My life changed a few years back when I discovered macros as a way of eating and understanding nutrition. More specifically, when I realized that eating adequate protein for my body was key to the body composition changes that I desired.
For many of us, we grew up thinking that protein was reserved for bodybuilders, or those looking to get as jacked as possible. However, that’s not the case! Protein is for everyone, and when it comes to females specifically, the benefits of protein are far-reaching.
If you landed here, there’s a good chance that you’re already aware of these benefits and you’re looking for guidance on how to incorporate a high-protein meal plan into your routine so that you can lose weight and accomplish your body composition goals.
In this article, I’m sharing my high-protein meal plan for weight loss for women. As a nutritionist, personal trainer, and female, I have plenty of both professional and personal experience with high-protein diets and how implementing one as a woman with weight loss goals can be beneficial and productive. Let’s dive in!
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How Much Protein Should a Woman Have Daily to Lose Weight?
The guideline on protein intake for weight loss for active women is between 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of your goal body weight. For a woman whose goal weight is 150 lbs, she would aim to eat between 120-180g of protein per day. This is a large range, and where you fall personally will depend on a few factors.
For women who are active and are weight training, sticking to the higher end of their recommended protein intake is going to be more productive from a fat loss and muscle-building and muscle preservation standpoint.
Remember, the goal here is to not just lose weight, we want to lose fat while also building and maintaining lean muscle tissue that will give us the curves and “tone” that we’re looking for. To do this, we need to ensure that we have enough protein on board to take care of our muscle tissue.
Factors to Consider:
Your current protein intake - how much protein are you currently consuming, on average? If it’s far less than your optimal range, trying to jump from one extreme to the next is not going to be conducive to your success. In this case, you’re going to want to take baby steps, gradually increasing your protein intake on a weekly basis until you reach your target.
Dietary limitations - if you follow a vegan or plant-based diet, you might struggle to hit your protein goals as readily as someone who eats meat and animal products. However, it’s not impossible! We have a 5-day vegan macro meal plan that can get you started with some ideas.
Enjoyment factor - for some women, eating protein is very pleasant and they crave protein-heavy foods and meals. For others, it’s a struggle, if this is you, give yourself the time and grace to figure out what proteins you enjoy. Macro-friendly recipes that are high in protein is a great place to start! Eating a protein-rich diet doesn’t mean you have to gnaw on chicken breasts and chug protein shakes all day long.
Which Protein Food Is Best For Weight Loss For Females?
The best sources of protein for women are those that are high in nutrients and low in unhealthy fats and calories. Lean sources of protein are going to be your best friend when it comes to creating a high-protein meal plan for weight loss.
We created a whole macro cheat sheet that includes our favorite sources of lean protein, which includes the following:
- Chicken Breast
- Egg Whites
- Protein Powder
- Greek Yogurt
- Cottage Cheese
- Lean Deli Meat
- Protein powders
Protein + Carbs:
- Regular Yogurt
- Veggie Burgers
- Powdered Peanut Butter
Protein + Fat:
- Chicken Thighs
- Full Fat Dairy Products
- Coconut Milk
- Sour Cream
- Bone Marrow
Can Women Lose Weight By Eating High Protein?
Yes, consuming a high-protein diet will aid in weight loss by allowing for a reduction in body fat achieved through a calorie deficit while maintaining lean body muscle tissue. Furthermore, consuming a diet that’s high in protein will increase your satiety, or the feeling of fullness, which results in fewer calories being consumed throughout the day.
Keep in mind that the number one factor in weight loss is calories in < calories out. This is what we refer to as a calorie deficit and it will be the driving force behind your weight loss. A high-protein meal plan will ensure that the weight you’re losing is fat, not muscle.
7-Day High-Protein Meal Plan For Weight Loss For Women
Now that we took care of all the nuts and bolts of eating high protein in pursuit of weight loss, let’s put it all together in a sample high-protein meal plan that will help you achieve your goals.
The following meal plan is a sample of what a high protein meal plan for women might look like, but keep in mind that your personal macro targets will be individualized to you and your body, so adjustments will need to be made to accommodate your needs.
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Here’s an example of 7 days of high-protein meals and snacks for women:
- Breakfast: Protein Pancakes 37g protein)
- Lunch: Ground Turkey Quesadilla (34g protein)
- Dinner: Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Skillet (35g protein)
- Snacks: Built Bar (17g protein) - Code FHM10, protein shake (24g protein) I recommend 1st Phorm Level-1, Greek yogurt cup (11g protein)
Day 1 protein total = 158g
- Breakfast: Breakfast Burrito (24g protein)
- Lunch: Ham & Cheese Club Sandwich (34g protein)
- Dinner: Loaded Baked Potato Soup (26g protein)
- Snacks: Level-1 Bar (20g protein), Cinnamon Roll Protein Shake (29g protein)
Day 2 protein total = 133g
- Breakfast: Blackberry & Melted Peanut Butter Chia Pudding + Level-1 Protein Shake (37g protein)
- Lunch: Turkey Fried Rice (33g protein)
- Dinner: Big Mac Wrap (36g protein)
- Snacks: Greek yogurt (11g protein), CHOMPS meat stick (9g protein) Code FHM15, Built Bar (17g protein) code FHM10
Day 3 protein total = 143g
- Breakfast: Red Velvet Overnight Oats (39g protein)
- Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Wrap (56g protein)
- Dinner: Baked Turkey Tacos (22g protein)
- Snacks: Healthy Wendy’s Frosty (28g protein), Greek yogurt (11g protein), CHOMPS meat stick (9g protein)
Day 4 protein total = 165g
- Breakfast: Turkey Bacon Egg White Breakfast Sandwich (30g protein)
- Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Pizza (34g protein)
- Dinner: Thai Turkey Meatballs Over Brown Rice (25g protein)
- Snacks: Salted Caramel Coconut Protein Bowl (27g protein), CHOMPS meat stick (9g protein), (2) hard-boiled eggs (12g protein)
Day 5 protein total = 137g
- Breakfast: White Chocolate Blueberry Protein Muffins with a protein shake (31g protein)
- Lunch: Chicken Bacon Ranch English Muffin Pizza (39g protein)
- Dinner: Macro Friendly Chili (28g protein)
- Snacks: Copycat Perfect Bars (13g protein), Greek yogurt (11g protein)
Day 6 protein total = 122g protein
- Breakfast: Turkey Sausage Breakfast Casserole (28g protein)
- Lunch: Loaded Baked Potato Soup (26g protein).
- Dinner: Creamy Buffalo Chicken Bowl (43g protein)
- Snacks: Built Bar (code FHM10), (17g protein), Level-1 shake (24g protein)
Day 7 protein total = 138g protein
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5 High Protein Meal Plan Tips and Tricks From a Nutritionist
When it comes to eating a protein-rich diet that will aid in weight loss, here are 5 things to keep in mind that will help you do so efficiently and effectively:
- Find the protein sources that you love. There are so many incredible sources of protein to choose from that there’s no reason to be consuming foods that you don’t like. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to eat plain chicken breast and chalky protein shakes to hit your protein goals! Find what you love and go for it.
- Aim to get the bulk of your daily protein intake to come from whole food sources. While I am a huge proponent of protein shakes and bars thanks to their convenience and taste, I am also an advocate for eating healthy, nutrient-dense whole foods that naturally contain a high protein profile.
- Give yourself the gift of meal prepping each week. Reserve some time each week to plan your meals, shop, and bulk-prepare some of your favorite protein sources so that they’re always available and ready to go for you. This will save you so much time and will help avoid one of the biggest pitfalls to eating a high-protein diet for women, which is not having the time to cook!
- Understand that it may take some time to build up your protein game. If you’re new to counting macros and prioritizing protein or have been consistently under-consuming protein, know that it may take some time for your body (and mind) to adjust to the new higher intake. Proceed incrementally until you’re at your goal.
- Play around with the optimal protein range for your body and see what works best for you, both from a results perspective and from an enjoyment perspective. Some women find that eating on the higher end of their protein range is not only beneficial from a weight loss point of view, but that they really enjoy it, too! For others, consuming a lot of protein is difficult and not as pleasant, so they tend to stick to the lower recommended protein intake for their body. Find what works for you!
If you’re ready to take your body composition goals to the next level and to do so in a safe, body-nourishing way, then consuming a high-protein meal plan is a great place to start. Personally, I have seen incredible changes in my body composition from prioritizing protein and weight lifting. Remember, it’s not just one thing that will give you the results you’re looking for, you need to marry your nutrition plan with a strategic training plan to allow for optimal results.
Our hope is that this example 7-day high-protein meal plan for women will help you get started on your high-protein diet and that it takes some of the intimidation and guesswork out of the process. Our healthy recipes are all high in protein, macro-friendly, and curated by Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists so you can rest assured that when you follow our recommendations you’ll be eating healthy, balanced, body-fueling meals that will help you gain muscle, lose fat, and achieve the body composition that you desire.
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