All of us should be worried about our muscles, even if you are not lifting weights or training for some sort of athletic event. As we age, the amount of muscle in our body naturally declines, and this begins as early as our thirties and forties. Loss of muscle is associated with increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and death.
I have been learning quite a bit about protein intakes and maintaining muscle lately, especially protein in breakfast. More and more research indicates that eating the recommended amount of protein in a day may not be good enough. The timing of protein intake seems to be important. We should be eating equally balanced meals of protein throughout the day if we want to maintain our muscles.
For most of us, breakfast is a carb fest with a little protein thrown in on the side. Cereal, pancakes, toast, bagels, etc all are breakfast staples, but none provide much protein. Even the meat most people eat at breakfast – sausage or bacon – is mostly fat.
Here are some tips to boost your protein intake in the morning:
– Try oatmeal rather than cold cereal. One cup of cooked oatmeal made with milk provides 13 g of protein compared with 7 g from 1 cup of Cheerios with half a cup of milk.
– Eggs are a great source of protein. While many are concerned about the cholesterol, most people can enjoy an egg a day without negatively effecting heart health. Hard-boiled eggs are great for a breakfast on the go. You can easily prepare several in advance for the week ahead. One hard-boiled egg on a slice of whole-wheat toast provides 9 g of protein. Add one ounce of cheese and you are up to 16 g protein.
– Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, can provide a protein punch at breakfast. One container of Greek yogurt (5 ounces) with half a cup of granola can provide up to 26 g of protein, depending on the brand of yogurt.
– Try a non-traditional breakfast. A turkey sandwich is a quick, easy breakfast that can provide a nice protein boost for your day.
So eat a breakfast your muscles can appreciate, and you’ll feel better today and in the long run.
Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!