5 simple ways to increase your protein intake

5 simple ways to increase your protein intake

Last updated date: 06/01/2024

Do you know the truth about protein? Protein is essential for every single person, every single day. Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, recover from a tough workout, feel more satiated at mealtime, or simply maintain good health, it’s important to get adequate amounts of healthy protein. Your protein intake is necessary for a healthy immune system and required for organs like your heart, brain, and skin to function properly.

Eating adequate protein also helps:

  • Improve your sleep.
  • Extend your feeling of fullness.
  • Lower your blood pressure.
  • Protect your bones as you age, including lowering the risk of osteoporosis for women.
  • Increase muscle mass and maintain weight loss.
  • Curb cravings and the desire for late-night snacking.
  • Boost your metabolism and increase fat-burning.
  • Repair your body after injury.
  • Slow down age-related muscle deterioration.

Here are five things you should know about protein.

1. Eat protein immediately after exercise

Having a high-protein snack, like cottage cheese or a handful of nuts, within an hour after you exercise will engage your sensitive muscles to absorb and use the nutrients from the protein to repair and grow.

2. Pair your protein with a carb

When it comes to macronutrients, protein and carbs like to work together. Especially after a strenuous cardiovascular workout, like running, the protein is used for muscle repair and the carbs are needed to restock energy stores.

3. Diversify your protein

  • If you’re a meat eater, try to prioritize eating chicken or lean cuts like pork, beef tenderloin, or 90/10 ground beef. You can search lean meat by looking for cuts that have “chuck” or “loin” in the name.
  • If you eat fish, aim to eat 3-4 ounces of frozen or fresh fish twice a week. Some fish, like salmon, are rich in omega-3’s, a healthy, unsaturated fat.
  • If you eat dairy, foods like eggs, Greek yogurt, skim milk, and mozzarella cheese are low calorie, high-protein options.
  • If you don’t eat any meat or dairy, try out incorporating beans, peas, quinoa or lentils into your meals. These foods are rich in other nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Consider purchasing protein supplements

If increasing protein the old-fashioned way is not an option, taking a supplement can be both effective and convenient. Keep in mind that protein powder is still classified as a dietary supplement, which means it is not regulated in the same way as medicine and should not be used to replace your usual diet.

4. Start your day with a high-protein meal

Many breakfast foods are low in protein, including toast, bagels, and cereals. A shake or smoothie made with protein powder can be a great breakfast option, especially if you choose nutritious ingredients. There are several types of protein powder on the market, including whey, soy, egg, and pea protein.

5. Eat protein before bed

Consuming protein, like a shake or a cup of cottage cheese, before bed may help increase muscle protein synthesis overnight. More efficient protein synthesis can help improve muscle strength, improve recovery, and may assist with weight loss.

Getting enough protein in your diet is very important. A high protein intake can offer numerous benefits, including helping you lose weight, gain muscle, and improve your body composition and metabolic health. Fortunately, this is easy to do if you follow the simple tips above.


“14 Ways to Increase Protein Intake,” healthline.com, May 21, 2021
“The Scoop on Protein Powder,” health.harvard.edu, March 9, 2020
“10 Science-Backed Reasons to Eat More Protein,” healthline.com, March 8, 2019
“Essential Guide to Protein,” blog.myfitnesspal.com, 2018
“The Definitive Guide to High-Protein Foods,” blog.myfitnesspal.com, January 21, 2017