Our Morning Protein: a “new” New Year’s Resolution!
Let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions. They’ve gotten a bad rap and that’s too bad because we should never pass up a chance to improve ourselves. There is so much to be gained! Instead of focusing on failures, we should set realistic goals and celebrate small victories. This year, I‘ve embraced a daily yoga routine and also set up a strict screen-time schedule for my kids with “screen-time dollar” incentives that they can earn by doing chores and practicing random acts of kindness. It’s only February but I’m really happy with how both of these resolutions have changed our lives for the better so far. I’m feeling stronger we’re having more sit-down meals together, chores are getting done in a timely manner, everyone is more active and involved in daily activities together and we all feel better.
To build on January’s success, this month I’m focused on getting the family starting the day off with more energy and focus and I’ve partnered with The National Milk Life Campaign to talk about it. That means we’re eating a more nutritious breakfast, making sure we get enough protein in our diets throughout the day. Many experts now recommend 25-30 grams of protein intake before noon.
Normally, this would be challenging in my house where the breakfast favorites have often been just frozen waffles and pancakes. But I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to pack in the protein is by incorporating organic milk into our breakfast and/or mid-morning snack. My kids love milk and they’ll drink a glass with their breakfast without a problem. On weekends, they will even join me for a steamed mug of organic milk when I’m having my own mid-morning latte (my personal favorite way to get protein into my diet). When we add a protein-enhanced muffin as a mid-morning snack, we hit our 25 gram protein intake goal for the morning easily.
For some, getting protein in for breakfast is tricky, and a mid-morning snack is a great way make sure you’re keeping protein consumption (and thus energy) consistent throughout the day. I wish we were the type to enjoy meat dishes or “dinner for breakfast” (chicken or fish!) but the reality is we don’t naturally gravitate towards meat- or fish- based proteins in the morning. So in order to achieve our new goal, I count grams. Instead of counting calories these days, I’m counting grams of protein. Who knew!?!
Focusing on nutritious food has allowed us to make better choices without feeling like we’re being punished. We’re not setting ourselves up for failure. We ARE however way more active and getting so much stronger mentally and physically.
If you’re like me and just starting to think about the math of “packing in the protein” before noon, this chart might help a little:
It’s actually not that hard to do when adding a mid-morning snack— yogurt, a handful of nuts, a glass of organic milk (or a latte!)— to our diet. The protein intake from our snack combined with that of our breakfast adds up to around 25 to 30 grams and sets us up for the day. No more skipping breakfast, huge binge lunches or filling up too much at dinner. It’s just a simple shift of focus that makes a huge difference in the quality of our life… one filled with more sustained energy throughout the morning.
I’m definitely taking the glass is half-full (of organic milk!) approach to my resolutions. How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? Maybe this protein push will help you with yours too!