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How to Build a Better Breakfast: Part 3, Protein

Do you feel like everyone is going crazy over protein lately?

It seems like all the food blogs I follow are shouting this message: "YOU AREN'T EATING ENOUGH PROTEIN".

And everyone wants to fix that problem by selling (really expensive) protein powder.

I disagree.

And I never buy protein powder.


I learned in my college nutrition classes that the ideal protein level for most adults is .8 grams per kg of body weight.

I weigh 145 pounds, so my ideal protein intake is 52 grams per day.

To find your own protein needs, multiply your weight (in pounds) by 0.358

Most adults need between 50 and 70 grams per day.

It's really easy to get eat 50 grams protein.

It's especially easy if you eat meat, which has about 20 grams protein per serving.

Check out the protein content of foods I ate yesterday:

breakfast: oats with berries total (22 grams protein):

7 grams = 1/4 cup almonds

8 grams = 1 cup milk

5 grams = 1/2 cup oats

2 grams = 1 cup berries

lunch: green smoothie + tuna on crackers (45 grams protein):

8 grams = 1 cup milk

7 grams = 2 Tablespoons peanut butter

1.5 grams = 1 cup collard greens

1.5 grams = 1 banana

24 grams = 1 can tuna

3 grams = 6 triscuit crackers

snack: raspberry smoothie (17 grams protein):

8 grams = 1/2 cup cottage cheese

8 grams = 1 cup milk

1 gram = 1/2 cup raspberries

1 gram = 1 banana

dinner: soup + salad (28 grams protein):

8 grams = sausage kale soup

6 grams = whole wheat bread

14 grams = 1 cup beans

2 grams = green salad

0.5 grams = 1 apple

My total protein intake for the day = 112 grams protein

(which equates to 1.69 g/kg....double what I need for the day)

See, it's really easy to get enough protein.

It's also really easy for toddlers to get enough protein.

Toddlers (age 1-3) only need 13 grams of protein each day.

Here's an estimated 3 year old's daily intake:

breakfast (10.5 grams protein)

8 grams = 1 cup milk

2.5 grams = 1/2 cup cheerios

snack (9 grams protein)

7 grams = 1 cheese stick

2 grams = handful of crackers

lunch (6 grams protein)

5 grams = 2 chicken nuggets

1 gram = 2 pieces of broccoli

0 grams = apple sauce

snack (6 grams protein)

3 grams = 1 slice toast

3 grams = 1 Tablespoon peanut butter

dinner (5 grams protein)

1.5 grams = 1/2 tortilla

3.5 grams = 1/2 oz cheese

total for the day = 36 grams protein

Remember, a toddler only needs 13 grams protein per day

This is about 3 times what they need in a day.

So if you feel like you aren't getting enough protein, don't worry.

You probably are.

And your toddler is too.

That being said, it's important to eat protein at breakfast.

Eating a good source of protein at breakfast keeps you (and your little people) full longer, so you don't have to worry about feeding people again for at least a few hours.

Eating protein with breakfast also keeps your blood sugars from going up too fast, which can help you feel your best the rest of the day.

While it's good to aim for about 15 grams of protein at each meal (for adults) and 5 grams (for kids age 1-3), I never count protein grams.

In fact, I had to look up how much protein is in the foods I ate yesterday to make this post.

I simply make sure to include at least 1 protein source in every meal + snack I eat, and by the end of the day I know it will add up to enough.

So at breakfast, I usually eat one of the following high protein foods:


nuts (or nut butter)



cottage cheese


Things like bread and oatmeal have a little bit too, but not as much as animal foods and nuts.

Here are a few of my favorite breakfasts and their protein content (which I had to look up).

Eggs in a Mug (18 grams protein, 2 minutes to make)

  • Ingredients: 2 eggs, 1/4 cup cottage cheese

  • Directions: wisk eggs + cheese in a mug. Microwave 1 minute, stir with a fork. Microwave 1 more minute. stir with a fork and eat.

2 Minute Microwave Oats (16 grams protein, 2 minutes to make)

  • Ingredients: 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons peanut butter

  • How: put all in bowl, microwave for 2 minutes, stir and eat

Cottage Cheese Pancakes (20 grams for the entire batch, 6 minutes to make)

  • Ingredients: 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 3/4 cup milk

  • How: wisk all ingrdients in a bowl, cook in a skillet 2.5 minutes each side

Raspberry Smoothie (21 grams protein, 2 minutes to make)

  • Ingredients: 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, 1 frozen banana

  • How: blend all ingredients in a blender

Looking for more healthy breakfast ideas that don't include protein powder?

Check out the breakfast section on my website:

Thanks for reading! I'll be back in 2 weeks with a new nutrition topic!

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