How Much Protein You Need

Do you have a long term food storage for ‘just-in-case’? How much of that food has any significant amount of protein? Carbohydrates are fairly cheap and easy to store. But what about proteins sufficient enough for your daily needs as a human being? And how much protein do you need?

What is protein?

Protein is a macro nutrient necessary for the proper growth and function of the human body. Among other things, proteins are also the building blocks for muscles. Therefore we all need protein – in varying amounts – to live a healthy life.

Proteins are part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies.

How much protein do you need?

There is considerable debate over the amount of protein that a person needs to consume each day for optimal health and well being.

Recommendations vary. Additionally, the advice may depend on the diet-lifestyle orientation of the advisor (or doctor). For example, those who lean toward a vegetarian diet – will likely suggest a lesser requirement for daily protein intake – in order to fit in with the fact that there’s not much protein in veggies. Mainstream sources may simply follow RDA guidelines (listed below). While others may advise higher protein intake than that (as does my own doctor).

I’m not here to debate the exact right amount, one way or another.

However, I did read (some time ago) according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in general it’s recommended that 10–35% of your daily calories come from protein. Take it for what it’s worth… It’s a guideline.

Also, another reference is from my own doctor. He consumes approximately 100 grams of protein a day, and recommends being sure to get enough protein in one’s diet. He generally recommends 80-100 grams of protein each day, 20-30% calories from carbs, and 20% calories from fat. That’s a fairly low carb and low fat diet. I have a feeling he gets some extra protein from protein powder, since he ‘works out’ too.

Anyway, point being, protein is important. Very important. And within the context of food preparedness, maybe you should also consider how much of it is protein versus carbs, etc… Carbs are easy and inexpensive, whereas proteins may present some challenges (more advice below).

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of protein needed each day – for different age groups

Grams of protein needed each day:

WOMEN age 19+ (46 grams)
MEN age 19+ (56 grams)

1 – 3 (13 grams)
4 – 8 (19 grams)
9 – 13 (34 grams)

Girls ages 14 – 18 (46 grams)
Boys ages 14 – 18 (52 grams)

The following list indicates the amount of protein in various foods (grams and percentage).


List of protein (grams) in foods

Your own research may vary a bit, because there are variables in the exact food type. However the following list should give you a pretty good overview.

Percent protein by weight, and number of grams
per 100 grams (3.5 ounces, or about 1/4-pound) of food.

Chicken, Breast (31)
Turkey, Breast (30)
Seeds, Pumpkin, dried (30)
Beef, Eye of Round (29)
Turkeky, Leg (28)
Beef, Ribeye, Tenderloin (28)
Beef, Chuck, shoulder (26)
Pork, Loin, blade chops (25)
Chicken, Leg (24)
Fish, Bass (24)
Beef, Ground, 70% lean (23)
Fish, Trout (23)
Seeds, Sunflower, dried (21)
Fish, Catfish (18)
Ham, Regular, sliced (17)
Tomato, sun-dried (14)
Egg, whole (14)
Wheat Flour, whole grain (13)
Soybeans, green, raw (13)
Beans, Pinto, and others (9)
Peas, green (5%)
Corn, sweet, yellow (4)
Spinach, raw (3)
Broccoli, raw (3)
Milk, whole (3)
Rice, white, long grain (3)
Potato, russet, baked (3)
Watercress, raw (2)
Cauliflower, raw (2)
Beans-Green, snap, raw (2)

The Takeaway

If one doesn’t have a source of ‘meat’, it looks like one would need to consume quite a lot of particular protein-rich vegetables, eggs, wheat, (see list above) etc.. to get the recommended daily intake of protein each day.

Another easy-to-store source of protein is protein powder. Mrs. J and I do supplement to some extent with the following product (for example)…

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard
(view on amzn)

It would be a good exercise to calculate your protein consumption needs – and figure out if you have enough protein in your ‘deep storage’.

A chest freezer is a great way to store meats. Also, it’s easy, and works great with vacuum-sealed meats. Stores perfectly for several years and more.

