Nutrition 101: Here's What You Need To Know About Protein

When it comes to healthy eating, it can be tough to know what to do sometimes — we want to eat enough to feel full and avoid unnecessary (and unhealthy) mid-day snacking, but we also don't want to eat so much that we sabotage our weight-loss or weight-maintenance goals. Some healthy snacks are high in fat and calories, making it even more difficult to determine what to eat.

Luckily, nutrition isn't as tricky as we sometimes believe it to be. Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of fresh, whole, and wholesome foods helps us feel fuller longer and can make it easier to stick to our healthy eating plans. Protein, specifically, plays an important role in healthy eating. We know that protein can help us feel fuller longer, but how do we know if we're getting enough?

According to Elle Penner, MPH, RD, and food & nutrition editor at MyFitnessPal, "The Dietary Guidelines recommend getting 10 to 35 percent of calories from protein, but for those cutting calories to lose weight, the low end of the range may not be enough — especially since protein increases satiety and helps preserve muscle during weight loss. For most adults, sticking to the middle of the range (20 to 25 percent of calories) will provide enough protein." If you're eating 2,000 calories per day, for example, 400 to 500 of those calories should come from protein — foods like eggs, chicken, fish, nuts, Greek yogurt, and legumes.

Looking to learn more about protein? MyFitnessPal, the world's leading health and fitness app with a community of over 65 million members worldwide, has a rounded up a few key pieces of information.

For more from MyFitnessPal, visit their blog. Or, click here for more on healthy eating.

Elle Penner MPH, RD, is a registered dietician and food & nutrition editor at MyFitnessPal, the world's leading health and fitness app with a community of over 65 million members worldwide. Elle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Boston College and a master's degree in public health nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a member of the California Dietetics Association and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Elle resides in San Francisco with her husband, where she's an active runner, food-lover, and healthy lifestyle blogger.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.