How to hit your protein goals
May 10, 2024

How to hit your protein goals

Uncover how protein impacts hormones and get tips to boost intake for better health.

*Protein has entered the chat.* And we can’t stop talking about it. While it’s no secret that protein is important, did you know that eating enough protein can do wonders for your hormones? With the spotlight on this powerful macronutrient, today we’re diving into all things protein—including how it supports the female menstrual cycle and simple ways to amp up your intake.

Protein and hormones—what’s the connection?

A variety of factors influence our hormones. But one nutrient plays a particularly important role: protein. It’s essential for synthesizing hormones, especially those involved in the menstrual cycle. In other words, proteins are building blocks to support our reproductive health. We need enough of it to produce estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. 

How much protein do women need?

As with most nutrition questions, the answer is nuanced. There’s no universal, one-size-fits-all protein formula. Protein requirements vary based on factors like age, gender, body composition, activity level, and overall health. For most healthy adults, the recommended daily intake is approximately 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This means that a sedentary woman weighing 150 pounds would require 50-60 grams of protein per day. However, most experts will agree: those numbers are far too low.

Our hot take? Calculate how much protein you need here. This will be based on your physique goals and circumstances (i.e. pregnancy, if you’re trying to lose / gain muscle mass, etc.). Once you figure out your total grams per day, divide it by the number of meals and snacks you typically eat. For most, that averages out to about 20-30 grams of protein per meal.

What happens if you don’t eat enough protein?

Right off the bat, it can lead to muscle soreness, fatigue, and a weakened immune system. Low protein intake also impacts blood sugar levels (protein is required for stable blood sugar!). You also need protein for the formation and maintenance of strong bones. Additionally, insufficient protein intake can lead to hormonal imbalances, including irregular periods and fertility issues.

Can you get all the protein you need on a plant-based diet?

Yes! So long as you eat a wide variety of whole foods, you can absolutely get the protein you need. For example, a meal containing lentils, black beans, and hemp seeds provides all the essential amino acids found in a typical meat dish. Ultimately, focus on diversifying your plant foods (aim for 30+ plants, every week) for an adequate mix of essential amino acids. You’ll also want to consider a vitamin B12 supplement.

When in doubt, work with a plant-forward healthcare provider to make sure you’re getting enough vitamins, minerals, and protein.

8 creative ways to add more protein to your daily eats

Beyond the usual suspects—like making a protein-forward smoothie—we come bearing simple inspo to bulk up your favorite meals.

  1. Protein-rich Greek yogurt bowl
  • Mix a scoop of chocolate or vanilla protein powder into a bowl of Greek yogurt. Top with berries, nut butter, a high-protein cereal, and seeds.
  1. Hummus and veggies
  1. Make these pancakes
  1. Protein-packed oatmeal
  • As you whisk your oats on the stove, stir in 1-2 egg whites (up to ¼ cup liquid egg whites). You can also add a scoop of cottage cheese! Cook until fluffy. As your oatmeal cools, stir in one scoop of your favorite protein powder. Top your bowl with seeds and crushed walnuts.
  1. Salty, savory snack
  • Steam edamame and sprinkle with sea salt. For more satiation and protein, pair this with a hard-boiled egg, beef jerky, or string cheese. We also love munching on organic edamame with these crunchy, high-protein puffs.
  1. Egg muffins
  • Making egg muffins for a grab-and-go breakfast? Add cottage cheese, turkey bacon, chopped ham, or chicken sausages to the batter.
  1. Canned salmon salad
  • For a quick and satisfying lunch, whip up our salmon salad. For more protein, add a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt to the mix and scoop it up with these high-fiber bean chips.