[ Read: Vacuum Sealer Uses – Things You Can Seal With A Food Saver Machine ]

[ Read: The Best Food To Keep In Your Chest Freezer For Preparedness is… ]

Home canning your own meats is another option to consider:

[ Read: Pressure Canning Chicken | How To Do It Yourself ]

Canned Premium Chicken Breast
Canned Keystone Ground Beef
(view on amzn)

[ Read: Best Canned Meats For Survival ]

[ Read: Rice & Beans, A Survival Combination ]


  1. Earlier this week I saw an arguement b/t a new poster arguing to eat beans instead of chicken. (on the Rice and Beans article) The lecture from nutrition class came to mind from decades ago: Several questions always come to mind when ever anybody argues about higher protein in this or that: #1 Is the protein a complete protein? #2 Is the protein in a form that is bioavailable? #3. Parents of children can relate to this last concept: Can you make this protein taste good?
    As an old fat guy, I have to work on limiting my intake. For those cooking for a group of folks that work hard, I would argue to increase the portion of protein in the food pyramid in order to rebuild muscle that is torn down in the process of hard work and stress. Along with that is the continuous effort to eat enough fruits and vegetables to get your antioxidants to aid in digestion and muscle repair.
    I remember hearing stories of folks that were in the Armed Services who volunteered for the Airborne or Special Forces because they ate meat at most every meal. This was confirmed by a retired SAS soldier. For these reasons, I cooked higher protein meals for the fire crew when we were at the station. There was plenty of carbs and vegetables along with the protein. I used or cooked with whole milk and did not make an effort to go low fat either. Young men and women working hard will burn off the calories and they need the protein in order to heal up and recover from injuries or illnesses. The military is not the only place where people are lean and hard working.
    I look forward to reading some recipes from the vegetarians out there. They are some of the most creative as far as cooking of beans and legumes. We had a vegan on our fire crew, He quit after less than 2 months because we could not meet his specific dietary needs.

  2. I had to go to a high protein, high fat, very low carbohydrate diet. Lost weight and my blood pressure went down to what it was 40 years ago. My blood sugar didn’t change but losing weight made my doctor happy at least. All other markers including cholesterol stayed the same, go figure. Like the food pyramid the ratio of protein, fats, and carbohydrates were set by fiat. No real study or consideration of individual needs.

    My own opinion, and that is all it is, is most of us all have too many carbs in our diet. They taste good though. : )

    In a shtf situation I will eat what I have and can get as will everyone else. Likely a low fat, low protein, high carb diet. : ( I am also interested in what vegan/vegetarian folks have to say.

  3. If you exercise, a good rule is 1 gram of Protein for every 2.2 pounds you weigh. So, a 200-pound man working out should consume a minimum 91 grams of Protein for muscle growth. It should be noted studies have shown the human body can only digest approximately 30 to 35 grams of Protein at any one time. It is recommended not to exceed this amount as your body will just flesh the excess and it is hard on your kidneys. I break mine up into four meals, which two are protein drinks. Unfortunately to many older people do not consume sufficient amounts of protein.

    1. It’s actually 1.6g per KG (2.2lbs). There are some people that suggest 1g per pound of LEAN BODY MASS (requires knowing your bodyfat percentage), especially as we age. And the myth of max protein digestion of 30-35g in a meal is nonsense brought to you by the same idiots that think that you should eat fiber when you are constipated (fiber increases volume, meat is digested primarily in the small intestine). The 7th day adventists and vegans have destroyed what was left of nutritional “science” and replaced it with dogma. As well, the RDA and anything published by the govt should be considered as suspicious (at a minimum) or dangerous (more likely).

      1. You notice I said a good rule! Some bodybuilders/athletes will push it up to 2 or 3 grams per 2.2 pounds of body weight. I have been building muscle for 30 plus years, now in my late 50s and still making gains. It all has to do with getting sufficient Protein to support muscle growth. It is a myth that people lose muscle mass after turning 40, the truth is they are not exercising and consuming sufficient Protein.

