I’ll be celebrating my birthday on Monday. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. Even in my 20’s, I wasn’t in shape like this. I’m lean, strong and have more energy than ever. I owe this to a good diet, watching what I eat and regular exercise: running, biking, weight training and pure barre classes.
I used to never really pay attention to the foods I was eating. I would just eat and stuff my face when I was a kid. Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of a balanced diet: protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables, portion control and when to eat these foods throughout the day.
For example, the timing and type of protein you eat matters more than you may realize. Americans tend to eat most of their protein in the evening – leaving their mornings low in the nutrient most likely to keep them full. Protein at breakfast helps you start your day with energy and focus – plus it can help you stay fuller longer so you’re more likely to stick to a healthy eating routine.
Spreading protein out throughout the day can help optimize how your body uses it, and that means making sure you include enough protein at breakfast. On average, Americans eat about 13 grams of protein at breakfast, yet experts are now recommending getting 25-30 grams of protein at each meal, rather than a large amount.
Eggs in the morning are a staple for me, especially if I am going to a pure barre class that day. I focus on protein and veggies and love making frittatas because they are easy and I can easily throw in some of my favorite veggies.
Pairing an 8-ounce glass of milk, with 8 grams of high-quality protein plus other essential nutrients with your breakfast or mid-morning snack is an easy, delicious way to get closer to that 25 to 30 grams of protein before noon.
For vegetarians: October is National Vegetarian Awareness Month, and while a vegetarian diet can be a healthful and nutritious option, it’s important for vegetarians to select the right foods to make sure they aren’t missing out on key nutrients, like protein and calcium.
Opting for milk and milk products is a great choice without meat in the diet, because not only is milk a good source of high-quality protein, it’s also a top source of calcium and an excellent source of B12, a nutrient that may challenging to get enough of when avoiding meat.
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup mushrooms, chopped
- ½ cup baby spinach, chopped if desired
- 2 tablespoons tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 large egg + 2 egg whites
- ¼ cup fat free milk
- ¼ cup Swiss cheese, freshly grated
- Salt and pepper (optional)
- Finely diced chives for garnish
- Pair each serving with: 8-ounce glass of milk
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in a small oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until softened, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg plus egg whites, ¼ cup milk, cheese and season with salt and pepper (optional) and pour the egg mixture evenly into the skillet, over the vegetables. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let sit, without stirring, until the edges begin to set, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Garnish with finely diced chives. Serve with an 8-ounce glass of milk.
For more information on ways to get the protein you need in the morning, check out MilkLife.com.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with The National Milk Life Campaign. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.