Building muscle is essential: whether your goal is appearance-based, health-based, strength-based, this mighty macronutrient covers all the bases. Lean muscle burns more calories, reduces caloric imbalances, and helps prevent obesity and all of the associated conditions that come along with it. It’s not just for bodybuilders or athletes: muscle development is important for all of us. So how much protein do you need to build muscle?

Some people are under the mistaken impression that you need about two grams of protein for every pound of body weight. If you’re, say, 175 pounds, that’s 350 grams. Whoa! That advice is outdated. Today, experts recommend about 95 – 143 grams for a 175 pound person. This will increase for folks who are more quite active or in training, but it is still a very manageable amount, and you won’t have to choke down protein powder. (Find more information here for your particular weight and activity level.)

Now, if you want to build muscle mass and “bulk up” in a healthy way, you can increase protein intake to as much as about one ounce per pound. But remember, more doesn’t necessarily mean better. You don’t want to add extra calories and put on non-muscle weight. 

Another key to remember is that not all sources of protein are created equal. For example, yes, there is a hefty amount of protein in a piece of fried chicken. There is also plenty of fat, calories, and salt. Quality protein is important. 

Protein Snacks on the Go

To ensure you get the protein you need to build muscle, have some reliable go-tos in terms of snacks. We like:

  • Instant quinoa and lentil bowls
  • Instant oatmeal with nut butter, nuts, dried fruit, chia seeds, or flax seeds
  • Lean meats (e.g., turkey, chicken)
  • All-natural protein bars
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Roasted chickpeas 
  • Edamame 
  • Cottage cheese
  • DIY trail mix 
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Sardines 
  • Tuna fish
  • Greek yogurt 
  • Nut butters
  • String cheese
  • All-natural meat snacks, like Sweetwood’s FATTY hickory-smoked meat sticks

Many of these items are available pre-packaged from convenience and grocery stores. You can also take a few evenings a week and prepare your own snack packs. A handful of nuts, a string cheese, and a FATTY smoked meat stick, for example, will get you through that mid-afternoon hump and help you meet your quality protein goals. 

With a little prior planning, you can have high quality protein snacks on the go, so you don’t have to turn to sugary, salty, high-calorie convenience foods.

>> Stock up on delicious meat snacks from Sweetwood Smokehouse and snack with confidence!