By: Matt Weik
When it comes to your nutrition, the number of meals consumed per day, macro ratios, and more… one thing still reigns supreme. PROTEIN INTAKE. Without protein, you won’t be able to truly maximize your muscle-building potential.
One question that so many ask is what’s the proper protein intake per meal? To be honest, that’s a tricky question. There are many variables that come into play such as your personal goals (weight loss, build muscle, maintenance) and gender. We’re going to take a pretty broad approach to answer this question to hopefully give you a little more clarity.
Why You Need to Focus on Protein
If you want to build quality lean muscle mass, you need adequate protein in your diet. Protein is made up of amino acids. Some amino acids are essential while others are non-essential. I could write an entire article on the topic so for the sake of brevity, I’ll stick to the topic at hand – protein itself.
Protein can come from many forms, including plants and animals. The direction you go with your protein needs is your own personal decision. Some prefer not to consume animal products and stick to plants while others have no issue asking “Where’s the Beef?”
How Much Do You Need Per Meal?
Men and women have different protein requirements when it comes to the ideal quantity per meal. And each gender themselves have various requirements as well. As a rule of thumb, if you can take in around 25g of protein per meal, you’ll put yourself in a great position to help build the quality muscle you are looking for or preserve the hard-earned muscle you currently possess.
So, how much does 25g of protein look like? Think of it as if you had a deck of cards in front of you. Use that as a guide to eyeball what’s on your plate. It would equate to between 3-4 ounces coming from a protein source like chicken or beef. Men who require higher protein requirements may need to bump up their protein to around 35g per meal. You also need to look at how you split your meals up.
If you follow an intermittent fasting (IF) nutrition plan, you might only be eating two meals a day within an eight-hour feeding window. Therefore, you’ll need to increase the amount of protein you consume per meal. If you consume, say, five to seven meals a day without a feeding window, from a normal American diet, you can clearly decrease the amount of protein in each meal to still get your daily requirements.
What Exactly Is Considered A Meal?
A meal doesn’t necessarily mean a full-blown sit-down feast. It can literally mean a small meal such as a handful of nuts and an apple. Or a protein/nutritional bar. You could even count a meal as a packet of Brotein Candy and land yourself 30g of high-quality protein from a delicious beef jerky source.
You don’t even need all of the macronutrients present in order to call it a “meal.” The main thing to understand is that when you consume food, at any time of day, you can consider that a meal. We recommend, however, that every one of your meals contain protein.