How many grams of protein should a woman eat each day?

Protein needs vary among genders and across the lifespan. In general, adults need around 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (or 0.37 x body weight in pounds). The American Dietetic Association suggests that we consume 15% of our total calories from protein. So, a 130 pound adult female would need about 55 grams per day. Protein is comprised of amino acids. There are approximately 20 different amino acids that combine to make up a protein. A “complete” protein contains all of these amino acids (poultry, meat, eggs, fish, milk, cheese) and an “incomplete” protein is lacking in one or more of the amino acids (beans, corn, rice, tofu etc). It is recommended that one pair up incomplete protein filled foods to form a complete protein (sprinkle walnuts over oatmeal or pair beans and rice).

To meet your protein needs I encourage that people get a variety of high protein foods into your diet. Try to limit the amount of red meat that you take in and choose more lean chicken and fish as entrees. Or better yet, start to move more towards a plant based diet and substitute non meat sources of protein for regular meat entrees. For example, remove the chicken from your vegetable stir fry and instead add cubed tofu. Create a fantastic chili by using a variety of beans, vegetables, and textured vegetable protein or soy crumbles. Whole wheat vegetable lasagna and black bean enchiladas, and barley, quinoa and feta cheese stuffed peppers are other yummy examples of protein rich vegetarian entrées.

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