Great Protein Hacks for Muscle Health

Did you know, that as we age, we are slowly losing muscle mass, specifically between the ages of 30 and 80?  This is due to age-related sarcopenia, where the body is less efficient in using amino acids for muscle protein synthesis.  Even if you exercise, you will most likely loose a little muscle mass. But as your age increases over 65, it becomes even more crucial to combine an increase in protein consumption with exercise to help maintain your muscle mass.

Protein helps to build & repair muscle, is needed for blood production, maintaining hormone levels, forming antibodies to fight infections and give us energy. That is why “the foods we choose should give our bodies all the protein they need.”[1]  It is recommended that as we age, we consume between 1g-1.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight[2].  Here are some helpful “hacks” to help you get there:

  • Aim for 30 grams of protein per meal; example: 1 scrambled egg and 2 Italian sausages for breakfast
  • Milk- any flavor will do (chocolate, plain, strawberry). It’s quick, easy and convenient.
  • Keep bottles of nutrient milks on the shelf, like Ensure, for convenience and longer shelf life.
  • Add veggies to your smoothies! Vegetables such as spinach, kale and cauliflower are high in protein.
  • Have fun with eggs- scrambled, on toast, hardboiled with salt, or make a batch of egg salad.
  • Substitute with Tofu. Tofu is high in protein (20 grams per cup) and can be easier to chew than that of chicken or steak. Make a batch of Pad Thai and use tofu instead of pork.
  • Keep pre-portioned nuts in your car and at home.
  • Have fun with nut butters. The variety is vast, from cashew, almond, peanut and even macadamia. Use them to take your PB&J sandwich up a notch or top on a whole wheat cracker.
  • For dessert, make a yogurt parfait with Greek Yogurt and your favorite toppings.
  • Instead of mayo, try adding humus to your sandwich. They come in different flavors and you will receive the benefit of protein from the chickpeas.
  • Add a protein powder. You can sneak flavorless protein powders into things like salad dressings, oatmeals and more! To cook with protein powder, you can even add it to things like brownies and mashed potatoes.[3]

If you have any questions or concerns about your muscle mass, reach out to your doctor. He or she will be able to guide you in a way that is specific to your needs.








[1] Birkett, Kathy. 9 Great Protein (and Flavor) Hacks for Seniors’ Muscle Health. Senior Care Corner. 3/9/2018.

[2] Webb PhD, RD, Denise. Protein for Fitness: Age Demands Greater Protein Needs. Today’s Dietitian. April 2015  Vol. 17 No. 4 P. 16.

[3] Finney, Lauren. 25 Ways to Increase Your Protein Intake. Eat This Not That. 3/9/2018.