I wanted to share with you a little experiment I have been performing on myself. I have mentioned in a few recent posts that I have been feeling sluggish on some recent morning runs and workouts – and not specifically during the workouts themselves, but in particular after the workout. I was feeling like this sweaty, miserable mess:
Although I do try to follow a pretty healthy diet, I have been reading some articles recently about the benefits of incorporating more protein into breakfast – especially for us, athletes.
Typically before morning workouts, I grab a half Picky Bar, a few slices of dried fruit (mango, apricots, etc.) depending on what’s on hand. After the workouts, I would come home to my usual morning breakfast consisting of yogurt and fruit cup, and a bowl of whole grain cereal with almond milk. Although the yogurt serving includes a good amount of protein (approx 7g per serving) as well as a little in the cereal, I figured I could try stepping it up a notch.
This article by Livestrong suggests estimating your body’s daily protein requirements by multiplying your body weight in pounds by 0.4.
So… I guess I’m officially posting my weight on the internet:
126 lbs x 0.4 = 50.4g is Katie’s suggested required protein daily
Since I figure I should try to have 1/3 of that (simple math) for breakfast, that’s about 17g. I could probably even beef (pun intended?) that up a bit considering the protein is needed for muscle recovery post-workout... and since I’m always starving in the morning.
I also recently attended the Ladies Night event at Philadelphia Runner, where we were lucky to hear Ali Shapiro (Board-certified holistic health counselor and Regular health contributor to the NBC 10 here in Philly) speak about women’s relationship with food. She focused in particular on women’s relationship with sweets, and how incorporating more protein into breakfast can help reduce sugar cravings later in the morning. This sparked some research on the topic, and I came upon quite a few articles that backed up this theory.
So, I decided to give it a try and see if added protein would improve how I felt recovering from a workout later on during the day.
Over the past two weeks, my breakfasts have looked something like this:
- 1 cup Stonyfield Low-Fat Plain Yogurt (7g protein)
- 1 cup strawberries/mango/blueberries (approx 1g protein)
- Handful (1/4 cup-ish) sliced almonds (5g protein)
- Sprinkle of chia seeds
- 3 Slices of organic sliced turkey breast (11g protein – yay!)
- 2 Slices dried mango (0g protein, wah wah)
Total protein for post-workout breakfast = 24g which is almost ½ of my estimated recommended daily value. Nice. Basically, I ditched the cereal and incorporated the turkey – it was kind of weird at first not having my ritualistic morning cereal, but I noticed I was surprisingly full as soon as I finished the turkey. Since I still love my cereal, I’ve been bringing little baggies of it to work to add some crunch to my lunch salad (we’re still friends).
Two weeks of experimentation later – I feel good! Whether or not my muscles are recovering better than before I suppose is an unknown; however I am injury-free (knocking on wood) and am not noticeably sore – which may also be due to increased amount of stretching post workouts.
However, the biggest difference I have undoubtedly noticed is how much more satisfied I feel for longer throughout the morning. I usually have my new breakfast around 7:00 AM, and begin looking for my daily apple or pear snack around 11:00 - which is an improvement. And by the time lunch rolls around at 1:00-ish, I’m usually not running to the fridge, as I was previously. So, I’m definitely going to try to stick to this routine, but am looking to incorporate different protein-rich food variety into my breakfast.
Of course I recruited Joe into my experiment, as I’ve noticed he always makes delicious post-run breakfasts for himself. I had him snap this photo - this morning, Joe enjoyed:
- 3 eggs (3x6g = 18g protein!! Yowzas)
- 1 cup spinach (1g protein)
- 1 slice Rudi’s Organic 100% Whole Wheat Toast (4g protein)
- 2 tbsp PB&Co. Crunch Time PB (7g protein)
- Handful (1/4 cup-ish) sliced almonds (5g protein)
Total protein in Joe’s breakfast = 36g which means Joe totally wins. (Because everything is a healthy competition with us!)
It seems like eggs really kick butt in the whole protein department. Confession: I’m not very much of an egg-lover. Sure, now and then I like a good egg-white omelet, but I’m not an egg-a-day kinda gal. But here are some other high-protein foods that can easily be incorporated into breakfast:
- Eggs (6g protein each)
- Rolled Oats (7g per ½ cup dry)
- Quinoa (7g per 1/4 cup)
- Low-Fat Yogurt (7g per cup)
- Peanut Butter (7g per 2 tbsp)
- Crab Meat (10g per 2oz serving)
- Edamame (11g per ½ cup)
- Lean Meats (like turkey deli meat) (11g per 3 slices)
- Low-Fat Cottage Cheese (14g per 4oz serving)
- Whey Protein (Tera’s Whey) (20g per scoop) – Gotta get some more of this!
NaturaStride also offers a bunch of natual protein-rich products including:
- Picky Bars (7g per bar)
- Tera's Whey Protein (20g per scoop)
- Rokit Fuel Cereal Cups (9g per cereal cup)
- Rokit Fuel Energy Mix (7g per packet)
- SuperFood Slam ProBars (11g per bar)
Some other high-protein breakfast ideas from some favorite bloggers that I need to try:
The Healthy Everythingtarian’s Apple Cinnamon Quinoa
Runner’s Kitchen’s Power Frittata
Peanut Butter Finger’s Chocolate Protein Pancakes
A Healthy Slice of Life’s Greek Style Egg Wrap
The Break Up Note’s Healthy Breakfast Hash
Do you have any other high-protein breakfast suggestions? Do you have a morning breakfast or post-workout ritual meal?