Eating 100 grams of protein a day may seem daunting if you’re not used to it, but as a dietitian, I’ve learned some tips and tricks that can help you meet this target consistently.
The best way to eat 100 grams of protein is by distributing it across your meals and snacks throughout the day evenly. This can be achieved by having 3-4 meals containing 25-33 g per meal. This is made easier by building your meals around foods that contain more protein than carbs or fats.
I’ll teach you how to do just that by highlighting the foods that are highest in protein and sharing my top tips for increasing your protein intake in your meals and snacks.
- 100 grams of protein a day can easily be reached through whole foods alone. However, protein supplements might be a convenient option if you are on the go.
- It is important to eat a variety of protein sources, like meat, fish, dairy, eggs, legumes, and tofu, to diversify and balance your nutrient intake.
- Preparing a meal schedule and logging your food in an app are a couple of strategies that might help you stay motivated and consistent in reaching your protein goal.
Who Should Be Eating 100 Grams of Protein Per Day
The amount of protein that you need will depend on your weight, body composition, and activity level.
Most active individuals should be eating at least 100 grams of protein per day, whereas most sedentary individuals likely require less than 100 grams per day.
Protein Recommendations For Sedentary Individuals
Those who are sedentary (less than 20-30 minutes of purposeful activity a day) may only need 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
This means that if you weigh 150 lbs, work a desk job, and do not exercise, then you only need around 60 grams of protein per day.
Sedentary individuals would have to weigh around 250 lbs to require 100 grams of protein per day.
Protein Recommendations For Active Individuals
Research suggests that active individuals who engage in endurance or strength sports require 0.6 – 0.9 grams per pound of body weight.
However, most individuals round this up to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight to ensure they’re getting enough to support muscle growth and recovery.
These values (recommendations for sedentary and active people) fall in line with the recommended protein intake range published by the Institute of Medicine, which advises 10-35% of total calories to come from protein.
However, active individuals should be on the higher end of the range between 25-30% of total calories to allow for muscle retention and growth.
This means that active individuals with a calorie intake of 1334-1600 calories per day are more likely to need 100 grams of protein per day.
Most active individuals will be eating much more than this, so it’s clear that most active individuals will require MORE than 100 grams of protein per day.
6 Tips For Reaching 100 Grams of Protein A Day
Now that you know you should be eating 100 grams of protein (if not more!), here are six tips to help you reach this goal.
1. Familiarize Yourself With Foods That Are Highest In Protein
Familiarizing yourself with the protein content of different foods will help you learn which foods you should be prioritizing to help you get to your 100-gram goal more easily.
Some of the foods with the highest protein content are:
- Meat, like chicken, turkey, beef, and pork
- Fish, like salmon, cod, haddock, and tuna
- Pulses, like beans, lentils, and chickpeas
- Tofu and tempeh
- Eggs and dairy products, like Greek yogurt
- Soy-based products, like soy yogurt and soy milk
The best ways to discover which foods are highest in protein are to use our Single Macro Food guide and to start reading nutrition labels (which provide information on the protein content per 100g or per serving) when purchasing food.
You can also start logging your food intake using a macro tracking app, like MacroFactor, to discover which foods that you’re eating are high in protein, and which ones are not.
2. Include Protein At Every Meal
Building your meals around a protein source like meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, tofu, and soya, will make it easy for you to meet your 100g target by the end of the day.
Oftentimes people struggle to hit their protein intake because they’re building their meals around carbs (like pasta or pancakes) rather than proteins.
3. Be Mindful Of Portion Sizes
Now that you’re building your meals around a protein source, it’s important to ensure you’re choosing the right portion sizes to support your 100-gram goal.
A general rule is to aim for 20-40 grams of protein per meal.
If you’re logging your food in a macro tracking app, then it’s easier to determine how much of each food source you need to get 20-40 grams per meal.
Here are a few examples of portion sizes that give you 20-40 grams of protein to get you started:
- Cooked meat (i.e. chicken breast): 90-100g serving
- Cooked oily fish (i.e. salmon filet): 140-150g serving
- Plant-based alternative (i.e. soya/tofu): 100g serving
- Legumes (i.e. kidney beans): 150g serving (4 tablespoons)
4. Swap Low Protein Foods With Higher Protein Alternatives
Another smart way to increase your protein intake to get to 100 grams is to trade in low-protein foods for higher-protein alternatives. These foods will add up over time to contribute to your daily protein intake.
- regular white pasta for lentil or pea pasta (it has nearly double the amount of protein per 100 g).
- white bread with brown/wholegrain bread or Ezekiel bread (it contains more than double the amount of protein per slice).
- Cottage cheese ice cream for store-bought ice cream (it tastes better than it sounds and offers 22g of protein per serving )
5. Choose Higher Protein Snacks
Consuming protein-rich snacks throughout the day is an easy way to meet your protein target beyond what you can fit into your meals.
Building snacks around a protein source will make your snacks more satisfying so that you’re not reaching for snack after snack and still feeling hungry.
