How to Get 100 Grams of Protein a Day {Meal Plans}

If you’re intentional with what foods you are eating, consuming 100 grams of protein per day can be a realistic goal – it just may require some additional planning. This post will discuss how to do just that with three sample meal plans, a list of high protein foods, and tips to increase protein intake throughout the day. 

The protein content of each food is listed in the meal plans as I find that it’s easier to understand how to build your own meal plan based on your own preferences.

A plate of salmon, white rice, and vegetables on a table for How to Get 100 Grams of Protein Per Day Main Header Image.

While the minimum recommend daily allowance for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram per day, this is often too low for those trying to lose weight or gain muscle mass.  For those who consistently workout or weight train, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 1.2-1.7 grams/kg, which comes to about 82-100 grams of protein per day for a 150 pound person. 

A higher protein diet may also benefit individuals who don’t eat meat. Due to most plant protein sources having a lower quantity of the essential amino acids, vegetarians may benefit from an increased protein intake overall. 

Most research has shown that consuming about 20-30 grams of protein per meal is recommended for adequate protein absorption, specifically for muscle protein synthesis. It has also been shown to help with overall total protein consumption. Therefore, the meal plans provided include 100 grams of protein distributed evenly throughout the day.

How Does a high Protein diet Help With Weight Loss?

How can a high protein diet help with weight loss? Well, first and foremost- protein has been shown to help with satiety, or that feeling of being completely satisfied. One study found that women who had an afternoon snack consisting of yogurt ate less calories at dinner (1). 

Another study found that participants who consumed a high protein breakfast were less likely to reach for high fat snacks at night. A well-balanced breakfast high in protein can help improve satiety and overall diet quality, as well as reduce food motivation/reward (2). 

Therefore, if meals or snacks are inadequate in protein- there’s a good chance you’ll be reaching for additional foods to increase satisfaction! 

Secondly, ensuring adequate protein intake assists with preserving lean muscle tissue when calories are restricted. Research has shown that if you’re not meeting the RDA for protein, it can lead to loss of lean body mass (3). 

You may have heard the term “muscle burns more than fat” – therefore, preserving our lean muscle while on a weight loss journey helps to maintain or increase our metabolism once a goal weight has been reached. 

Interestingly, the International Journal of Exercise Science published an article which concluded that dietary protein may have a protective effect against fat gain and may be the key macronutrient in promoting changes in body composition (4). 

The Higher the Protein the Better?

While it might sound ideal to increase your protein intake even more than the recommended amount, it is not without some potential health risks. Protein sources from animal products are typically higher in saturated fat, which some studies have shown can increase cholesterol, thus increasing risk for stroke or heart disease.

Eating too much protein can also lead to a build-up of excess waste in your body, which may put stress on your kidneys (5). 

Further, research has shown that overconsumption of protein (greater than 2 g/kg/day) may not result in an increase in body mass (6). Once protein needs are met, the body will use the extra for additional processes throughout the body or store it as fat.

100 Grams of Protein Per Day Meal Plans

Each meal should consist of 20-30 grams of protein, with 1-2 high protein snacks throughout the day. If each meal is 25 grams of protein (75 grams total), then each snack should be around 12 grams of protein each. 

You could also eat a little more protein for one of your meals, say 30 grams, and aim for just one high protein snack consisting of at least 15 grams of protein.

Two meals with 20-30 grams of protein per meal: one with salmon on top of rice and the other a plant-based edamame stir fry.

Also Read:

How to Get 120 Grams of Protein Per Day (with High Protein Recipes)
Vegetarian Meal Plans with 120 Grams of Protein Per Day

Sample Meal Plan #1:

The first example of what 100 grams of protein looks like throughout the day includes two snacks, and a breakfast that doesn’t quite make the 20 grams of protein mark. This would be ideal for people who prefer a smaller breakfast.

Easy ways to add protein to this breakfast: 1/2 cup of whipped cottage cheese on the toast (14 additional grams) or a side of Light N’ Fit Greek Yogurt. 

(grams) = grams of protein 

Breakfast: 2 eggs (12 grams) + 1 piece of whole grain toast (3 grams) + Strawberries

Total: 15 grams of protein

Lunch: 4 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast (26 grams) + Greek Salad

Total: 26 grams of protein

Afternoon Snack: Garbanzo Bean (1/2 cup = 8 grams) + Feta (2 grams) + Cucumber Salad

Total: 10 grams of protein

Dinner: Taco Bowl (4 ounces of ground beef = 18 grams), 1/2 cup quinoa (5 grams), 1/4 cup shredded cheese (6 grams) + veggies

Total: 29 grams of protein

After Dinner Snack: Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp.) Whipped Cottage Cheese Ice Cream (1/2 cup)

Total: 21 grams of protein

Sample Meal Plan #2:

This example includes a quick and easy breakfast, which still maintains the 20-25 grams of protein per meal. If the above meal plan seems like “too much food”, this meal plan focuses on really maximizing protein intake at each meal so that you can eliminate one snack. 

