What the Ideal Amount of Protein Looks Like [Infographic]

by Elle Penner, MPH, RD
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What the Ideal Amount of Protein Looks Like [Infographic]

Research shows that eating your daily requirement of protein throughout the day is more beneficial for muscle protein synthesis than eating a large amount of protein in just one or two meals. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition found a 25% increase in muscle synthesis when participants ate 30 grams of protein at each meal — for breakfast, lunch and dinner — compared to those who ate the majority of their protein at dinner.

Muscle synthesis isn’t just important for athletes though. During weight loss, the body burns both fat and muscle tissue for energy. While most of us are happy to see the fat go, losing muscle can have detrimental effects, particularly on one’s metabolism. Additionally, starting in our 30s, we lose muscle mass as a natural part of aging — up to 3–5% of muscle mass each decade in inactive people. The good news is that getting adequate amounts of protein, in addition to staying physically active, can help offset muscle losses and improve muscle synthesis.

To help you gauge what 30 grams of protein looks like in a meal, we’ve put together six examples of nutritious, satisfying meals — including a breakfast burrito, turkey meatballs and lentil stew — each with about 30 grams of protein.


  • DLC

    The real question: How BIG are those bowls?

  • Lil’missgamer4life

    Where are the recipes for these meals? I hardly ever meet my daily protein goal unless I eat a protein bar and drink a protein shake. A response from this articles author would be great. Thanks.

    • FLwolverine

      Click on the names of three of the meals in the article (at the very end) for recipes – the meatballs, stew, and burrito. i was thinking we don’t need “recipes” to assemble the other three, but it would be helpful to have the amounts (oz or grams) of the proteins involved.

  • Why are only one of these meals vegan/vegetarian? There are PLENTY of recipes you can eat without loading up on animal byproducts to get your protein needs!

    • Marshay

      Yes and you can find a plethora of vegan and vegetarian recipes….on other sites. Sort of like how when i search for healthy meals online most of them are vegan/veg and I’m none of the above. Gets frustrating I bet.

    • davedave12

      “Why are only one of these meals vegan/vegetarian?” because fewer than 1 out of 10 people are vegan. Having one vegan meal over-represents vegans. Why are vegans so self centered and selfish. BTW the sweet potato lentil stew is much better with some bacon in it

  • davedave12

    Fantastic that you include some carbs and dairy —- nut jobs need not apply

  • davedave12

    Pretty useless with out measure measurement ——How many ounces of chicken