Have you heard the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? It may be an old wives’ tale, or it may be true.
The single most important nutrition tip for all meals is to prioritise protein and combine with some healthy fat and low carb veggies (fresh and unprocessed) that your body can tolerate.
There are many health reasons that protein is essential including:
- Makes weight loss easier
- Satiety (minimising hunger)
- Blood sugar level management which helps reduce inflammation
- Brain health, gut health, improved concentration, and focus
- Reduces (sugary) food cravings and mood swings
- Maintain muscle and bone density, helps fluid retention
- Helps prevent weight regain
- Increased metabolism and energy levels
- Better oxygen and blood flow for improved nails, skin, and hair
So how much protein do I need? Does it depend on my weight and activity level?
A good target to aim for with each meal is 30g. If you weigh more and/or lead an active life, then your requirements may increase. A simple test is if you are not satiated until the next meal or planned snack then increase your protein serve.
You could introduce a protein shake as a between meal snack or you could have the protein shake with your meal to increase your protein intake.
What does 30g of protein look like?
Animal protein contains all nine essential amino acids and is considered a superior source of protein:
- 100 – 120g of animal protein: beef, pork, lamb, chicken
- 150g seafood
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup cheese including cottage, ricotta, parmesan and cheddar
- 1 & 1/2 cups Greek yoghurt
Plant based proteins are much higher in carbohydrate and require larger serving sizes to get adequate protein:
- 1 cup soya beans
- 1 & 1/2 cups cooked tofu, lentils, black and pinto beans
- 2 cups split peas
- ¾ cup edamame
Nuts and seeds are high in fat (high in calories) so for weight loss limit serving to a small handful:
- 100g hemp, pumpkin seeds
- 150g peanuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, flax
- 175g sesame, chia
- 200g cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts
Combining meat, plant, nuts, and seeds along with low carb (mainly green and coloured) vegetables will provide variety and satiety for any meal of the day.
Why not try some of these combinations?
- Greek yoghurt with nuts and/or seeds
- Scrambled eggs with bacon/sausage and sauteed mushrooms and spinach
- Eggs and beans in a tomato passata sauce
- Cottage or ricotta cheese with 1 Tbsp nuts and a few strawberries or raspberries
- Tofu scramble with sauteed vegetables, sprinkled with nuts or seeds
- 2 eggs with meat, cheese or beans, plus low-carb veggies
- Greek yoghurt with protein powder and a few berries
- Scrambled eggs or tofu with sauteed vegetables and grated cheese
- Protein powder with coconut milk, nut butters and/or a few berries
Get creative using your favourite high-protein foods to produce some go-to meals that you can enjoy for any meal. Don’t be afraid to experiment with foods that you may not have tried before.
Many of these suggestions are easy to make and don’t require a lot of time. To make it easier ensure your fridge and freezer are well-stocked with these protein foods.
Prioritising protein in all meals and snacks is your recipe to be at your best weight and health.
If you would like some help working out what foods work best for your body our step-by-step program might be just what you need. If so complete the form below and one of our coaches will be in touch.