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What is protein?

Protein is one of three essential macronutrients that are needed for our bodies to function. Protein is a source of energy, it supports muscle and cell growth, function, and repair, and helps with maintaining a strong immune system.

How much do I need?

The exact amount of protein we need varies based on age, gender, weight, activity levels and current health status.

Approximate protein requirements for adults:

  • adult women: 0.75g / kg of body weight / day;
  • adult men: 0.84g / kg of body weight / day;
  • people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or over 70 years of age: 1g / kg of body weight/day.

How can I get protein in my diet?

Most people can easily meet their protein requirements through eating a balanced diet, with a variety of foods from both plant and animal sources. Protein powders / shakes / supplements are unnecessary for majority of people.

Our daily protein needs can be met by eating a diet in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines. The guidelines consist of five food group with two of these being good sources of protein:

  1. lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes / beans group and;
  2. milk, yoghurt, cheese and / or alternatives.

You can find protein in animal-based products such as:

  • red meats and poultry;
  • fish;
  • eggs;
  • dairy products.

You can find protein in plant-based products including:

  • tofu and tempeh;
  • beans and legumes;
  • soy milks and yoghurts;
  • textured vegetable protein;
  • nuts and seeds.

Quick tip: Aim to include a source of protein with each snack and meal and you will easily meet your daily protein needs.

Quick and easy meals and snack ideas

Here are some meal ideas to show you how you can meet your protein needs through food alone.


Example 1: baked beans on toast with cheese Protein sources: beans, cheese
Example 2: eggs on toast with roasted tomato Protein souces: eggs
Example 3: oats made with milk, topped with yoghurt and berries Protein sources: milk yoghurt


Example 1: grainy crackers with hummus / tzatziki and cheese Protein sources: hummus, tzatziki, cheese
Example 2: ricotta cheese with banana on toast
Protein sources: ricotta cheese
Example 3: yoghurt with muesli and berries
Protein sources: yoghurt
Example 4: fruit smoothie with milk and yoghurt
Protein sources: milk, yoghurt


Example 1: falafel wrap Protein sources: falafel
Example 2: chicken sandwich
Protein sources: chicken
Example 3: tuna and bean salad with rice
Protein sources: tuna, beans


Example 1: spaghetti bolognese with cheese Protein sources: mince meat (animal based) Lentils or textured vegetable protein (plant based), cheese
Example 2: chicken curry with chickpeas and rice
Protein sources: chicken, peas
Example 3: zucchini slice
Protein sources: eggs, cheese

Want to know more about your individual requirements? Seek support from an Accredited Practicing Dietitian.