  4. Back in the ’80s they had it all figured out. Fat was bad. Fat causes cancer. Fat causes heart disease. Fat causes diabetes. You get fat because you eat fat. Fat is poison. Don’t eat fat. Today they REALLY have it all figured out. All that stuff they were telling us before about fat was all wrong. Fat’s not so bad. It’s sugar. Sugar is bad. Sugar causes heart disease. Sugar causes diabetes. Sugar is poison. Don’t eat sugar. While you’re at it, don’t eat carbs in general. By the way, if you eat too much protein you’ll get cancer.

    All of your calories have to come from some combination of fat, carbs and protein. Those three things have to add up to 100%. You have to eat! Maybe we should just go easy on the preservatives and the booze and otherwise just try not worry so much :)

    1. Winner!

      Maybe we should just go easy on the preservatives and the booze and otherwise just try not worry so much :)

      And I would add:
      not eating in excess and getting off the couch and move.

  5. Good article, with interesting comments so far. Proteins are basically a chain of amino acids, although there’s often other molecules attached, such as sugars. (That’s what actually determines your blood type) There are 20 amino acids, the ones your body cannot make are called essential amino acids. There are differences between plant and animal proteins. No healthy person excretes protein in their urine. One of the smallest common proteins is albumin, which is about 63 K Dalton’s, a Dalton is the weight of a proton. Being small, albumin is the first protein to show up in the urine of a patient with diabetic nephropathy, so that is what we use to screen for that. Albumin is the major component of egg whites, but eating a couple dozen eggs will not produce albumin in the urine of a healthy individual. Proteins are also digested by your gut bacteria, producing ammonia from breaking the amide bond that holds the amino acids together. Your liver converts the ammonia into urea, which the kidneys excrete. Hyperammonia can cause a medical emergency called hepatic encephalitis, and the high osmotic pressure in your brain can cause it to try to exit every hole in your skull. Not pretty, I promise. This is also a result of acetaminophen overdose. Bottom line is to consume as wide a variety of protein as possible, but go easy on the commercially raised poultry. Due to the corn it is fed, it contains high levels of Omega 6 fatty acids. The optimal diet contains a 1:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids, but most Americans consume a diet containing a 20:1 ratio. Looking forward to Ken’s possible future article on lipids. PS, I love to can salmon, moose, caribou, etc in my All American pressure canner.

    1. Old Alaskan

      I took biochem and molecular biology in school, and I didn’t know any of that, what you just said. Four years of university and I’m still an idiot. Thanks for nothing, UBC!

      Seriously though, I bet you’re some kind of scientist, something like that. I know you’re not a doctor because doctors don’t know anything. Wait, you’re American, aren’t you. Not Canadian. Never mind.

      1. Correct, Wooly. I am not a physician. I won’t list all my degrees, because that would be in poor taste. However, the older I get, the more I realize what I wasn’t taught in college and grad school. I really feel ignorant some times, especially around Naturopaths, Dieticians, Electricians, Automobile Mechanics, Home Builders, and basically any type of expert. I think we all are here to learn from each other.

  6. I have been trying to learn to cook with lentils, because they are high in protein. I prefer lentil pasta over wheat pasta. Anybody have some do’s and don’ts regarding lentils?

    1. Old Alaskan. I’ve cooked with them a few times. Guess it depends on your availability to other resources. I like how fast they cook up but they don’t have much in the way of flavor. Basically can serve as a meat substitute too if you’re crafty enough. They’re not huge in my household but I do have several gallon sized Mylars (7# each) put up in my LT just because I can craft it if I need too. I also have several bags of split green peas put up too for the same reason. And 7# of both will last for months in my house, even in a disaster.

      Basic way I cooked lentils is boiled with veggies. Carrots, potatoes, onions, whatever else you fancy. Maybe a veggie bouillon too.

      Last time I made humus (chickpeas) it turned out decent. Maybe could do same with lentils too. Same concept. I went heavy on garlic and olive oil.

