Health experts have been saying for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but we're learning that
when it comes to getting the most out of breakfast, what you eat is just as important as simply eating.
Research has shown that a balanced breakfast that includes protein provides energy that can help keep you going and be your best on a big day.1 But, even though experts recommend eating protein throughout the day, most people consume the majority of their protein at dinner and could benefit from consuming more protein at breakfast.2
Typically, people reach for carbohydrates that are high in calories and loaded with sugar, like toaster pastries or sweetened cereal, for breakfast because they're quick and easy during the morning rush. But they may not realize that adding protein can be quick and easy, too. For example, check out D-lights. Ready in only a few minutes and with less than 300 calories, they can help bring balance and taste to breakfast. And starting your day with a balanced breakfast that includes protein can help you stay satisfied and focused in the morning.
Recent research suggests it is important to spread out the protein you eat throughout the day, but Americans eat the majority of protein at lunch and dinner.2 In fact, one study shows that in the
U.S. the majority of protein is consumed after 6:30 p.m. and only about 11 percent is consumed at breakfast.**3
Protein is an essential nutrient that helps keep your body going.4 The current recommendation for protein is set at a minimum level to prevent deficiency. But research shows consuming protein beyond the minimum requirement may have added benefits for optimal health, including muscle maintenance, weight management, disease prevention such as sarcopenia (muscle loss due to aging), type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease 26. While protein can be found in many foods, the Meat Group is one of the best sources of high quality protein, yet research has shown that many Americans aren't meeting the 2005 USDA MyPyramid Meat Group recommendations.5 In fact, a recent study reported that 63 percent of women and 38 percent of men over 20 years old don’t consume the minimum recommended number of ounces of meat or meat alternatives.6
Protein is an important part of a balanced meal. In fact, another study showed that 30 grams of protein7 at each meal may help you burn more calories, feel full longer, help build lean muscle and keep blood sugar levels from surging2 (which can help prevent the dreaded mid-morning energy "crash"). But how can you get 30 grams of protein in one meal? It may be easier than you think. A breakfast sandwich made with one egg, one ounce turkey sausage and one slice low-fat cheese on a whole-grain muffin paired with a cup of low-fat milk gets your day started with 34 grams of protein.