How to Eat 150 Grams of Lean Protein Per Day (Without Supplements)

Image Credits (Clockwise From the Top Left): Kashi; Silk; Bob’s Red Mill; Applegate Farms; Dave’s Killer Bread; OrganicGirl; Goya; Dannon: Genova; Galbani.

The U.S. dietary supplement industry is a mess. 

That's the conclusion I reached after researching protein powders and bars for a week. Thankfully, it's not hard to eat 150 grams of lean protein in a day without the aid of supplements. (More on that below.)

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates how food is processed, packaged, and labeled, but supplements aren't policed as thoroughly. Hence, the companies that market the supplements are mostly left to police themselves.

There are trusted third-parties like NSF International that certify the ingredients in supplements. But, certified products are generally more expensive than uncertified ones (and just because a product is certified doesn't mean that it is healthy).

On the flip side, it's easy to find cheap protein powders, but are they good

Body Fortress Whey Protein has excellent user reviews and top marks from the Clean Label Project, but Labdoor gives the product a D-rating based on their analysis at an FDA-registered laboratory. So, who’s right?

Body Fortress Whey Protein has excellent user reviews and top marks from the Clean Label Project, but Labdoor gives the product a D-rating based on their analysis at an FDA-registered laboratory. So, who’s right?

Body Fortress Whey Protein is a relatively cheap protein powder with excellent user reviews. The Clean Label Project gives this protein top marks based on an independent analysis that tested for purity, label accuracy and contaminants. Meanwhile, this same protein was given a D-rating by Labdoor (a company that tests products in an FDA-registered laboratory). Who can we trust?

I trust the FDA more than any supplement company or testing website. That's why this article focuses on packaged foods (with minimal processing). The supermarket is full of ready-to-eat foods that are light on preservatives or additives.

The menu below contains a day's worth of meals and snacks (totaling less than 2,000 calories) that require little-to no-preparation. Most of these products are available on Amazon Fresh, Jet and Walmart, but frankly, your supermarket may have better prices overall.

Disclosure: I am not a nutritionist and nothing in this article is dietary advice. This is a hypothetical menu for a hypothetical person who has no food allergies or dietary restrictions. Real people should talk to real doctors about their own nutritional needs.


Nutrition Facts

Source
Serving
Protein
Fat
Calories
Sugar
Fiber
Potassium
Kashi Go Lean
1 Bowl
12
2
180
8
13
390
Silk Unsweeted Soy Milk
1 Cup
7
4
80
1
2
350
Banana
1 Large
2
0
121
17
4
487
Galbani Part-Skim Ricotta
1/2 Cup
10
8
160
10
0
130
Honey
1 Tsp
0
0
19
5
0
3
Dave's Killer Good Seed Bread
2 Slices
10
6
280
10
8
230
Applegate Herb Turkey Breast
4 Slices
22
1
100
0
0
332
Organic Girl Protein Greens
1 Pkg.
5
0
40
1
3
0
Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 Cup
22
27
369
0
5
502
Genova Albacore in Olive Oil
1 Can
26
8
180
0
0
150
Goya Dark Kidney Beans
1 Can
25
2
315
7
25
1,400
Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt
1 Pot
15
0
120
6
6
210
Full Menu
--
155g
59g
1,964
65g
65g
4,184mg

Sample Menu

Breakfast (Cereal)

  • Kashi Go Lean (1 1/4 Cups)

  • Silk Unsweetened Soy Milk (1 Cup)

  • 1 Large Banana

Approximate Meal Cost: $1.40

Morning Snack

  • Galbani Part-Skim Ricotta (1/2 Cup)

  • Honey (1 Tea Spoon)

Approximate Snack Cost: $0.80

Lunch (Sandwich)

  • Dave's Killer Good Seed Bread (2 Slices)

  • Applegate Farms Herb Turkey Breast (4 Slices)

  • Organic Girl Protein Blend (0.2 Oz.)

Approximate Meal Cost: $4.10

Midday Snack

  • Pumpkin Seeds (1/2 Cup)

Approximate Snack Cost: $1.75

Dinner (Salad)

  • Genova Albacore in Oil (1 Can)

  • Goya Dark Kidney Beans (1 Can)

  • Organic Girl Protein Blend (4 Oz.)

Approximate Meal Cost: $7.75

Evening Snack

  • Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt (6 Oz.)

Approximate Snack Cost: $1.25


Notes About Sugar, Potassium and Protein Timing

The full meal plan contains 65 grams of sugar, which exceeds the daily allowance recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, most of these sugars are from fruits, vegetables and milk; the WHO concludes that "there is no reported evidence of adverse effects of consuming these sugars." On the other hand, the sugar found in honey is considered a "free" sugar (aka, bad sugar).

I included potassium in the nutrition table because 98% of Americans fail to consume the amount recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The foods above are potassium-rich, yet still fall short of 4,700 mg/day that the USDA recommends. Here is a list of high potassium foods, including many vegetables, that are easily added to salads or other simple meals.

The body synthesizes protein at different speeds, depending on the source and type of protein. Whey protein (found in ricotta cheese) is a “fast” protein that is put to use quickly by the body. Meanwhile, casein protein (found in yogurt) is a “slow” protein that is harder for the body to digest. Some researchers suggest that whey protein is best consumed around workout times while casein protein is best consumed before sleep. That said, clinical studies are inconsistent or wishy-washy on these points.


 
 

John DeFeo