(grams) = grams of protein 

Breakfast: Protein Smoothie (1 scoop of protein powder = 20 grams of protein)

–> Banana Powerhouse Smoothie Recipe <— 30 grams per smoothie

Total: 20-30 grams of protein

Lunch: Leftover Taco Bowl From Dinner- (4 ounces of ground beef = 18 grams), 1/2 cup quinoa (5 grams), 1/4 cup shredded cheese (6 grams) + veggies

Total: 29 grams of protein

Afternoon Snack: Light N’ Fit Greek Yogurt

Total: 12 grams of protein

Dinner: Shrimp Pasta – 3 ounces of shrimp (about 24 grams), 2 ounces of Barilla Protein + Pasta (10 grams), Broccoli

Total: 32 grams of protein

Sample Meal Plan #3

Meal plan #3 shows how to eat 100 grams of protein a day as a vegetarian, without any meat. 

Breakfast: Kodiak Power Cakes (3 pancakes = 14 grams) + Simple Truth Meatless Breakfast Patty (11 grams)

Total: 25 grams of protein

Lunch: Quinoa Black Bean Bowl – Quinoa (3/4 cup, cooked = 6 grams), Black Beans (1/2 cup = 8 grams), Dressing Mixed with Nutritional Yeast (5 grams), Shredded Cheese (1/4 cup = 6 grams)

Total: 23 grams of protein

Afternoon Snack: Greek Yogurt Parfait (12 grams) with Chia Seeds (2 tablespoons = 6 grams) or High Protein Strawberry Cheesecake Cups.

Total: 19 grams of protein

Dinner: Tofu stir-fry – tofu (1/2 cup, 21 grams) + Brown Rice Noodles (2 oz. = 1 gram) + Edamame (1/2 cup = 8 grams) + Stir-Fry Veggies

Total: 30 grams of protein

Foods High in Protein: Animal Protein Sources

Below are tables displaying the amount of protein in various animal protein sources. The protein quality is higher coming from animal sources, and most contain at least 20 grams of protein per serving!

A table of protein sources from animal products and the number of grams of protein per serving.

Foods High in Protein: Plant-Based Sources

Use this table as a guide to build higher protein meals while also prioritizing plant-based protein sources.

A plant-based diet, or even just eating more meatless meals, has been shown to decrease the risk of chronic diseases. Read more about it with this post on 35+ High Protein Plant-Based Meals.

table of high protein plant-based sources

Simple Ideas to Help Increase Your Protein Intake

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is often described as a nutritious seasoning, that has a nutty, cheese-like flavor. It’s relatively low in calories, providing about 5 grams of protein per serving. It’s also gluten-free.

There are many ways to incorporate nutritional yeast into your diet. It can be used to replace parmesan cheese in pasta dishes, added to eggs as well as creamy dishes like soup, macaroni and cheese, and even on popcorn!

Kodiak Power Cake Pancakes

Selecting a higher protein pancake mix can help to increase protein intake at breakfast when you just need a break from eggs or protein shakes. Kodiak Power Cakes contain 15 grams of protein per three pancakes. Top with a mixture of Greek yogurt and maple syrup for even more protein!

You can also use the mix to make things like muffins and protein balls.

Protein Bars

Protein bars are a convenient snack that requires no prep at all. Many options contain at least 20 grams of protein per one bar, but they can be high in sugar.

Cottage Cheese or Greek Yogurt

Cottage cheese is really taking social media by storm these days! Most low-fat versions contain 14 grams of protein in just a 1/2 cup serving. Due to its creamy texture and subtle flavor, it can be added to both sweet and savory dishes. 

There are numerous ways to use cottage cheese to increase protein in a dish. Here are a few:

Buffalo chicken crockpot pasta in a white bowl on a cutting board next to a bowl of cottage cheese.

High Protein Pasta

There are so many alternatives to just regular pasta these days. Banza chickpea pasta contains 20 grams of protein per 3.5 ounce serving!

My personal favorite high protein pasta (taste and texture most like traditional pasta) is Barilla Protein+. It is comparable to Banza in protein content.

Protein Powder

Protein powder is, of course, an easy way to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to increasing protein intake. Mix it with milk, water, or make a delicious smoothie with it and meet almost a whole meal’s worth of protein (most powders contain 20 grams of protein per scoop). 

Beans and Lentils

Incorporating more beans into meals and snacks will increase both your protein and fiber consumption. Add them to salads, soups, pastas, rice dishes, and more. 

Nuts and Seeds

Add a little crunch to just about any dish with a sprinkle of nuts or seeds. Almonds contain 7 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving. Pine nuts are delicious on a healthy salad, and have 4.5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving. Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, are packed with protein and omega-3 fats.

Summary

These are just three examples of how to eat 100 grams of protein a day and should be used as a guide to figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle.

If you’re a person who prefers to eat smaller meals, and don’t resonate with any of these meal plans, you could evenly distribute protein throughout six meals each day.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *