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Protein is essential for everything from healthy hair and nails to, encouraging muscle growth.

Protein also helps you feel fuller longer by taking more time to digest than carbs. Not a bad deal!

Many of us have heard that meat and eggs are good sources of protein, but there are alternatives to these standbys for every meal and all the snacks in between.

When it comes to the quantity of protien you shold consume per day, Tina Gowin, RD, CDN  says, It depends on your size and how active you are.

The general guideline is that 15 percent of your daily calories should be comprised of protein, or about 75 grams for the average adult.

The Mayo Clinic more or less agrees, recommending that about 20 percent of daily calories come from protein.

There's not one perfect amount for everyone, so you might want to switch things up here and there to find out what works best for you.

If you’re working out long and/or hard, your protein needs will be slightly higher, which could mean increasing your intake by about five percent per day.

If that seems like a lot of protein to fit into one day, don't get anxious just yet.

From nuts and yogurt, to vegetables, beans, and grains, many foods have a least a bit of protein, and these different sources can really add up throughout the day.

Test out your culinary skills with these top choices for high-protein foods that are often overlooked.

View photos in gallery.

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