      Haven’t done it yet but might could make a decent chili? If you got ground meat, great. If not might be good to try as that substitute.

      Split green peas cook quick too. Don’t taste like lentils but I can do more with them as a side dish or with potato soup, and I got A LOT of stuff for potato soups to go with homemade breads. Guess I could do more soups with lentils too.

      I’d be kinda curious in some more recipes too.

      1. Just Max, I pretty much have come to the same conclusion regarding lentils as you have. The only other thing I have done with them is to throw a handful in with my dehydrated veggie mix from our garden. I make up quart jars of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, corn, tomatoes, garlic, onion herbs assorted peppers and herbs. herbs. I know adding the lentils adds needed nutrition, but I do not enjoy them one bit. I do store cans and boxes of broth to cook this stuff in. My bone broth that is homemade is canned and saved to use if someone is sick, or to use in a special soup. I prefer peas. Black beans make up some pretty good soups. There is a good recipe on the back of the Bob’s Old Mill bag. It lets me throw in some chucks of the last, small, sweet potatoes.

  7. I will share what I did to reverse my lipid profile over the course of 1 year: During COVID lockdown, I finally went to see a Nurse Practitioner in order to get medication for my high blood pressure. I had blood drawn and part of the chem panel was a lipid profile. My lipid profile was quite high with HDL’s (the bad ones) being 3x the level of the LDLs (the good ones). My wife has been a good girl and had plenty of the good for us foods in the pantry aready. (olive oil, canola oil etc.).
    When I am not working, I am the primary cook for my home. I told my wife the findings of the lab and I began to buy, fix and eat more fish and less red meat and pork. I cut back on my fried food intake and make a point of eating fish as my primary protein at least 2 meals per week. The fish I eat has fins and no exoskeleton. (no shrimp or shellfish – it has as much HDL’s as red meat oz per oz). I cut out the eggs for breakfast on most days as well. Fortunately, I live in the land where trout and salmon are popular as a meat and sportfish. I am surrounded by folks that like to catch salmon but do not care to eat it.
    Red meat, pork back ribs, even my braised short ribs are treats these days but I no longer eat them on a daily basis (along with the 2 egg breakfast with sausage). One year later, my HDL/LDL ratio is reversed with LDLs outnumbering the HDLs at a ratio just short of 3:1. These days, my primary proteins are skinless chicken and fish that has both scales and fins.

    1. You actually have it backwards; HDL is the good Cholesterol and LDL is the bad one. Ideally you want an LDL count under 100 and HDL 40 or higher. If you have not had one, get a calcium screening. This will tell you more about your risk of heart disease, than your Cholesterol ratio alone. Keep eating that cold water fish though!

      1. Please add a high sensitivity CRP to your lab tests. All atherosclerosis begins with inflammation, then the macrophages come and form the plaque, which is then calcified. Chronic inflammation anywhere in your body is more of a risk factor than your lipid profile.

  8. To Kula and Old Alaskan: I like to make my lentil soup with both kale, carrots and Andoulie Sausage. (too hot and spicey for me to eat on its own butt it works well in lentil soup) This is about the only recipe I know which uses kale in it. Other than lentil soup, I hate kale. 1 lb of sausage per 7 cups of soup in a smaller crockpot. I learned this recie from a portagee from the Azores.

    For my recipe for black beans, I cook them with Chorizo Sausage and a big green chili. 1 lb of sausage for 7 cups again in a smaller crockpot.
    Growing up in a 2nd generation Japanese home, I had to learn how to make this when I left home.

    1. Calirefugee
      I make a mean kale slaw
      Blanch leaves
      Chill in icebath
      Chop to slaw like size
      Add your favorite slaw dressing.

      Or a creamy kale soup
      Cook chopped bacon till crispy,
      Add in and
      sautee onions and garlic
      Deglaze with sheri
      Add a rue
      Add chicken broth cook for a bit
      Add chopped kale
      Cook down adding salt and pepper to taste
      Use immersion blender
      continue cooking

  9. Why would you suggest anything from the CDC has any value? They are bought and paid for, their suggestions are merely there for the financial benefit of their sponsors.

