Since protein cannot be stored in the body, it must be consumed so that it’s readily available for muscle repair and growth. For this reason, I recommend lean protein be included with every meal. Many protein sources are animal products and many animal products contain saturated fat. Saturated fat has been linked to many dangerous effects on the body. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of lean sources of protein. I have included a list of lean sources of protein at the bottom of this article.
Generally, I recommend an intake of 15-30 grams of protein per meal. This adheres to the national guidelines for protein intake, which is approximately 30% of calories from protein sources. Activity level and body size are the main factors to determine how much protein should be consumed. Since most people reading this article are actively exercising, I’ll make the assumption that your activity level is high. As for body size, an easy way to estimate amount of protein needed is for those who weigh closer to 100 pounds to consume toward the lower end (15 grams) per meal and for those who weigh closer to 200 pounds or more to consume toward the higher end (30 grams).
At times, it’s difficult to find lean protein sources when on the run or living a busy lifestyle. Protein supplementation has become very popular among exercise enthusiasts. Many people utilize whey protein powders for convenient sources of lean protein. Protein powders may be mixed with milk, water, or your favorite beverage to provide quick, high-quality protein. Typically, whey protein powders contain around 20 grams of protein per serving, the perfect amount for a snack or post workout nutrient boost. When selecting a whey protein powder, be sure to choose one that contains very little carbohydrate or fat and does not contain artificial sweeteners or flavors.
Some Examples of Lean Protein Sources:
- Beef – Lean Ground, Round Steak, Sirloin & Jerky
- Chicken Breast
- Low-Fat Dairy – Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Cottage Cheese
- Fish & Seafood – Salmon, Tuna, Halibut, Scallops
- Legumes – Beans, Lentils, Peas, Peanuts
- Lean Ham
- Nuts – Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews
- Pork Tenderloin
- Whey Protein Powder
- Seeds – Sesame, Sunflower
- Soy Products – Nuts, Tofu , Tempeh
- Turkey – Breast Fillets, Lean Ground
- Whole Grains – Bulgur, Buckwheat, Barley
Jim Bompensa has been a health club owner and manager, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and nutrition specialist for the nearly 15 years. He is currently the owner/operator of Body Physics Fitness Center in Haddonfield, NJ. Jim has appeared and contributed on ABC and NBC in Philadelphia, PA as well as Designing Spaces on TLC.