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The power of protein

Including enough protein in your diet is important to your body and overall health. Our Protein+ menu provides options that can help you meet your daily requirements and nutritional needs.

April 02, 2024

The power of protein

Including enough protein in your diet is essential to good health and keeping your body strong and working properly. Along with maintaining healthy muscles and bones, there are many reasons for meeting your daily protein requirements.

Why your body needs protein

From your cells and tissues to your bones and muscles, protein plays a critical role in your overall health. Unlike fats and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein in the same way, which is why including it in your daily diet is so important.

The body needs protein to:

  • Maintain a healthy immune system to ward off illnesses
  • Make enzymes for helping digest food
  • Repair and strengthen muscle
  • Keep bones strong
  • Ensure blood and skin cells are continuously replaced as needed

Unfortunately, some adults may have health issues that make it challenging to eat an adequate amount of protein. When a person is undergoing cancer treatment, for example, following a balanced diet that includes good sources of protein is essential to fighting infection, maintaining weight and promoting healing during and after treatment.

Not only can protein support people before, during and after cancer treatment it is also very important for individuals:

  • Pre- and post-childbirth for better maternal and fetal health
  • After having a surgery
  • Getting back on your feet after an illness like flu or pneumonia
  • Living with HIV
  • As we age, older individuals may need to increase their protein intake since the amount of muscle tissue we have in our bodies decreases with time

It’s also important for those who follow a vegetarian diet to include multiple sources of protein in their daily meals.

How much protein is enough?

The recommended dietary allowance for protein for a healthy individual (not battling chronic or acute illness) is 0.8 grams of protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 165 pounds should consume 60 grams of protein per day. Contact your doctor to verify how much protein you need.

Keep in mind that this protein intake recommendation is not advised for individuals affected by kidney disease. Follow the eating plan advised by your kidney care providers.

Good sources of protein

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body can manufacture many of the amino acids it needs; however, nine of them are considered “essential” because the body cannot make these and must be sourced from the food we eat.

There are two types of protein: animal and plant. Animal protein is complete and provides all the essential amino acids required by the body. Beef, pork, poultry, fish and dairy items are examples of foods that are rich in animal protein.

Plant proteins are found in nuts, seeds, dried beans and legumes. While plant protein does not offer all the essential amino acids, eating a variety of plant proteins can ensure you are covering your bases when it comes to consuming all the essential amino acids.

Protein Chart

Spread your protein out

Not only is it important to eat enough protein each day, but the timing of your protein intake is important also. Older adults who spread their protein intake out between meals and snacks can better maintain muscular strength than those who eat most of their protein at one meal.

Registered dietitians recommend eating 25-30 grams of protein at each meal and selecting snacks with 10-25 grams of protein until you have met your recommended protein intake for the day.

Mom's Meals® Protein+ menu can help

We help take the guesswork out of getting enough protein with our Protein+ menu. All of our protein meals contain at least 25g of protein and over 600 calories to address the increased nutritional needs of several health conditions.

Delivered direct to your home, the delicious ready-to-heat-and-eat meals you choose are designed by registered dietitians and crafted by professional chefs in USDA-inspected kitchens.