Foods high in protein (fish, chicken) are helpful for building and maintaining lean muscle. this should be an important goal for every woman.
Here are just a few reasons:
Increasing muscle mass boosts metabolism, helps women get stronger and reduce cravings by stabilizing blood sugar.
Tip: Eat a portion of protein with every meal.
Yea, I know...eating chicken and steak all day long might not be appealing to you, especially if you're vegetarian or vegan...
"What should I do?"
Tip: Include vegetable-based proteins such as tahini, hummus...or add a quark, cottage cheese...
However, if you're a vegetarian or vegan, try not to get all of your protein from vegetable-based sources, here's why:
High-fat content - if you look at the labels more closely, you can see that they tend to have a pretty high-fat content. However, I'm not saying "fat is bad", it's just that it might put you over your caloric needs for the day, which may lead to unintended weight gain.
Low protein content - due to their low total protein content, it will be tough to get an optimal amount of protein from plant-based foods unless you supplement with protein powder.
Tip for vegetarians, vegans:
strive to eat "complete proteins"(meaning they contain full spectrum of amino acids), like quinoa, hemp seeds, buckwheat, Ezekiel Bread (If It's Accessible To You), Tahini,Hummus,... If you're still strugling to get enought protein in your diet, you may consider supplementing with protein powder to help you reach your daily protein intake goals.
If you're pregnant, talk to your doctor before supplementing with a protein powder...that's not because there is any reason to believe that supplementing with PP is unsafe, but like many other supplements, it's consumption during pregnancy hasn't been studied.
Keep in mind!
There's a difference between "optimal" and "adequate" protein intake!
ADEQUATE equals to the amount of protein that human needs to function every day. That's generally considered to be 0,8 grams per kilogram.
OPTIMAL equals the amount active no-pregnant and breastfeeding woman need to recover from exercise and gain(maintain) lean muscle mass, while also reaping the benefits of safety and more stable blood sugar. The optimal amount is generally considered to be around 1,6 - 1,8 grams per kilogram of body weight.
So, for a 60kg woman that would be:
Adequate = 48 grams
Optimal = 102 grams
As you can see, there's quite a significant difference between adequate and optimal protein intake.
However, don't stress about numbers too much!