The hazards of not getting enough protein in your diet include muscle wasting, edema, anemia and slow growth in children. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans get plenty of protein. To make sure your diet measures up, refer to the FDA's guidelines on protein intake -- the daily value. Keep in mind that these are estimates, and it's best to discuss your individual protein needs with your doctor.
The Daily Value
The daily value, or DV, is an estimation of the amount of protein needed by the general population. According to the guidelines, adults and children older than 4 need about 50 grams of protein each day. The DV is based on a typical 2,000-calorie diet. If you eat fewer or more calories each day, you may need more or less protein than the DV.
Getting Your 50 Grams
It's easy to meet the daily value for protein in three square meals and one or two healthy snacks per day. One egg for breakfast has 6 grams of protein; pair that with a serving of oatmeal and your breakfast totals almost 13 grams. At lunch, a salad topped with 3 ounces of grilled chicken breast gives you more than 26 grams. Going meat-free at dinner and opting for a lean source of protein like 3 ounces of stir-fried tofu and vegetables contributes more than 6 grams to your daily total. Snack on 1 ounce of almonds at some point during the day and you've met your goal.