7 Easy Ways to Add Protein to Your Diet

Protein is essential for our health, but you may not be getting enough.

While not every day will be perfect, dietary guidelines say the average adult should eat at least 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight (PDF). For example, if you weigh 68 pounds, you should aim for about 55 to 68 grams of protein per day. One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re getting the right amount of protein is to divide your protein requirement by the number of meals you eat each day. This way you know how much protein each meal should contain.

Active people, people who lift weights, or those who play sports or have a demanding job may benefit from eating more protein than the recommended minimum. Older adults, especially those at risk for sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss), may also benefit from eating more protein. To calculate how much protein you need, try this Dietary Reference Intake Calculator from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. CNET’s visual guide also shows you what 100 grams of protein resembling.

Figuring out the number of grams of protein you should eat regularly can seem difficult, but with the right strategy and knowledge, it can be made achievable.

Here are seven simple strategies to increase the number of grams of protein you eat daily.

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1. Make egg whites a ritual

The saying “consistency is key” has become universal advice because it is true and applicable to almost anyone habit what you want to start and keep – or whatever habit you want to stop.

Ritualizing things – or linking one action to another – can help with this coherence, which ultimately leads to habits. For example, if you’re trying to get more steps in every day, you could say, “I’m going to walk for ten minutes every day after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” Boom — that’s an extra 30 minutes of walking every day.

Try ritualizing proteins in that sense. Maybe you drink milk for breakfast every morning, or maybe you drink a protein shake and then protein becomes part of your breakfast ritual. With 20 to 40 grams of protein, a daily protein shake can quickly increase your total protein intake.

You can also ritualize proteins by drinking a post-workout shake. This may seem like common sense, but trust me, it’s easy to forget your post-workout drink when you say, “Um, I’ll drink it after dinner or after I shower.” Go ahead and do it as soon as your workout is over; drink it during your post-workout stretches or cool down and it becomes a ritual.

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2. Eat your proteins first

If you eat meals with protein sources, try to eat the bulk of the protein before moving on to the other food sources on your plate, especially grains, which can fill you up quickly. Eating your protein source first will ensure that you eat it all before you get too full.

An added bonus: Protein can make you feel fuller, so if you’re trying to lose weight, eating enough protein can help you reach your health goals.

Read more: Meal Replacement Shakes: Can They Help You Lose Weight or Not?

3. Top foods with chopped nuts

Nuts aren’t necessarily the best source of protein in terms of volume, but adding them to your meals throughout the day can give you a nice protein boost.

Try adding chopped walnuts (4.3 grams of protein per serving) to salads, chopped peanuts (6.7 grams per serving) or almonds (six grams per serving) to oatmeal and chopped cashews (5.2 grams per serving) to stir-fries .

In addition to their protein content, nuts also contain many healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. So you are doing your health a favor in every respect by adding nuts to meals.


Add nuts to salads, oatmeal, stir-fries and more to get a protein boost.

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4. Choose leaner meat

Lean meats contain less fat per serving, which means they contain more lean meat and therefore more protein per serving. This is a super easy way to add more protein to your daily intake if you eat animal protein every day.

Lean meat contains fewer calories than fattier meat, and protein provides satiety, so this is a good tactic for anyone trying to lose weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, the leanest cuts of beef are:

  • Top sirloin steak
  • Top-round roast and steak
  • Bottom round roast and steak
  • Eye of round roast and steak
  • Entrecote steak

If you’re going for poultry, a good rule of thumb is to choose white meat over dark meat. For pork, Mayo Clinic says the leanest cuts of pork are tenderloin, pork chop and leg.

5. Choose brown rice or quinoa over white rice

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Quinoa contains more protein than white rice.

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This is a simple swap that you can use often to get more protein into your diet. Both quinoa and brown rice contain more protein per serving than white rice and can replace white rice in most meals.

The texture is similar, although quinoa has an earthier flavor than rice. Each serving of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein per cup, while brown rice contains 5.3 grams per cup; White rice, on the other hand, contains only 4.4 grams of protein per cup.

Quinoa surpasses both white and brown rice in terms of protein, but brown rice still offers more protein than white rice and is a good choice if you don’t like quinoa.

6. Add beans to everything

Beans are an often overlooked and underrated source of protein. They are so easy to add to salads, pasta, tacos and many other dishes and, depending on the type of bean, can add up to 10 grams of protein per half cup.

This isn’t much compared to animal protein sources like poultry and eggs, but adding beans to meals can fill some gaps in your daily protein intake. Additionally, beans are a great source of fiber and other nutrients.

7. Replace white bread with whole wheat bread

Bread is a modest place to increase your protein intake, but some breads contain quite a bit of protein: just as brown rice contains more protein than white rice, whole-grain bread contains more protein than white bread.

This is because whole grain foods retain all parts of the grain – the germ, bran and endosperm – while the refining process strips the grains down to just the endosperm, which doesn’t contain many nutrients.

For example, Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Whole Seeds and Grains contains five grams of protein per slice. If you eat two slices for breakfast, that is automatically 10 grams of protein that you do not get with refined white bread.

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