Protein is a vital nutrient. It builds and maintains muscle, assists with appetite control, and does so much more to help you thrive. You may have heard that protein makes up the building blocks of your body, and it’s true! You need it for your muscles, tissues, bones, hormones, and enzymes.
When it comes to protein, you’ll probably hear conflicting opinions on how much you need. Some people think Americans get too much protein, while others think Americans don’t get enough. The real answer is that it depends on your goals! Most of us get enough to maintain bodily functions, but you might not be getting enough protein to reach your fitness goals.
Timing is an essential part of optimizing your protein consumption. It’s important to spread your protein intake throughout the day. Traditionally, we eat a predominantly carb-based breakfast (muffin and coffee, anyone?) and lunch. When dinner rolls around, we enjoy something like a 12-ounce steak, baked potato, broccoli, and a glass of milk, packing on a whopping 94 grams of protein! The problem isn’t the total amount of protein—it’s that we aren’t getting enough protein throughout the day to reap all of its benefits.
Compared to other macronutrients, protein requires more energy to break down and takes longer for you to digest. This means that more protein can help to manage your appetite. It also slows carb digestion and absorption, helping to regulate your blood sugar levels. Protein will even give your metabolism a little boost! And of course, it’s a great companion to strength training, as it supports muscle growth and protects against muscle breakdown.
With all that protein does for your body, there’s no question that it should be a part of your morning routine! Starting the day with this nutrient will refuel your muscles after an overnight fast and curb your hunger to keep you from gravitating toward sugar-filled energy.
To help you get enough protein in the morning, your goal is to eat at least 20 grams with breakfast. Take part in the #BoostYourBreakfast challenge by hitting this protein target each day this month. To make this challenge a little easier, we have compiled a list of protein-packed recipes that will start your day off right!
Recipes with 20–30 grams of protein:
- Asparagus Tarragon Frittata
- Balsamic Sunnyside Toast + Greek yogurt
- Breakfast Scramble Salad + milk or milk alternative
- Breakfast Stuffed Cantaloupe
- Breakfast Quesadillas
- Brussels Sprouts Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash + extra egg
- Frozen Breakfast Sandwich
- Green Chili Breakfast Bake
- Green Protein Smoothie + whole-wheat bread
- Monkey Wrap + Greek yogurt
- Omelette Cups + glass of milk
- Protein Breakfast Salad
- Protein Pancakes + peanut butter
- Pulled Pork Breakfast Skillet
- Refrigerator Oatmeal (without protein powder)
- Spinach Breakfast Burritos (2)
- Spinach Sausage Oven Omelette + whole-wheat bread
- Veggie Scramble + slice of whole-grain toast