-flavor flakes or powder). Spread your protein consumption throughout the day: Your body can’t process a lot at one time.
We asked you to pick your top protein snacks; 1,500 students answered. Then we pondered the pros and cons.
CLIF and LUNA Bars
- Favored by all of us who couldn’t get it together this morning
- Nutri perks around 10g protein; high fiber; somewhat organic
- BUT? The first ingredient is sugar (brown rice sugar)
- Easy eating Whip it out to avoid getting hangry (so hungry you’re angry)
- Cost $1–$2 each
- TRIVIA Stanley Mason of Connecticut invented the granola bar, plus squeezy ketchup bottles and foaming toothpaste
- Favored by Posh Spice, Tom Brady, squirrels
- Why go nuts? May protect against heart disease, gallstones, and diabetes
- Nutri perks High in protein, fiber, minerals,
and unsaturated fat
- BUT? Allergy risk; high fat content
- Keep it healthier A serving is a small handful (20–25 nuts) or 2 Tbsp nut butter
- Cost Expensive: macadamia and pecans. Affordable: peanuts
- Favored by John Stamos, Kelly Ripa, Venus Williams, and everyone else
- Why milk it? A multipurpose food that keeps you full
- Nutri perks Protein, live and active cultures, and probiotics for a happy gut
- BUT? Flavored yogurts are high in added sugars
- Keep it healthier Choose plain nonfat yogurt; jazz it up with fruit, almond slivers, and seeds
- Cost $2–$3; to save money, buy a larger container
- Favored by Ryan Reynolds when prepping to be a vampire
- Why whey? Can help boost strength and muscle size
- Nutri perks Easy to digest
- BUT? Often high in sugar and mysterious additives
- Keep it healthier Look for fewer additives or substitute nutritional yeast
- Cost Way more expensive than real food
Here’s how to figure out how much protein you need.
Multiply your body weight
in pounds by 0.336.
Unless you’re a serious athlete,
you probably don’t need more.
If you weigh 150 lb, you need 50 grams of protein a day (0.336 x 150 = 50.4)
If you weigh 200 lb, you need 67 grams of protein a day (0.336 x 200 = 67.2)
Steak (size of a pack of cards) | 42 grams
Chicken breast | 30 grams
Most fish fillets | 22 grams
½ cup tofu (size of a pack of cards) | 20 grams
2 Tbsp. peanut butter | 8 grams
1 egg | 6 grams
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