BIG Nutrition: Staying on Top of Protein


BIG Nutrition: Staying on Top of Protein

So, you are trying to ensure that you are getting enough protein in your diet. Does it matter if you eat it all in one sitting or is it better to distribute it throughout the day?

For athletes, research supports distributing your protein intake consistently throughout the day. Making sure no more than 4 hours passes without more protein is better for muscle repair and building than sitting down to a big protein load at one meal.

What might this look like for a 180 lb. (81kg) male who is trying to eat the recommended amount of approximately 120 grams of protein (1.5 gm/kg body weight) per day?

7:30 am Breakfast (20 g protein)

2 eggs scrambled with 1 cup sautéed vegetables

1 banana

½ cup oatmeal

11:30 am Lunch (42 g protein)

2 cups veggies in a whole grain wrap with 4 oz. chicken

1 cup berries

1 cup milk

3:30 pm Snack (15 g protein)

5-6 oz. Greek yogurt

1 apple

5:30 pm WOD

7 pm Supper (38 g protein)

4 oz. flank steak

1 sweet potato

1 cup cooked veggies

9 pm Snack (20 gm protein)

6 oz. Greek yogurt

1 oz. nuts

Total protein for the day = ~140 gm

This plan does several things:

  • Distributes the protein throughout the day making sure that no more than four hours passes without fuel.
  • Includes high leucine, a branch-chain amino acid, foods (milk and yogurt). Leucine is thought to play an important role in muscle synthesis.
  • Provides a high protein casein based snack before bed which might also help further promote protein synthesis overnight.
  • Offers carbs for repleting muscle glycogen.

Happy and healthful eating,

Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN

Want to develop a more consistent protein intake strategy? Contact me at [email protected].