Protein is a key nutrient as part of overall health and wellbeing as many body functions on a cell level rely on the availability of amino acids. Some of these the body can produce itself, and for others it relies on food. A balanced meal contains sufficient protein providing these essential amino acids. Protein also enhances a meal’s substance (making you feel full), reducing the craving for carbs. By balancing the ratio of protein and carbs, the body is supported in developing the previously discussed metabolic efficiency (being able to burn fat for fuel). So how to start the day with sufficient protein?
Lisa is OmniBlend’s Sales & Marketing manager, and avid runner. In this series she’s sharing what she learned about training for an endurance event, specifically in terms of nutrition.
Starting the day with sufficient protein helps to prevent cravings later in the day. Protein also supports maintaining and building muscle, and other important body functions. All the more important to start the day well with a good breakfast, aiming to incorporate a minimum of 20 grams of protein. Typical breakfast options from the list of good protein sources include:
- 1 egg – 6 grams
- 1 bacon strip – 3 grams
- 100 ml plain yoghurt – 5 grams
- 1 cup cooked oats – 6 grams
A little less obvious for breakfast, although also great sources of protein:
- 1 cup broccoli – 5 grams
- ½ cup green peas - 4.2 grams
- 1 cup soy milk – 7.5 grams
- 1 tablespoon nut butter – 8 grams
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds – 3.3 grams
I found that as part of my training programme it was a lot easier to blend a nutritious and tasty smoothie, than to pile up proteins on a plate. Also, I guess I’m not alone when I say I can’t really stomach the idea of steamed peas and broccoli for breakfast, but in a smoothie they work great! Smoothies make it a lot easier to add variety to breakfast, which goes back to the point that as part of health it’s also important to consider the package in which the protein is served. So using different ingredients helps to add essential vitamins and minerals to your breakfast.
The model that The Performance Kitchen developed works well to blend your own recipes, as it explains step by step how to build the perfect smoothie.
Typical smoothies for me were:
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 frozen banana
- ½ cup frozen green peas
- ¼ cup oats
- 1 tbsp chia
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 200ml yoghurt
- 1 cup frozen mango
- ¾ cup frozen broccoli
- ½ cup frozen cauliflower
- 1 tbsp chia
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tsp honey
Some water for the right consistency (making it either a smoothie bowl, or smoothie)
The nutrients in both smoothies make it a meal, not a snack, with a 2:1 carb/protein ratio, so suited for the heavier training days.
By adding broccoli and cauliflower to the Summer Sweetness smoothie, about 6 grams of protein was added, and the green peas in The Hulk added 4.2 grams. Protein powders make it easier to add more protein, and work great in smoothies as you can pick your flavour to taste. Blend a chocolate, berry or coffee smoothie or pick a more neutral version that goes into any smoothie (find more smoothie recipes here). These are some protein powders that offer different benefits:
Wazoogles Superfood Protein Blend
The Wazoogles range of protein blends is available in different flavours, making it easier to create variety for breakfast. Most importantly the Superfood Protein Blend packs a whole lot more nutrients into a serving than just (plantbased) protein. Magnesium for example, which is important for the functioning of the mitochondria (that play a key role in improving your fat burning metabolism). The blends are free from refined sugars, preservatives, colourants, flavourants or additives and the flavours are built up by natural flavours of nutrient-dense plants. Each serving adds 12 grams of protein, making it a great booster for your breakfast smoothie.
Farmer Angus Hydrolysed Collagen
A specific protein that delivers 8 of the 9 essential amino acids. Collagen is referred to as the protein that improves skin elasticity, and reduces wrinkles. It’s also indicated that it can support reducing joint pain. Both joints and skin (long hours under the South African sun) need support as part of endurance training, and this particular product is 100% clean. Farmer Angus is known for his regenerative farming methods, and stocks this very pure product imported from Brazil. It contains 17kJ per gram, no sugar or carbs, and delivers 92% protein per serving.
This product is specifically designed to blend into your smoothies, and adds 7.9 grams of vegan protein to your breakfast. It’s available in 2 classic flavours, Vanilla & Chia, and Cacao and creates a creamy texture. Containing oats, soy, buckwheat and chia it’s a good source of energy, making it easy for use in a post workout smoothie too. Simply add some spinach, fruit, and nuts. Fry’s has developed a fantastic recipe book to create a different KASHA breakfast every morning.
Play around with the different wholefoods and protein powders that work for you, using the steps as a guide to create a balanced smoothie that powers your day. Smoothies can also be included as part of the meal plans offered by The Performance Kitchen.