Most of us have no trouble getting protein at lunch and dinner, but breakfast often lacks this important nutrient. Are you getting enough protein to start your day?
In the morning, food is instantly used to feed our body’s cells after fasting all night. Protein in particular, is needed to help build our muscles, and skipping protein at a meal can cause your muscle to breakdown. Other benefits of a high-protein breakfast are: it curbs your appetite, keeps you energized and alert, fuels your activities, and prevents you from over-eating later in the day.
I struggle just to eat breakfast early in the morning, especially on work days. And if I do try to carry an on-the-go breakfast, it’s usually high in carbohydrates, and low in protein.
How much protein do you need?
The minimum amount of protein you should have is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The maximum amount you want to have is around 1.6 g/kg/day if you are regularly weight training.
For example, if your body weight is 60 kilograms, you need 48-96 grams of protein/day (0.8 and 1.6 x 60). You can then divide this amount of protein between meals and snacks and spread it throughout the day.
When is the best time to have protein?
Regular consumption of meals containing at least 20 grams of protein per meal, produce the greatest increase in lean mass and strength. Make sure you get protein at all your meals and/or snacks to increase and maintain your muscle mass.
Why a protein shake?
There are several types of foods high in protein that you can add to your breakfast routine. Eggs, dairy, certain cereals, nuts and seeds are all great additions, just make sure you can add up your protein sources to reach your goal.
A protein shake in the morning is my quick and easy way to get at least 20 grams of protein in a portable form. I mix vanilla whey protein powder with plain almond milk for a high protein, moderate carb/low sugar, lower calorie, tasty drink.
Do you lift weights?
I regularly do weight training, and have a lower ability to grow muscle. Our muscles get used to workouts and can stop growing, which means a greater need for protein supplements to see increases in muscle mass. A recent study found protein supplements had a bigger impact on muscle mass gains in resistance-trained individuals than in those who rarely lift weights.
I try to workout in the morning, and follow it with my protein shake to give me that muscle-building boost. Whenever you decide to time your workout – your potential to build muscle is all day. So try to keep your protein intake consistent all day to maximize your muscle-building potential. Whey protein may also help with recovery from heavy exercise and possibly decrease muscle damage and soreness.
Click on the links underlined to read more on studies of protein quantity, quality and timing recommendations.