    1. NorthernNutter: BINGO, owned by foreign investors and big $$ corporations.

    2. I do agree, especially after they revealed their true colors throughout the c o v i d period. With that said, I did want to relay ‘mainstream’ numbers as some sort of baseline minimums (not saying I agree with them). What would you suggest for an alternative source for these numbers?

      1. Ken J.
        As a result of the last few years, I have NO confidence in the three letter agencies that are supposed to protect life and health. I have turned to those who post on sites that are labeled as Naturopath, functional medicine and Holistic. Add in the sources from interviews of scientists and professionals who have been telling us the effects of substances on cells. think: forensics,undertakers, and Professors of chemistry..My DH also comes across things in his research group and forwards some to me.
        I do not believe there is one agency that truly responds appropriately because they are bought and paid for.
        Why? Look at the owners of patents for healthcare supplies/products. Look at the ingredients, preservatives in foods, and the changing of ingredients…of common things being produced.Not only the names but toxcicity..look up their MDS information. In addition the Agency in charge of labeling- has decided changes in ingredients that are substituted are no longer necessary to update labels w/ recipe changes.
        What effects CAN this have.? I had a really bad response this past week to graham crackers. I have an intolerance to soy, and this time the box was marked with 3 sources of soy.I had tolerated them before. My THEORY is :soy flour was increased in proportion. I did a “reverse elimination diet” evaluation.. That was the only change in my diet for entire week- so i could trace back to days post consumption of this product. As a result, on stomach meds for inflammation-until all symptoms are gone. I have a minimum of 90 gram protein prescribed from 1996. @5’4″ , small frame. Carbs, all carbs must be limited for stability for me. Unfortunately i get tired of meat, but do not handle any of the subs for it.I upped olive oil and coconut oil. Canola oil was genetically altered/developed to make Fat cows. It is evident in society today.

        1. Interesting about the graham crackers. I just last night opened a new box and aside from shrinking in size again the flavor is gone. These are the name brand not generic store brand and I got these because the store brand had no flavor. Not sure what they did but won’t be buying anymore.

        2. Agree with Original. The scientists at those agencies receive millions of dollars each year in royalties from the drug companies they are supposed to be protecting us from because they co-own the patents on the drugs. That includes Anthony Fauci.

  10. Good article.

    I think your doctor’s number are off, though. If he advocates for 30% carbs and 20% fat in the diet, that adds up to 50% & means protein is the other 50%. 100 grams of protein is 400 calories, so fat + carbs would be another 400 calories for a total of 800. That’s less than half of what the average man needs without taking into account physical labor, exercise, etc.

  11. To Jimmy Garland and Plainsmedic: Thank you for the correction in regards to HDL’s and LDL’s. Now you see why I did not get an A grade in Nutrition. (prerequisite class for nursing program). Making a major dietary switch is difficult butt most of my relatives that lived beyond 50 years of age have had to make this dietary transition.

    1. Cali,
      It’s all good. If that’s the worst mistake of the day, it was a great day. The older I get the more whooops I seem to do.

  12. If you still have room for a few more beans, I suggest cranberry beans. They have more of everything that is good for you, compared to other beans. They have a rich nutty flavor, keep well also. They are a little more difficult to find. Restaurant supply places sell them in bulk, but the shipping is high. I have grown them. After drying, I stored them in jars. That was very labor intensive. As I age, my days get shorter.
    In terms of protein, anyone with kidney problems needs to limit their animal and dairy protein (same thing), to a wallet size piece, five days a week. Two days are to be meatless. I had to change my cooking habits when the D.H. was told out of the blue, that he had kidney disease. This time of year, a lot of our food comes from our organic gardens. For protein, I do can a lot of meals in quart jars that contain meat. Now that we have not harvested our own chicken and duck, it is more difficult to find quality poultry. I know our eggs are top quality. I miss having our own wonderful birds on the table. I also knew they had a good, but short life.

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