A Guide to Protein Serving Sizes

By: Sharmin Sampat

What a healthy serving of protein really looks like.

 

Protein is one powerhouse nutrient. It helps keep you full, and your body uses it to help grow and maintain muscles, blood vessels, skin, hair and nails. Plus, protein also plays a key role in synthesizing hormones and enzymes in your body.

Protein is found in a variety of foods, including meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, beans, nuts and whole grains. According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, women need 46 grams of protein and men need 56 grams of protein (but this does vary depending on how many calories you eat each day). Your protein needs are also dependent on your age, activity level and whether you are pregnant or have any chronic diseases. A standard 3-oz. chicken breast has about 26 grams of protein in it. To meet the daily recommendation, you'd still need to eat some more but if you eat a balanced diet, you are likely getting the daily required amount without much difficulty.

To make it easier for you, here's what a serving of protein looks like and how much you're getting from different sources.

Related: Top Vegetarian Protein Sources

Chicken breast

Lemon-Sopressata Chicken

3 ounces cooked = 26 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Lemon-Sopressata Chicken

Salmon

Seared Salmon with Pesto Fettuccine

4 ounces cooked = 27 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Seared Salmon with Pesto Fettuccine

Shrimp

Shrimp Pad Thai Salad

4 ounces cooked = 26 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Shrimp Pad Thai Salad

Eggs

Soy-Sauce Eggs

1 large egg = 6 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Soy-Sauce Eggs

Black beans

Black Bean, Mango & Kale Wheat Berry Salad

½ cup cooked = 8 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Black Bean, Mango & Kale Wheat Berry Salad

Pork

Fennel Pollen & Balsamic-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Braised Fennel

3 ounces cooked = 23 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Fennel Pollen & Balsamic-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Braised Fennel

Tuna

Tuna Salad Sandwich with Sweet Relish

4 ounces canned (drained) = 22 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Tuna Salad Sandwich with Sweet Relish

Steak

Montreal-Style Hanger Steak with Sweet Potato Frites

3 ounces cooked = 25 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Montreal-Style Hanger Steak with Sweet Potato Frites

Tofu

Tofu, Snow Pea & Carrot Wild Rice Salad

½ cup = 11 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Tofu, Snow Pea & Carrot Wild Rice Salad

Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter-Oat Energy Balls

2 Tbsp. = 7 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Peanut Butter-Oat Energy Balls

Yogurt

Fig & Honey Yogurt

1 cup = 14 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Fig & Honey Yogurt

Quinoa

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl

½ cup cooked = 4 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl

Lentil

Slow-Cooked Moroccan Lentil Soup

1 cup lentil soup = 8 grams of protein

Recipe to Try: Slow-Cooked Moroccan Lentil Soup

Get More:
High-Protein Dinner Recipes
High-Protein Salad Recipes
High-Protein Breakfast Recipes