Protein Power: Fast facts on making the most of your protein intake

  • Including protein foods in a meal helps you feel full for longer
  • Spread your intake of protein foods throughout the day to get the full benefit

  • The job of protein in the body is growth, repair and energy

  • Good sources of plant protein include beans, legumes, grains (such as oats and barley), nuts and seeds

  • Good sources of complete protein include lean red and white meat, fish, eggs and dairy foods

  • Eating both animal and plant proteins in combination provides a well-balanced nourishing meal – bioavailable zinc, iron and vitamin B12 from the animal products, as well as fibre for gut health from the plant proteins

  • Women require at least 37grams/day protein, women over 70 years bumps up to 46 grams

  • Men require at least 52grams/day protein, with it increasing to 65grams after 70 years

  • A 150g serving of beef or lamb as provided in most of our recipes, delivers at least half of an adult’s daily protein needs

  • There are times when protein needs are increased such as during pregnancy, athletes and very active people, older adults, people with some illnesses – seek individual advice from a dietitian or registered nutritionist

    Click here for a PROTEIN FOODS table which compares the nutrient content of major protein foods within the New Zealand diet. 

Protein is needed to build, repair and maintain body tissues, organs and cells in all parts of the body. Proteins are complex molecules and are made up of different combinations of smaller units called amino acids. Our body can make some of the amino acids needed to manufacture protein and other necessary substances, but certain amino acids must come from the food we eat each day. These are known as the essential amino acids and are required throughout our life.

If a food provides all the essential amino acids for human needs, it is called a high quality or complete protein food.

Beef and lamb are high quality, complete protein foods with an optimum balance of essential amino acids. A 100g serving of lean beef or lamb provides about 21g protein meeting at least a third of the daily protein requirement for adults - that's about the same amount of protein from 4 eggs.

Plant proteins do not contain all the essential amino acids for human needs, so are considered incomplete protein when eaten in isolation. Plant proteins can be combined to give the full complement of essential amino acids, eg baked beans on wholegrain toast.







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