By Ruby Farr
Protein is an important macronutrient whether your goal is weight loss or gain, body recomposition or overall health and wellbeing. This is because protein assists in muscle recovery, growth, and satiety – protein keeps us fuller for longer as it takes the body longer to break down. Protein is made up of amino acids, the structural units which make up proteins, and are the building blocks of most of the mechanisms in our body. The body is constantly using protein and therefore amino acids for many bodily functions, like muscle recovery. This means our protein store needs to be replenished as the body does not store lots of excess protein or amino acids.
Therefore, adequate protein consumption is important to not only assist in reaching your health and fitness goals, but also to help maintain pretty much all basic bodily functions!
Precision Nutrition suggests for the average person to include a palm sized portion of lean protein with every meal and if you are a more active individual to do the same and prioritize additional palms of protein around your exercise (pre and post workout) to maximise muscle recovery. This is a general rule of thumb for protein intake so it may be that you need more or less depending on your goals, size, duration, and intensity of your activity. But this is a good place to start if you are unsure!
A high protein meal helps keep you fuller for longer between meals due to a rise in fullness hormones and a drop in the hunger hormone ghrelin – stimulated by protein consumption. A study by Rains et al., (2015) found that a breakfast containing 30-40g of protein (1-2 palms) reduced food cravings between meals, helping management of subsequent intake at lunch and throughout the rest of the day. Sources of protein also contain important micronutrients such as vitamin b-12, iron, folate, zinc and the essential amino acids, like leucine which is important for protein synthesis. Therefore consuming protein is also important to ensure our body is receiving the other essential micronutrients we need.
So, now you know why protein is important, what type to have with meals and a rough guide of how much to have, you are probably thinking how am I going to include lean proteins with every meal or even any protein with breakfast? Do not worry, we have got you covered so you do not have to be grilling steaks or chicken breasts first thing in the morning (not that there's anything wrong with this if that works for you!). Scroll down to check out our top 4 protein breakfast recipes made in 20 minutes or less to give you some inspiration to help you get on top of that protein intake first thing in the morning. These are some great recipes which you can also prepare extra portions for later in the week too.
Recipe 1: Overnight oats
1. 50-75g porridge oats
2. 1.5 scoops whey protein
3. 100g 0% fat yoghurt
4. Toppings of your choice e.g. frozen berries, banana, chia seeds, honey
1. Combine all your dry ingredients.
2. Add a small amount of water to your dry ingredients and mix. You can always add more water, you want the mixture to soak up the liquid and be thick so add more if necessary.
3. Mix in the yoghurt until all combined.
4. Top with your choice of toppings and refrigerate overnight!
Recipe 2: Baked protein oats
1. 40-50g oats
2. 40g whey protein
3. 65g 0% fat yoghurt
4. Approx. 1 tsp baking powder
5. 150ml almond milk (or other)
6. Choice of toppings e.g berries, banana, dark chocolate, seeds, nuts, honey, peanut butter
1. Preheat your oven to 180-200 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients except your toppings into a blender and mix. Alternatively, mix in a bowl if you don’t have a blender.
3. Lightly grease a non-stick baking dish and add your mix.
4. Top your mix with your choice of toppings.
5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The top should be slightly cooked off but partially soft – put back in the oven for an extra 3 minutes if too runny.
Recipe 3: Scrambled egg and chicken sausage breakfast wrap
1. 1 egg
2. 80ml liquid egg white (add an extra egg if no egg whites)
3. 2 chicken sausages
4. 1 wholemeal wrap
5. 2 fists of spinach
6. 60g cottage cheese
1. Cook off your sausages in a pan until browned and remove.
2. Meanwhile, whisk your eggs with a dash of milk, add the cottage cheese, season the egg mix with black pepper and chilli flakes (optional). Add your fists of spinach into the egg mix.
3. Scramble your eggs in the pan on a low heat.
4. Once cooked, add your eggs and sausages to the wrap. Fold and enjoy!
Recipe 4: Super shake
1. 110ml almond milk (or other)
2. 1 banana
3. 40g oats
4. 55g of strawberries
5. 1-2 fists of spinach (or any greens)
6. 10-15g peanut butter
7. 40g of whey protein
1. Add your milk and water to a blender.
2. Put the dry ingredients in next and blend altogether.
3. Add more water depending on how you like your consistency.
Sources / references:
Equilibrium Studios is a boutique personal training studio offering 1-1 personal training, small group training, nutrition coaching and online training in Petersfield and the surrounding areas Liphook, Liss, Rogate, Midhurst, Hampshire UK.