Nourish with NorthBay Dietitians

Nourish is a blog written each week by NorthBay Healthcare dietitians. It focuses on health and nutrition with educational information, tips and advice as well as an occasional recipe.

Move Your Protein to Earlier in the Day for Better Results

May 22, 2019
 

These days protein intake is all over the place. Some people are getting very little protein compared to their bodies’ needs. Some people are focusing on protein so much they are overdoing it and missing out on other nutrients. (There is such a thing as too much of a good thing!)

Where are you on this continuum? Toward one end or somewhere in between? If you are already including protein at breakfast and lunch then you are doing well!

While we often get too much protein at dinner, our intake of protein at breakfast and lunch is lacking. We are expecting our bodies to do all of the necessary functions throughout the early part of the day without the building blocks needed, and then in the evening we take in too much protein when the body doesn’t necessarily use it.

Getting back in balance and spreading protein out throughout the day can make a big difference in many ways:

  • Better energy level
  • Feeling of fullness or satisfaction with meals
  • Decreased food cravings, especially in the evening
  • More even mood
  • Improvements in weight management
  • Prevention of chronic diseases
  • Maintenance of muscle mass, muscle gain with exercise
  • Bone health

To get these benefits, we need to add more protein to breakfast A two-egg omlet with vegetables and fruit.and lunch, and decrease the amount at dinner. For example, if someone needed 60-90g protein per day, it would be helpful to have 20-30g at breakfast, 20-30g at lunch and 20-30g at dinner.

Breakfast: 2 egg omelet with vegetables (14g protein), 8 oz. milk (8g), 2 slices oat/nut bread (4g). Total = 26g protein

Lunch: 2 chicken breast tacos with 4 oz. chicken (22g), 1 oz. cheese (7g), 2 corn tortillas (2g), romaine salad. Total = 31g protein

Dinner: 3 oz. salmon (16g), 2 cups broccoli (8g), 1 cup brown rice (5g) = 29g protein

Differences in grams of protein.

Add in your favorite fruits (at meals or snacks) and vegetables to round out these ideas. Your protein choices can come from animal foods including fish, eggs, poultry and lean meats, or from plant sources such as beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Dairy foods such as Greek yogurt can add protein at meals or as snacks.

Spreading protein throughout the day can provide benefits to our bodies and improve our well-being.

References:

A high-protein breakfast prevents body fat gain, through reductions in daily intake and hunger, in "Breakfast skipping" adolescents. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Sep;23(9):1761-4. doi: 10.1002/oby.21185. Epub 2015 Aug 4.
The Effects of Breakfast Consumption and Composition on Metabolic Wellness with a Focus on Carbohydrate Metabolism.   Adv Nutr. 2016 May 16;7(3):613S-21S. doi: 10.3945/an.115.010314. Print 2016 May.
High-protein breakfast promotes weight loss by suppressing subsequent food intake and regulating appetite hormones in obese Chinese adolescents.  Horm Res Paediatr. 2015;83(1):19-25. doi: 10.1159/000362168. Epub 2014 Jun 11.

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