It’s important to get each of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs for optimal health and maximum beauty. We know you know this already, but indulge us! What many people don’t realize—even people who are very conscious of what they eat—is that when you eat can be just as important.
For instance, if you take a multivitamin, we recommend that you take half in the morning and half in the evening to help your body process it efficiently. You want to eat a full meal three to four hours before a workout, or a snack about an hour and a half before. Then you want to replenish your body with carbohydrates and protein afterward. And we know that a protein-packed breakfast can help you stay full all the way through lunch.
New research from the University of Texas and the University of Illinois says that to get even more out of your protein, you have to eat it at every meal. Many people wake up in the morning with carb-heavy cereal, throw a dash of protein into their lunch salad and then load up with steak, chicken or tofu or equivalent at dinnertime. The study, published in January 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition, found that to get the most muscle-building possible—which is not just good for body builders, but is important for all of us, whether we’re trying to tone up or prevent age-related muscle loss—it’s crucial to spread out your protein intake over the whole day. That means getting enough protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
There are certain proteins we associate with each of those meals. Eggs for breakfast, a grilled chicken salad for lunch, fish or a black bean burger for dinner. And you probably don’t love the idea of eating the same breakfast every day, or swapping in lentil soup for cereal to increase your protein load in the morning. So we’ve listed a bunch of great not-so-obvious sources of lean, quality protein. Each day you should get 1 gram of protein for every 2 pounds you weigh, with some of it at every meal. We hope this list will help you get there.
Protein-Packed Fruits and Snacks
Sun dried tomatoes
Pumpkin and squash seeds
Almonds and almond butter
Meat (and Tofu) Alternatives