Healthy Plate: Protein

Another important portion of the healthy plate is the 1/4 allocated for protein.

I cannot emphasise how important protein is for our health and wellbeing.

what is Protein?
why is it important?

“If your body was a house,
the bricks that form its walls are the amino acids you get from digesting protein.
The cement holding those bricks together are your vitamins and minerals.”
Juanique Roney (@gutsy_mom)

Protein consists of long chains of amino acids.

Amino acids are important for almost every part and function of our bodies.

Key highlights include:

  • DNA production and gene expression
  • Our stress response
  • Energy production and metabolism
  • Brain neurotransmitters (mood disorders) and hormone balance
  • Immunity and antioxidant responses
  • Liver health and ability to detoxify toxins
  • Growth and development of our tissues (muscles, ligaments, organs, etc)
Amino acid roles in our bodies [2]

Therefore, protein is so important that I would consider it a form of fasting if you are not getting enough each day. This is fine once a week but not healthy in the long run.

How much?

To avoid deficiency, we need about 0.8 – 0.9 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, more if very athletic or elderly (1.2–1.6 g protein/kg/d) [3].

For example if I’m 60 kg, I require:

60 x 0.8 = 48 g of protein a day
(54 g if using 0.9 g/kg)

For calculations in pounds, take your weight in pounds multiplied by 4 and divided by 10.

60kg = 132 lbs.
132 x 4 / 10 = 52 g

When planning your meal, a good guide is to allocate 1/4 of your plate for protein.

However this also depends on what type of protein you are consuming as plant-based protein have less protein by weight relative to animal-based.

Therefore another simple guideline is:

  • ONE palm size for animal proteins (meat/fish/poultry/dairy)
  • TWO palm sizes for plant-based protein (legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, mushrooms)


The following is a list of protein-rich foods and how much protein per serving they contain. (Click to enlarge)

Foods rich in protein and quantity of protein in 1 serving (1 oz = ~28g, 1 cup = 236g) [4]

quality Matters

Whenever possible, choose pasture-raised, grass fed, wild-caught, sustainably raised, hormone/antibiotic free animal products.

For plant-based protein, choose organic/spray-free, non-GMO, toxin-free (e.g. heavy metals), local, sustainable and in-season produce.


All our clients receive a copy of the Holistic Vitality Diet after their first appointment.

Our Leaf to Life Holistic Vitality Diet recommends limiting animal based proteins to 3x/week (‘Moderation Days’ above).

Another alternative is to only have animal based protein only once a day (breakfast or lunch) and plant-based protein for the other 2 meals.

It is better to have plant based protein at dinner as it is ‘lighter on our digestion’, promoting better sleep.

‘Heavier protein’ like animal based ones are better suited for breakfast or lunch when our metabolism/’digestive fire’ is higher.

If you’re interested to learn more, send your enquires to: Contact us (

Thanks for reading. Please share this with anyone whom might benefit.



References and Links

  1. Juanique Roney (@gutsy_mom) • Instagram photos and videos
  2. Functional Amino Acids in Growth, Reproduction, and Health | Advances in Nutrition | Oxford Academic (
  3. Dietary protein requirements and adaptive advantages in athletes – PubMed (
  4. Figure 2. ​Protein sources. ​Retrieved from Fitness Pro. (
  5. Contact us (

Posts in this #Nutrition series:

  1. Planning a Healthy Plate
  2. Healthy Plate: Vegetables

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