Protein for Teen Athletes

Everybody needs adequate protein but for those of you who are athletic, a little extra protein can help with muscle strength.

Exercise causes muscle cells to breakdown, protein from foods aids in repairing muscle damage from exercise. This process leads to the growth of more muscle and strength.

Here’s the thing, athletes don’t need to drink a glass of raw eggs every morning or stock up on protein powders. Athletes can get the extra protein they need from normal foods in the pantry or fridge. Some examples of high protein foods include: chicken, fish, peanut butter, greek yogurt/regular yogurt, beans, cheese, and much more.

Eating too much protein can also be a problem. Sometimes people think the more protein, the better, but this isn’t true. Too much protein may even cause the kidneys to be overworked and lead to dehydration.

So how much protein is enough?? The amount of protein you need depends on age, weight, and gender, however, a good rule of thumb is 0.45-0.6 grams of protein per lb. of body weight. For instance, if you weigh 115 lbs. you would want to aim for about 50-70 grams protein/day. Non-athletes should aim for 0.3-0.4 grams protein per lb. of body weight per day.

My advice: don’t get caught up in the numbers! Food should be enjoyed, it shouldn’t feel like math homework. Listening to your body’s hunger cues and eating whole, nutritious foods will be more helpful in the long-run.

For more information about protein for athletes, click here.

Information from this post from eatright.org/fitness

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