The amount of protein women should consume each day depends on a number of factors: weight, activity level and health conditions all play a part in recommended protein intake.

Why protein is important
There are 20 amino acids that make up protein, nine of which are essential – meaning your body can’t make these aminos on its own, they can only be consumed through food.

Protein helps build and repair muscle tissue. Every time you’re active your muscle tissue is broken down. To build them back up again you need the proper fuel and that fuel is protein. Proper protein intake ensures that damaged muscle is repaired and allows the tissue to grow back stronger. Protein also helps us feel satiated when we eat and helps keep us full for longer.

What are the best sources?
Keep in mind that not all protein sources are equal. Foods that are complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids and sources include eggs, fish, meat and dairy. Vegan options that are not complete or as high in protein as animal sources include beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, seaweeds, chia and even vegetables like leafy greens. These are valuable sources for those looking to diversify their protein sources or who don’t eat animal based food. 

Foods that are complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids and sources include eggs, fish, meat and dairy

How much should you consume?
The answer is there is no absolute answer for how much protein women should get each day. The absolute bare minimum is considered to be 0.8g protein per kg of body weight per day, although many experts believe this number is too low.

Times of illness, injury, recovery and stress (including workouts) all increase the body’s need for protein.

    • For active women, a range of 1.2g-1.6g/kg body weight is likely a better number to shoot for
    • For a 140-pound (64kg) woman, this would imply an approximate 75-90g of protein per day

It can be much simpler to break down this requirement into a visual representation of what this will mean for one day of eating. Aim to have a palm size serving of protein every time you have a meal or snack (approximately 3-5 times per day). Here is an example of good daily protein intake:

    • 2 eggs for breakfast (10g)
    • 10 almonds and a tablespoon of chia in ½ cup Greek yogurt for a snack (15g)
    • A palm-sized chicken breast for lunch (20g)
    • ½ cup bean salad as a snack (10g)
    • Salmon for dinner (20g)

In total, this equals 85 grams and with some vegetables and perhaps some grains as part of these meals, the overall protein intake would be a bit higher.