Research suggests that balancing protein intake evenly throughout the day – rather than eating protein primarily at dinner, like many people do — may be a key to a healthier diet.
In one new study, healthy adults who ate a moderate amount of protein at each meal—about 30 grams—made about 25% more muscle tissue than when they ate most of their protein at dinner.¹ In another study, adults stayed satisfied longer when they ate more protein at breakfast, compared to when they ate less protein at breakfast.2
So how can you help your shoppers better balance protein intake?
Here are some tips from Tyson Foods:
- Bump up protein at breakfast. A breakfast of buttered white toast and juice may be fast, but only offers about 2 grams of protein. Pair it with a serving of chicken sausage patties (10 grams protein) or turkey sausage links (12 grams), or a couple of scrambled eggs (12 grams). Or, swap it for a turkey sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich (15 grams). Enjoy with fresh fruit.
- Pack protein at lunch. Sandwiches made with lean turkey, chicken or ham fit the bill. Pair with a cup of low-fat yogurt or milk for additional protein.
- Enjoy a satisfying protein snack. A few ideas: a slice of lean ham wrapped around a cheese stick, a hard-cooked egg, or peanut butter on whole-grain crackers.
- Fine-tune your protein portion at dinner. Once you boost protein intake earlier in the day, you can be more mindful about your dinner portion. A serving of lean meat is about the size of a deck of cards and supplies about 25 grams of protein. Surround it with lots of vegetables and a whole-grain side like brown rice, quinoa or a whole-wheat roll.
- And perhaps most important, know where the protein is, and which foods contain it. General rule of thumb: foods from animal sources such as poultry, meat, seafood, milk and eggs are top choices for protein. Be aware of the times during the day that you make these food choices!
1Mamerow MM, Mettler JA, English KL, et al. Dietary protein distribution positively influences 24-h muscle protein synthesis in healthy adults. J Nutr. 2014;144:876-880.
2Belza A, Ritz C, Sørensen MQ, et al. Contribution of gastroenteropancreatic appetite hormones to protein-induced satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97:980-989.