Adequate protein intake is essential for helping you reach your goals. If you’re a woman, you’re actually less likely to be consuming optimal amounts of protein, and this can spell trouble for your metabolism and make it more difficult to lose weight.
Let’s find out how you can use protein for weight loss and the best sources of protein foods. Plus, you’ll also learn how much protein you need, and get 4 high-protein recipes to help you lose weight.
Is Protein Effective for Weight Loss?
Protein is an effective tool to help you lose weight because it supports your metabolism, which is your body’s way of balancing energy (1).
Protein is made up of building blocks, called amino acids, which maintain the function of hormones, enzymes, and important tissues involved in metabolic function. It also helps support your immune system, and the structure of your hair, skin, and bones.
With adequate protein intake, you can feel fuller longer, eat less overall, and increase your body’s lean muscle mass, which helps ignite metabolism and burn calories all day (2).
Which foods are the keys to unlock your Weight Loss type? Take the quiz to find out!
How Protein Helps you Lose Weight
Protein Builds Muscle Mass
Protein contributes essential amino acids required to build and maintain lean muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the hotter your calorie furnace will burn, even when you’re not actively exercising.
Protein Combats Cravings
>>Have you hit a plateau or aren’t sure where to focus for healthy weight loss? I created the 10-Day Jumpstart to help you individualize your goals based on your weight loss type.
How Much Protein Do Women Need?
If you follow the RDA needs for protein, you may fall short, as this recommendation is not tailored to your individual body. Protein is an essential nutrient, which means your body can’t make it on its own, so you must consume adequate amounts of protein in your diet.
Protein needs vary based on age, sex, activity level, and body type.
Optimal protein intake is anywhere from 1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, according to the most recent research (3).
This means if you weigh 150 lbs, you need roughly 80 to 108 grams of protein per day.
Protein estimate formula: [Your bodyweight] x 0.45 = [Your bodyweight in kg]
[Your bodyweight in kg] x 1.2 grams of protein = Your approximate protein needs in grams per day
Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Protein
Not everyone needs to count their grams of daily protein, but it’s useful to have an awareness of which signs to look for to make sure you’re at least meeting your protein needs. Signs of low protein include:
- Difficulty losing weight
- Feeling hungry frequently
- Dry or brittle hair, skin, or nails
- Getting sick often or staying sick longer
- Fatigue or muscle weakness
- Mood swings
List of High-Protein Foods for Weight Loss
As an overall guide, here are some protein-rich staples to keep on hand. By having some of these foods easily available in your fridge or pantry, you can make it easier to get adequate protein with every meal.
4 Easy High-Protein Recipes to Lose Weight
For a complete 10-day plan to kickstart weight loss and detox a slow metabolism, learn more about my course, the 10-Day Jumpstart.
These protein-packed mini frittatas are made in a muffin tin, and great for grab-and-go breakfasts for any member of the family, and make handy snacks any time of day. These are also an easy way to use leftover veggies you have in your fridge before they spoil!
12 organic eggs
¾ cup organic almond milk (or milk of your
3 tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
6-8 spinach leaves (or approx. 1 cup of your
preferred veggies–bell peppers, kale, tomatoes, etc.)
1 ½ cups shredded Swiss or goat cheese
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Melt ghee in a medium-sized skillet, and saute veggies until tender. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients (eggs, milk, cheese, salt & pepper) and whisk. Add sauteed veggies to egg mixture. Divide frittata mixture into greased muffin tin, and bake at 350° until tops are set.
Finding the right balance for your Weight Loss type can be difficult–take the quiz to learn more!
Quinoa Protein Salad
Unlike most plant sources, quinoa is an ancient grain that is a complete protein source. This salad can be served as a side dish, or eaten as your main meal. This dish is perfect prepared ahead of time and is great for an on-the-go option.
⅓ cup quinoa (cooked according to package directions)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup diced cucumbers
¼ cup diced red onion
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp salt and pepper
For dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lime juice, ACV, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.
Add your cooked quinoa, black beans, navy beans, cucumber, onion, and cilantro, then toss to combine. Serve chilled or room temperature.
What’s the worst thing about most delicious granola options? They’re a total sugar-bomb, which spikes insulin and fat storage! But this nutrient-dense, fiber-rich option is delectable and oh-so-satisfying, and will leave your whole family wanting more of this crave worthy snack. (Warning: It will disappear fast if you leave it on the counter!)
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup macadamia nuts or cashews (optional)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp flax seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
½ tsp ground clove
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp himalayan salt
1 large egg white
1/4 c. melted coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350° and grease a large, rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, mix together almonds, walnuts, coconut flakes, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds. Stir in cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Beat egg white until foamy then stir into granola. Add coconut oil and stir until everything is well coated. Pour onto your baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden, gently stirring halfway through. Let cool completely, break into chunks, and store in an air-tight container.
1 medium sweet potato, chopped into ~1 inch cubes.
2 cups of preferred combination of kale, chard, spinach, and/or dandelion greens
1 tbsp diced yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb ground turkey, no hormones or antibiotics added
Olive oil for cooking
Heat skillet on medium-high heat, and add a drizzle of oil for cooking. Once heated, brown ground turkey in skillet. While ground turkey is browning, peel and chop sweet potato, set aside. Wash and cut preferred selection of greens. When turkey is browned, remove from pan and set aside. Turn down heat to medium low, and add another drizzle of oil to pan. Add chopped sweet potato, onions, garlic, and greens. Cover skillet with lid, and let greens and potatoes steam for 7-10 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked. Add ground turkey back to skillet with greens and potatoes, and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve immediately and enjoy!
Still having trouble losing weight?
Focus your efforts for weight loss in the 10-Day Jumpstart, and unlock the secrets to use food to ignite your metabolism.