The average adult should obtain between 10 and 35 percent of her daily calories from protein, says registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom. If you're trying to follow a high-protein diet for weight loss or medical reasons, you'll need to aim for the 35 percent mark, with around 20 to 25 percent of the rest of your calories contributed by fat and 40 to 45 percent from carbohydrates. A two-week, high-protein diet supplying 1,700 calories per day will most likely help you lose weight, but it may not be the best choice for men or for women who are very physically active or who have a chronic health problem. Don't attempt a low-calorie, high-protein diet until you've spoken to your doctor about the benefits and drawbacks.
Sample Breakfast Plans
Plan for your breakfasts to include one serving of a protein-rich food, one serving of a dairy product or other food high in both calcium and protein, one fruit serving, two carbohydrate servings and one heart-healthy fat serving. Two slices of whole-wheat toast spread with trans-fat-free margarine and a smoothie made with silken tofu, fruit like strawberries, low- or nonfat cow's milk or plant milk and ice is one example. Another option could be eggs or egg substitute paired with 100 percent fruit juice, low-sugar granola mixed with cubed fruit and plain low-fat yogurt.
Sample Lunch Plans
Lunch could be designed to include two servings of lean protein, several servings of vegetables, two fat servings and a serving of carbohydrates. Try a salad of lettuce greens, chopped raw vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes, and low-fat salad dressing topped with 6 ounces of grilled chicken, lean steak or tofu. Have the salad with a whole-grain roll and raw vegetable sticks with low-fat dressing for dipping. Another lunchtime option could be a whole-wheat pasta salad containing cooked fish or shellfish, steamed vegetables and fat-free salad dressing along with a piece of whole fruit.
Sample Dinner Plans
Aim to have each dinner contain two protein servings, two fat servings, two vegetable servings and one carbohydrate serving with an optional serving of fruit. Have skinless roasted chicken or turkey breast with roasted vegetables, a whole-grain roll and a side salad with reduced-fat dressing, for example. Or have 6 ounces of baked fish like halibut with mixed vegetables, mashed sweet potatoes and a piece of fresh fruit such as an orange with your green salad and dressing.
Sample Snack Plans
Your high-protein diet plan can include two snacks. Make sure each contains a source of protein, whether that's beans, legumes, meat, poultry or a dairy product, and time them to fall between meals to help suppress your appetite. A typical day could include a midmorning snack of a bean dip like hummus eaten with raw vegetables like cucumber rounds and cherry tomatoes, followed by an afternoon snack consisting of toast, sliced vegetables like red bell peppers and 1 ounce of reduced-fat cheese. Other snack options might be yogurt mixed with fruit or celery sticks and sugar-free nut butter.