Are you at a loss in the morning when it comes to breakfast ideas? Or do you eat at all? Whether you eat when you wake up or a bit later in the morning, it’s important to get protein at your morning meal. And, yes, it’s also important to have a morning meal to break the fast from the night and refuel with energy from a variety of food groups to face the day. Why do we need protein in the morning? As part of a nutritionally balanced meal (hint: three food groups per meal), eating enough high-quality protein containing foods is important to help you feel fuller longer so you can focus on your tasks of the day. Some examples would be dairy foods like milk, flavored milk, cheese, cottage cheese, traditional yogurt and Greek yogurt as well skinless poultry, fish, lean meat, beans, nuts and seeds. Learn more about foods higher in protein here.
Most people eat their protein at dinner, followed by lunch, with breakfast falling short. Nutrition experts suggest people eat closer to 30 grams of protein at each meal — aiming for a range between 20 and 30 grams. This is especially true for the morning meal, because you’ve gone at least six to eight hours without food for energy.
To make it easy for you, here are six protein pairing possibilities to make your morning meal matchup:
1. Oatmeal made with 1 cup (8 ounces) of milk plus Greek yogurt (6 ounces) with berries. Protein count: 30 grams.
2. Omelet with either two eggs or two egg whites, 1.5 ounces Cheddar cheese and veggies of choice with 8 ounces of milk. Protein count: 30 grams (25 if egg whites).
3. Morning wrap with scrambled eggs (1 egg with ¼ cup milk), 1.5 ounces Cheddar cheese, ¼ cup black beans (or pinto), veggies of choice and salsa or hot sauce if you really want to kick start the day! Put it all in a large whole grain tortilla and wrap it up. Protein count: 26 grams.
4. On the go, no problemo! Grab a latte made with milk (8 ounces). When you have a chance to sit, have a Greek yogurt (6 ounces) with some fruit and about 12 almonds (0.5 ounce). Protein count: 29 grams.
5. Try a breakfast sandwich on a whole grain English muffin with 1 poached egg, Cheddar cheese (1.5 ounces), smoked turkey breast (1 ounce) with sliced tomato and spinach leaves. Protein count: 25 grams.
6. Break it up and have traditional cereal with milk and fruit at home and then at the office have peanut butter (2 Tbsp.) and whole grain crackers with a glass (8ounces) of chocolate milk for a morning snack. Protein count: 25 grams.
Follow the hashtag #MyMorningProtein to share how you get your morning protein or to get ideas from others. Have a family? Check out this resource.