April 21, 2022

Our bodies need protein to stay healthy and function effectively. Here are just a few of the amazing ways eating more of this good group helps to ensure we feel good and have the energy we need to enjoy life.

  • It reduces appetite and hunger levels - studies show that protein is by far the most filling of the food groups so you can eat less and still feel satisfied. And you need to start eating it early in the day. A study published in the October 2018 Journal of Dairy Science found that a high-protein breakfast may help curb your appetite later in the day – that’s why it’s great to start the day with Te Atatu Toasted cereals. They have loads of protein due to their high content of seeds and nuts (and lentils in the gluten-free blend). Eat them with milk or yoghurt and get a double dose of protein.
  • It helps maintain weight loss - in one study, increasing protein from 15 per cent to 18 per cent of daily calories consumed reduced weight regain by 50 per cent.
  • Protein builds muscles so when you give your body the protein it needs, you can maintain muscle mass and promote muscle growth when you do strength training. It also helps you recover after an injury,
  • It helps keep your bones strong - people who eat more protein tend to maintain bone mass better as they age and have a much lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures. This is especially important for post-menopausal women who are at higher risk of osteoporosis
  • It reduces food cravings or the desire for late-night snacks. Cravings are not about hunger – we get them when our brain wants a reward. Studies show that one of the best prevention methods is to eat protein with every meal but even just having a high-protein breakfast will help.
  • Having a high protein intake may boost your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day.
  • Studies have shown that increasing your protein intake can lower your blood pressure.
  • Eating more protein is one of the best ways to reduce the muscle deterioration that occurs when we age, keeping us fitter longer.

How much protein do we need?

The amount of protein our bodies need changes according to our age and our gender.

According to the NZ Nutrition Foundation, the recommended daily intake of protein for women aged 19 to 70 is 46g, while women aged over 70 should eat 57g.

Men aged 19 to 70 need 64g a day and men aged over 70 need 81g a day.

Girls aged nine to 13 need 35g a day, while the recommendation for girls age 14 to 18 is 45g a day.

Boys in the nine to 13 age group need 40g a day, increasing to 65g when they aged 14 t0 18.

Toddlers need about 14g a day and children aged four to eight should be consuming 20g of protein a day.

Where do we find protein?

Protein is found in both animal and plant foods.

  • Animal sources include meat, fish, chicken, eggs, milk, cheese and yoghurt.
  • Plant sources include soy protein (such as soybeans, tofu and soy milk), grains (quinoa, oats, barley, etc), nuts and pulses (dried beans, peas and lentils).

Food item

Protein in grams

1 grilled lean beef fillet steak (135g)

38.2

1 grilled chicken breast (107g)

33.4

1 can tuna in spring water (100g)

25.3

1 cup trim milk (250ml)

10.1

Tofu (100g)

8.1

Te Atatu Toasted Cereals (50g)

7 – 8.1

1 pottle plain, low fat yoghurt (150g)

7.2

1 boiled egg (50g)

6

2cm cube Edam cheese (8g)

2.2

10 almonds (12g)

2.2