Here are a few whole-food options:
- 100g Greek yogurt with 30g nuts or seeds (16g protein)
- 100g cottage cheese with a couple of crackers (13g protein)
- 2 hard-boiled eggs (14g protein)
- 150g soy yogurt (10g protein)
For more convenient options, you could try:
- Whey or plant-based protein with 200ml milk (25-30g protein)
- 50-60g protein bar or cookie (15-20g protein)
6. Prepare A Meal Schedule
If you prepare a weekly schedule with the meals and snacks that you want to have and the ingredients they require, then you will have a better chance of reaching your 100-gram protein goal.
I also recommend having a day dedicated to preparing these protein sources so that they’re ready to go at meal times.
By putting in a bit of effort in planning at the start of the week, you will be able to save time and estimate the amount of protein included in each meal, preventing you from being caught off guard if you don’t have time to cook.
How Much Protein Should Come From Supplements vs Whole Foods If Eating 100g A Day
You should be getting most of your protein from whole foods, as opposed to supplements, because protein-rich whole foods also provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber, all of which contribute to a balanced diet.
In this case, it is easy to reach 100g of protein a day exclusively from whole foods, so my recommendation would be to aim for this as often as you can.
If it’s more realistic for you to meet this protein intake by incorporating protein supplements, aim for around 25% of your protein intake from supplements and around 75% from whole food sources.
If you’re eating 100g of protein per day, then this would be 75g from whole food sources and 25g from supplements.
- Related: Here’s a guide to getting 100g of protein in a single meal
Same Meal Plan: 100 Grams of Protein Per Day
To help give you a better idea of how to structure your meals and snacks to reach 100 grams of protein per day, I’ve created 3 separate meal plans based on different dietary preferences.
Meal Plan #1: Vegan (106 g protein)
- Breakfast: 50g oats, chia seeds (2 tablespoons), soy milk (125ml), peanut butter (1 tablespoon) = 19 grams of protein
- Snack: 150g soy yogurt, 1 tablespoon of almond butter = 15 grams of protein
- Lunch: Lentil pasta (150 uncooked) with mushrooms and broccoli = 25 grams of protein
- Snack: 150g parmesan crusted edamame = 17 grams of protein
- Dinner: chickpea and vegetable stir-fry with tofu (250g) and 100g cooked quinoa = 30 grams of protein
Meal Plan #2: With Eggs, Meat, and Dairy (106 g protein)
- Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, 1 slice of brown bread = 19 grams of protein
- Snack: 150g of Greek yogurt, 1 small handful of almonds = 20 grams of protein
- Lunch: 150g of grilled chicken breast, 100g of cooked quinoa, mixed vegetables = 43 grams of protein
- Snack: peanut butter (1 tablespoon) and banana bagel = 9 grams of protein
- Dinner: Heinz beans (150g), 1 medium-sized baked potato, grilled asparagus = 15 grams of protein
Meal Plan 3: With Eggs, Fish, and Dairy (103 g protein)
- Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, 1 slice of brown bread, 1 small avocado = 18 grams of protein
- Snack: 30g almonds = 6 grams of protein
- Lunch: Grilled salmon filet (150g), grilled vegetables, 100g cooked quinoa = 39 grams of protein
- Snack: 150g Greek yogurt, chopped pineapple = 15 grams of protein
- Dinner: bean and lentil salad (200g cooked), 5 mozzarella balls = 25 grams of protein
Staying on Track: My Practical Recommendations
Maintaining a daily protein intake of 100 grams might seem like a challenge long-term but there are some key strategies you can use to motivate yourself and maintain consistency in reaching this target.
Keep Meals Interesting
Try to prevent monotony when planning and cooking meals or snacks. You could try exploring a variety of protein-rich foods to keep your meals interesting, flavorful, and enjoyable.
Try experimenting with new recipes, herbs and spices, and cooking methods, or plan themed dinners (i.e. meatless Monday, taco Tuesday).
Look For Accountability & Support
Try sharing your goals with people, such as family or friends, or connecting with like-minded people by joining a sports or nutrition community.
Sharing your experiences and nutrition journey with people that will support you can help to keep you stay motivated and hold you accountable.
Strive For Consistency Over Perfection
It can take time to incorporate a change into your daily routine, especially if you’re not used to eating anywhere close to 100 grams per day.
It’s important to remember that this is a long-term change so one or two days of not hitting your 100-gram target doesn’t mean that you’ve failed, just get back on track and work on being as consistent as you can.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Eat 100g of Protein With Just 1 Source of Protein?
I advise against eating 100g of protein from a single protein source, because when you rely on just one type of protein food, you may restrict your intake of essential nutrients. Instead, try diversifying protein sources (i.e. chicken, salmon, beef, eggs, and tofu) to maintain a well-rounded diet.
Other Protein Meal Plans
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About The Author
Giulia Rossetto is a qualified Dietitian and Nutritionist.
She holds a Masters in Human Nutrition (University of Sheffield, UK) and more recently graduated as a Dietitian (University of Malta).
Giulia aims to translate evidence-based science to the public through teaching and writing content. She has worked 4+ years in clinical settings and has also published articles in academic journals.
She is into running, swimming and weight lifting, and enjoys spending time in the mountains (she has a soft spot for hiking and skiing in the Italian Dolomites).