Protein is made up of amino acids that are the building blocks to build and repair muscles and bones and to make enzymes and hormones. It’s essential for our body to function properly. How much should we be eating? The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight – this is the bare minimum. You may need more based on your activity level, any medications you’re on, and your age. Side note here’s a cool website you can use to determine all of your recommended macronutrients!
Best sources of protein:
High-quality meat such as beef, chicken or pork
High-quality dairy (eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk)
Plant-based proteins (tofu, tempeh, grains, beans, legumes, nuts)
Here is a table that showcases some food with their protein in grams
3oz fish (tuna, salmon, haddock, trout)
3oz cooked turkey or chicken
6oz plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup cooked beans
1 cup milk
1/4 cups nuts (all types)
Once you’ve figured out how much protein you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle (it may be more than the recommended amount so it’s important you find out for YOUR body!), how do you add these protein sources into your day? If you think one meal at a time and ensure that you have protein at each meal/snack you’re good to go.
Let’s start with the most important meal of the day – your first meal! Whether you eat at 7 am or fast until 10 am your first meal is important and a piece of toast or a bite of your child's cheerios isn’t going to cut it! You have to ensure there’s protein in your breakfast to not only keep you full but also to balance out your meal. This will literally jumpstart your day. So if you start your day with a donut, chances are you’re going to crave sugar the rest of the day and be quite sluggish! If you start your day healthier with a protein-rich breakfast, you’ll crave those healthier foods during the day and have more energy! Win-win!
Here are some ideas for your first meal of the day!
Packed with 17g of protein this is a quick and easy breakfast! Pair it with some nuts and berries for a satisfying and quick meal. Shoot for plain Greek yogurt and add your own flavors to keep the sugar low and flavor high! Some of our favorite add-ins… peanut butter, nuts, and berries.
Salmon or Meat
Chicken and salmon aren’t just for dinner – you can have it any time of day! We love salmon with some avocado and sautéed greens on sprouted toast!
A great on-the-go option! Use a good quality clean protein powder (we like Naked Whey) and add in some other goodness such as greens, nut butter, berries, avocado, and other frozen veggies like zucchini or cucumber. Here’s a great article on building a better smoothie!
Swap your oats for quinoa
Your morning oatmeal is a great heart-healthy option but swapping it for quinoa adds the benefits of a complete protein! Make it the same as you would your oats except use cooked quinoa instead for a protein-packed nutritious breakfast!
Omelet or Hard-boiled egg
Eggs alongside some avocado or sautéed with veggies are a great way to start the day. You can make a Frittata loaded with veggies ahead of time and take it to work with you. Add some beans for extra protein and fiber!