I Eat 120g of Protein Every Day–These are My Sneaky Protein Hacks

"I’ve cracked the code to low-effort sneaky protein"
daily protein"
daily protein
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider

We all know by now: Protein really is that girl. If you want to feel satisfied, fueled, and strong, you gotta eat your protein (and your hair, skin, and nails will thank you!). The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends .35 grams per pound of body weight for general health. However, if you’re trying to build muscle, are a fairly active individual, or just looking to feel a little more satisfied after every meal, you probably need to aim a little higher (like me!). 

After we learned on TikTok that most people are not getting enough protein (two eggs does not contain enough protein for breakfast!?), I know you might be Googling “How do I increase my protein intake,” and “How do I eat over 100g of protein a day?” But I wholeheartedly believe that nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated. Quite frankly, if it is, I’m not going to do it. Thanks to a short stint as a vegetarian and a few years of trial and error, I’ve cracked the code to low-effort high-protein meals, or what I like to call sneaky protein. Sneaky protein embraces the “add don’t subtract” principle of nutrition, taking meals you’re already making and swapping in higher protein options. You’d be shocked how much you can add without feeling like you’ve changed a thing. Read on for seven hacks I use daily to hit at least 120 grams of protein without trying too hard.

The Gameplan: Your High Protein Strategy

I was never a Girl Scout, but I do know if you fail to plan, you plan to fail (or so my grandpa always said). So, before we get into all the hacks, we have to strategize a bit. When shooting for a protein goal, the best way to tackle it is to break it up throughout the day. I’ve found that shooting for meals with 30-40 grams ensures I rarely miss that target without feeling like I’m forcing it. Toss in 1-2 high-protein snacks and you’re well on your way. If 30-40 grams feels overwhelming, I hear you—and I got you. Whether you’re trying to hit 60 grams or 150 grams a day, these are my go-to tips to help get you there. 

7 Hacks to Add Sneaky Protein

1. Protein shakes are the new coffee creamer

I can’t finish a bottle of creamer on my own before it goes bad. One day, I started eyeing the protein shake sitting in my fridge, and lo and behold… it slapped, and a new habit was born. Now I go to bed thinking about my frothy little protein coffee that I can’t wait to sip on in the morning. Not only does this taste delish, reduce waste, and increase my protein intake, but I also notice I no longer get jittery from my coffee like I did using sweeter creamers. Win-win. If hot coffee isn’t your thing, nothing hits quite like a little DIY iced latte with that protein shake tossed in.

2. Add egg whites where they don’t belong

Hear me out on this one. Egg whites are a great protein source, but on their own, they aren’t doing much for you flavor-wise. Obviously, I’m all about adding them to scrambled eggs, but I love sneaking them into less obvious breakfast options even more. Egg whites that come in a carton are pasteurized, meaning you don’t need to cook them to eat them. Try replacing liquids in other meals with egg whites instead. I often do this with overnight oats, adding a scoop of yogurt and using egg whites where I might have used milk. This also works in smoothies or even for a high-protein french toast.

3. Carbs can be protein too

When building a balanced meal, I love to simplify by starting with a carb, protein, and fat source. But carbs aren’t created equal, and some pack more of a powerful protein punch than others. If you love a bagel sandwich, opt for an everything bagel from Dave’s Killer Bread, which boasts a hefty 13 grams of protein. If you’re a pancake enthusiast, grab a Kodiak cake mix or one of the million other protein options on the market. Next time you’re grocery shopping, opt for a higher protein tortilla, grab that extra hearty bread, or try out a protein pasta. Or even a simple swap like replacing your white rice with quinoa can add some additional grams. It’s amazing how much protein you can pack into a meal you already love by replacing it with different options.

4. DIY sauces with Greek yogurt and cottage cheese

If protein is king, Greek yogurt is the queen because there is nothing that girl can’t do. One way I love to use it is in DIY sauces. Grab a ranch packet from the store and mix her up, add hot sauce for a buffalo moment, or go sweeter with some mustard and honey. The options are endless, and you can make some delicious (and truly heinous) concoctions. Not to name-drop all the trendsetters here, but cottage cheese also works wonders as the base for a DIY sauce or dressing. If texture is an issue, don’t stress—toss that bad boy in a blender with seasonings of your choice, and you’ve got a delicious tangy, cheesy dipping sauce. 

5. Add bacon (or vegan bacon) to it

Of course, adding a second protein source to meals is going to help you hit that protein goal. But sometimes, it just feels weird to have two different protein sources. But bacon, though? It goes with everything. Add a slice to your sandwich, crumble it up on a salad, or snack on the side. I love turkey bacon personally (it started when I read Charlotte’s Web as a kid, and I never looked back), but some vegetarian options pack a good kick of protein as well. 

6. Make your toppings work for you

It’s time we stop thinking of protein as the key part of the meal. Toppings can also add protein and flavor or texture. The best part about this hack is it also makes your food ~aesthetically pleasing~. Whether you’re cheffing up pasta, avocado toast, a salad, or an egg bake, try sprinkling some of these on top for a little protein boost:

  • Nutritional Yeast: 2 tablespoons can have around 8 grams of protein. Add to sauces or sprinkle on pasta or veggies for a parmesan alternative.
  • Hemp Seeds: 1 tablespoon gives you an extra 3 grams. Sprinkle on top of salads, bowls, or yogurt.
  • Nut Butters: While not a significant source of protein, one serving of most nut butters will help you tack on a cute 5 grams to 10 grams of protein. Nut butter is delicious on oatmeal or chia pudding but can also work mixed into a dressing.


Apologies to my non-dairy queens, but we must talk about cheese. Not only does cheese make everything taste better, but it’s a fantastic way to top off the protein content in any meal. Parmesan (10 grams per ounce), Swiss (7.7 grams per ounce), or Feta (4 grams per ounce) make delicious additions to omelets, salads, sandwiches, or bowls. Also, we can’t talk about cheese without talking about the controversial sibling: cottage cheese. It’s not for everyone, but before you write it off completely, try blending it to get rid of the curds. Then add it to eggs, make it into pasta sauce, or use it as the base of a dip.