In Mid-April, I began the #ProteinChallenge, a 30 Day guided challenge that aims to help you get a balanced amount of protein at each meal. Some of the more remarkable benefits of eating protein throughout the day include feeling satisfied after a protein-packed meal, which helps reduce mindless eating. Also, meals with protein helps to build muscle and reduce body fat. You can read more about the challenge and our participation in this #ProteinPartner collaboration from my RD partner, Melissa Joy Dobbins here: Join Us on the 30 Day Protein Challenge
Monday April 13 – Sunday April 19
This Week I Learned… It doesn’t matter how many times I start and stop food journaling/tracking, whenever I go back to it I always learn SOMETHING. This time around there were a few things I noticed on day 6 of the challenge when reflecting on the first 5 days of journaling.
Off the bat I was surprised at how most of my breakfasts were really close to my goal of 23-30 grams of protein without trying. I found that most of my morning meals hit at about 18-25.
Reflection on my journaling experience also helped me realize that I had fallen into the eating for the sake of eating habit. Where did my intuitive eating awareness go? I’m thankful for this wake up call pointing me back in the right direction of paying attention to the reasons I am eating what, and how much, of what I’m eating.
I was also reminded of my natural habit of healthy choice making becoming easier and more frequent whenever I’m focusing on any one specific area of my diet [upping my greens, leveling sodium, or in this case, counting my protein intake.] It also helps that I’m in a healthy choice making challenge with some good friends and giving myself POOOOOOOOOOOINTS! every day for certain healthy decisions I make while also trying to log #100MilesbySummer along with many of friends who love TIU so much that they’ve convinced me to
play run along.
Favorite Meal of the Week: I’m going with breakfast as a whole. I recently spent one day of a 3-day weekend doing food prep, specifically filling the freezer with microwavable breakfasts. I was pleasantly surprised when I first started adding the breakfasts I made into my food journal and saw that I wasn’t far off from my protein goal for the meal.
I made four different freezer breakfasts and I’m loving them all:
Omelet and Potato Breakfast Bites from Ella Claire Inspired
18-23 grams of protein, 320-390 calories for 2 bites, depending on mix-in combos
I used the base of this recipe and cleaned out the freezer [shredded hash browns and sweet potato tots,] the crisper drawer [broccoli, peppers, and spinach,] and the deli drawer/leftover spot [shredded cheese, feta, leftover sausage and shredded beef] to create a bunch of different muffin tin combos. I love how you can totally go wild with the mix ins here to bring variety in.
Baked Breakfast Taquitos for the Freezer from Healthy Delicious
10 grams of protein, 230 calories for 2 taquitos // served with 6oz Greek yogurt = 24 grams of protein, 380 calories
Unique and absolutely delicious, I’ve been eating these at times outside of breakfast, too. It’s really nice to not have every breakfast be the exact same as the day before and these flavors help mix up the week for sure. SO GOOD.
Loaded Breakfast Biscuits from Richly Rooted
12 grams of protein, 320 calories for 1/8th of recipe // served with 5.3 oz non-fat Greek yogurt = 22 grams of protein, 420 calories
These would be easily customizable, but I stuck with the recipe and am loving eating a couple of these smeared with fruit preserves or dipped in barbecue sauce [because, honestly, I dip EVERYTHING in barbecue sauce.]
Deli Meat Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches – see my recipe below!
23 – 26 grams of protein, 304-310 calories each sandwich
These are so easy and would be a great way to use leftover roast or ham in the future, too. Our local market has great deli counter sales every week so I’ll likely rotate the kind of meats I use based on the sales paper for sure.
Snacking Notes: Thanks to a freebie from the Blue Diamond Tastemakers Program, I have fallen obsessed with these Honey Dijon BOLD almonds. BOLD is right, they are super flavorful and 1 ounce of almonds [about 28 almonds] brings in 6 grams of protein. I can see myself reaching for some almonds to add on to my lunches or breakfasts when they fall a little short of my goal 25 – 30 grams.
Other between meal snacks include pieces of fruit [I’ve been big on oranges and pears lately!] and crackers with sliced cheese [I’m digging this Farmhouse Reserve and White Oak cheddar blocks from Cabot.] Overall though I’ve noticed I’m not reaching for snacks as often because I’m paying closer attention to what I’m eating and how hungry I am when I’m reaching for food.
#ProteinChallenge Reflections: One of my favorite things about this challenge is that it is realistic for a busy lifestyle. You don’t jump in on day one and expect to devote 100% of your priority and focus to a new way of living. The focus is really on making a lifestyle change by shifting the protein you are eating over the course of the challenge. Take a look at the 30-Day #ProteinChallenge calendar to see what I mean. You’ll see lots of days of “eating as you normally would” or “rest days” which help from challenge-burnout and creating effective, lasting change.
And now – BREAKFAST!
DIY Frozen On-the-Go Breakfast Sandwiches
View full nutritional breakdown of DIY Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches calories by ingredient
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Beef Expert Bureau. Though this post is NOT directly sponsored by The Beef Checkoff, my participation in the Protein Challenge does full under my Bureau membership activities, which is a paid position.