Protein is important in your diet and tends to take centre stage at mealtimes, but it would be more efficient if it became part of the supporting cast of foods on you plate.
As it turns out that the “right” amount of protein for an individual really depends on many things such as: age, muscle mass, activity levels, physique goals and your current state of health.
So the question really should be how do I get enough protein in my diet?
The best sources of protein are Meats, Fish, Eggs and Dairy products. They have amino acids that your body needs,
Quinoa, Legumes and Nuts are plant based but are fairly high in protein also.
I would say though, I do not think there is any need for most people to track their protein intake.
If you are just a healthy person trying to stay healthy, then simply eating real quality protein with most of your meals along with your plant foods (Quinoa, Legumes etc) should bring your intake into an optimal range.
People With Special Protein Needs
Athletes- Most sports involve physically breaking down muscle during activity and repairing it afterward. This is why the protein needs of an active person are influenced by the frequency, duration and the intensity of their workouts. E.g Endurance athletes such as marathon runners need about 50% more protein than a person who is not physically active. Body Builders too may also need twice as much protein but it is very important to remember that most people get plenty of protein in their regular diet, and do not need protein supplements.
Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women- Pregnant women need about 10 more grams of protein than they did before. And nursing women need 20 grams more protein a day than they did before pregnancy to support milk production.
Dieters- When shedding pounds sensibly, your goal is to lose body fat but maintain lean muscle mass. Protein helps you do that. Protein foods tend to be filling, so they delay hunger, making it easier to stick with your weight loss program. Just keep a close eye on your portion sizes of the protein that you chose when including them in meals and snacks.
Vegetarians- So long as vegetarians are eating a variety of healthy foods, they should be able to get the recommended amount of protein from sources other than meat, such as Tofu, Nuts etc.
Vegans- People who don’t eat any animal products at all are dependent on Beans, Dried Peas, and whole grains as their main sources of protein. Vegetables, Nuts and seeds also contain small amounts of it. Vegans can meet their protein needs, but it takes planning and will require more food to do so.
Don’t Go Over Board With Protein- When it comes to servings of Meat, Fish or Poultry they should be the size of the palm of your hand and I would say eat no more than two palm sized servings of meat a day to get enough, but not too much protein.
To put it another way, Protein should take up no more than one third of your plate at meal times. I would recommend that if you are not eating much protein, to include small amounts of protein foods at every meal to spread your intake evenly throughout the day.