30 Grams of Protein Within 30 Minutes of Waking Up

I know I've been kind of hard on Tim Ferriss in the past here at Casual Kitchen, but there's one idea that I got from him that changed my mornings forever:

Eat 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up.

It's a great dietary rule of thumb because it's simple, flexible, and easy to remember. And this easy-to-employ diet hack drives three significant benefits:

1) You'll have a steady blood sugar level for hours after eating, which helps keep you in a calm, focused mental state. This is the ideal state for creative or knowledge work, and it's helped my writing immensely.

2) 30 grams of protein will give you complete satiety for up to 3-4 hours. You won't feel hungry and you won't need to eat.

3) Finally, this is an extremely flexible rule. The world won't come to an end if you eat 24 grams of protein one hour after waking up. You'll still capture all the benefits.

Contrast this with a more typical breakfast of fruit, or worse, starchy, sugary branded boxed cereal. These foods merely put you on a hunger roller coaster, leaving you craving still more carb-rich food within an hour or two of eating. Result? You eat twice as many calories and twice as often, yet you still feel hungry. Pointless.

What kinds of foods can you eat to achieve 30 grams of protein? Here are some ideas:

A dollop or two of peanut butter (7 level Tablespoons yields about 30g protein)
2-3 fried or boiled eggs (about 6-8g protein per egg, depending on size)
3-4 handfuls of nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, etc.)
A few pieces of good quality breakfast sausage
1 can of tuna (about 40g protein)
A whey- or soy-based protein shake (a typical serving size contains 30g protein)
Canadian-style bacon or ham (5-6 oz yields about 30g protein)
Cottage cheese (½ cup yields about 15g protein)
Hard cheeses (yield: roughly 10g protein per ounce)
Unsweetened yogurt (roughly 10g protein per cup)

Obviously you can mix, match and combine any of the above. Best of all, none of these food items costs very much money--in stark contrast to branded boxed cereal, which is far more expensive, far less healthy and far less filling.

This protein-based meal technique is easy to remember and it easily solves the "what do I want for breakfast?" problem. Try it, and let me know what your results are!

Related Posts:
Eat Less, Exercise More Doesn't Work. Wait, What?
How Do I Follow the Wheat Belly Diet?
Why Box Wine Is Better
How to Blind-Taste and Blind-Test Brands

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Gordon said...

Interesting...I wonder how the calorie counts fit it. 7 TBSP of peanut butter is over 650 calories, whereas a typical can of tuna in water is about 150 calories. [And the can of tuna will have MORE protein than the 7 TBSP of peanut butter.

Daniel said...

That's a great point Gordon. I'd guess that it's the incremental fat content in the PB that's the key driver of the extra calories. If you're calorie-counting, the tuna sure looks like the better choice. :)


Mike said...

2 XL eggs + a metamucil smooth to handle the Cholesterol is my favorite.