If you are starting a high-protein eating plan, check out these 5 steps for success

  • 3 Minutes Read
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RDN, CDCES, BC-ADM, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

Whether you are starting a high-protein eating plan for weight loss, muscle building, or both, MyNetDiary can help. Follow these 5 steps to maximize your success.

High-protein eating plan

In just 5 steps, the launch of your high-protein eating plan will propel your success

1. Consider your health goals

If weight loss is your goal, a high-protein diet may be right for you. Research shows eating higher protein can help manage your appetite and maintain metabolism and muscle mass (an essential driver of metabolism) on a high-protein diet.

You may also follow a high-protein diet for sports and fitness goals, especially if you intend to gain muscle mass.

Perhaps your physician advised you to eat more protein for medical reasons. Some conditions that need extra protein include surgery recovery, wound healing, cancer, or reducing muscle loss associated with aging.

2. Select your protein target

While there is no standard definition of high protein, most high-protein plans range between 1.2-2.0 grams (g) protein per kilogram (kg) bodyweight, higher than the RDA of 0.8g/kg. Pro tip: Divide pounds by 2.2 to get kilograms.

Here are our protein intake-to-activity recommendations to get you started

Reduced-calorie weight-loss plans: 1.2-1.5g/kg

Endurance athletes: 1.2-1.4g/kg (source: American Council on Sports Medicine) Endurance sports include distance running, biking, and cross-country skiing.

Strength-training: 1.2-1.7g/kg (source: American Council on Sports Medicine) Aim for the upper end of the range for building muscle and the lower end of the range for maintaining muscle mass.

Bodybuilding: 1.8-2.3g/kg Many competitive bodybuilders consume far greater than this level, though evidence for recommendations is lacking.

Pregnancy/lactation: 1.1g/kg, based on pre-pregnancy weight (source: RDA)

Older adults age 65+: 1.0-1.2g/kg This level is recommended to maintain bone health and reduce loss of muscle mass with aging.

Wound healing, during cancer treatment, and post-surgery: 1.2-2.0g/kg

Is it possible to eat too much protein?

Yes. Higher-protein intake is associated with an increased risk of gout and kidney stones. A high-protein eating plan containing large amounts of red meat and saturated fats may increase cancer and heart disease risk. You may be advised to limit your protein intake if you have kidney or liver disease.

Consult your healthcare provider if you need more specific guidance on protein needs for your medical condition and goals.

3. Set your targets for fat, carbs, and nutrients

The default fat target for MyNetDiary’s Premium High-Protein plan is 30% of calories from fat. You can customize this target to meet your individual goals.

After you have set your protein and fat targets, the remainder of your calories will come from carbohydrates. You can also customize your carb target in the app.

Other nutrients

You may set goals for other nutrients, such as calories, fiber, sodium, potassium, and magnesium, and monitor your intake with the MyNetDiary tracker.

4. Properly stock your kitchen

It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed before starting a new eating style. Take some time to plan for your new lifestyle. To increase your success, stock your kitchen with protein-packed, healthy, and tasty foods, like those in the chart below.

Pro tip: Use our Food Grade to find the best foods.

Grains Grains, especially whole grains, provide about 3g protein per serving and are good sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Vegetables Vegetables are low in protein yet add important vitamins, minerals, and fiber to fill you up.
Meat and Plant-Protein Foods Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs, beans, and soy products are rich protein sources. One ounce cooked meat contains about 7g protein. Choose fresh and lean meats, poultry, and fish more often than processed meats like sausage and bacon.
Fruit Fruit contains minimal protein yet provides essential nutrients. Choose whole fruit over fruit juices.
Dairy and Dairy Substitutes Milk, cheese, yogurt, and some plant-based milk alternatives, such as soy milk and pea protein milk, provide solid protein sources. One cup of milk has 8 grams of protein.
Nuts and Seeds Nuts and seeds provide protein, healthy fats, and vital minerals. They make an excellent snack.
Fats and Oils Fats and oils do not contain protein. Include olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, and flaxseed oil for a healthy heart.
Spices and Seasonings Use herbs and spices for flavor and health benefits.
Beverages Keep well-hydrated with water, sparkling water, coffee, tea, and other unsweetened beverages.

Are you looking for some superb high-protein meal and snack ideas? MyNetDiary’s Premium Recipe collection contains hundreds of high-protein recipes, including this Chicken Walnut Grape Salad. Simply select the High-Protein tag.

5. Find Support

AA solid support system can make all the difference in your success. Let your friends and family know your goals and how they can support you. Engage with our MyNetDiary community on Facebook or our Community Forum. We have a team of registered dietitians to help answer any questions you may have.

Other articles you may find helpful:

The benefits of eating protein
Protein powder pros and cons
Can eating high-protein meals help you lose weight?

Reviewed and updated by Brenda Braslow on September 7, 2023.

Still new to MyNetDiary? Learn more today by downloading the app for FREE.

Sep 8, 2023
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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