From your head to your toes and everything in between, protein is a necessary component of every cell in the body. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissue, and it is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other essential chemicals in the body. Your hair and nails are almost exclusively made of protein. Clearly, protein is indispensable—both in your body and in your diet.
Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a macronutrient, meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are only needed in small quantities, are called micronutrients. But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein and, therefore, has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply.
One study suggests that consuming protein at regular intervals during the day may help support whole-body metabolism. Eating snacks rich in protein throughout the day could aid how your body uses this essential nutrient.
How much do I need?
Exactly how much protein you need changes with age. According to WebMD, here are a few guidelines for daily protein intake, according to age:
- Babies: about 10 grams
- School-age kids: 19-34 grams
- Teenage boys: up to 52 grams
- Teenage girls: 46 grams
- Adult men: about 56 grams
- Adult women: about 46 grams
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women: about 71 grams
How can I get more protein in my diet?
Here are 10 quick and easy snacks that offer protein! Try adding some of these to your daily routine to give your diet a delicious boost of protein.
- Greek yogurt topped with toasted almonds: 17 grams of protein per 170-gram container of nonfat Greek yogurt
- Hummus and red pepper slices: 6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup hummus and half a red pepper
- Cottage cheese topped with dried wolfberries: 27 grams of protein per 1 cup of cottage cheese and 2 tablespoons of wolfberries.
- New Pure Protein Complete™ in Vanilla Spice or Chocolate Deluxe: 25 grams of protein per serving
- Deli rollup: a slice of tomato, lettuce, and thin slices of red bell pepper with a squirt of mustard, all wrapped in a slice of turkey: 12 grams of protein per 2 rollups
- Hardboiled egg: 6 grams of protein per egg
- Almond butter with celery sticks or apple slices: 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons almond butter and 1 apple or 2 celery stalks
- Steamed edamame: 4 grams of protein per 1/2 cup of edamame
- Raw almonds: 5 grams of protein per 20 almonds
- Roasted chickpeas: 7 grams of protein per 1/2 cup of chickpeas