Protein helps build and maintain the foundation of our bodies. It’s vital in producing our muscles, organs, skin and tendons. And as we age, protein becomes more imperative in maintaining good health and functionality. When it comes to consuming proteins, there are numerous benefits including improved mood, focus and appetite control in kids. Teens who eat higher-protein breakfasts actually consume fewer calories and make healthier choices. When adults eat adequate amounts of protein, it helps maintain a healthy body weight and reduces muscle loss.

The amount of protein we need varies and is based on age, body composition, gender, health and physical activity level. Experts recommend anywhere from 10 percent to 35 percent of a 2,000 calorie diet. For example:

  • 50 – 60 grams to prevent deficiency in healthy adults
  • 100 grams for optimal health
  • 80 – 100 grams for seniors
  • Up to 175 grams for professional or collegiate athletes

Consuming dairy is a delicious and easy way to get the protein you need. Here are some simple meal and snack ideas:

  • Smoothie: Blend 6 ounces of Greek yogurt with 1 cup of frozen fruit (berries, mango or other), ½ cup of baby spinach or kale and ½ cup of low fat milk (21 grams protein)
  • Two Babybel cheese rounds (or cheese sticks), ½ cup of grapes and six whole grain crackers (12 grams protein)
  • Top a medium-sized baked potato with ½ cup cottage cheese and ¼ cup of salsa (20 grams of protein)

For more resources on protein, visit the American College of Sports Medicine website and the National Center for Biotechnology Information website.

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