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Why protein is the secret ingredient for a healthier day

written by

Michelle Sroka

posted on

February 28, 2024

Do you ever find yourself (or your kids) still ravenous after a meal? Or perhaps exhausted…and not sure why? 

In the last few years, it seemed that our kids were constantly hungry after breakfast or lunch. I’d put together a full plate of food…only to turn around and find them polishing off the fruit I’d intended to last the rest of the week. I’d heard people joke about kids eating you out of the house, but it seemed like something else was going on, too. 

So I did some research, and I discovered what was going on. Although the kids were eating “healthy” food, they weren’t consuming it properly. It turns out that it’s not just what we eat, but how and when we eat it, that also matters. 

Specifically, having protein-rich meals - and eating protein first - is an essential component to maintaining blood glucose levels. 

Here’s how this all works. Our blood glucose, also known as “blood sugar”, travels through our bloodstream and provides energy for our cells. 

Often, our body uses carbohydrates (such as fruit or vegetables) to get this energy simply and efficiently. However, it also goes through this energy quickly. This means that if you’re only consuming carbohydrates, your body needs fuel again relatively soon. It also means you’re probably having big spikes (and drops) in your blood sugar levels. 

This explained what was happening in our house. When my kids were only snacking on a single banana, or when they were having a breakfast or lunch that focused too much on grains and other carbohydrates, they would become hungry again within an hour or two. 

But when we started shifting our recipes to protein-focused meals - and starting each meal with protein - that began to change. 

Research shows that it’s best to combine carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats together in each meal or snack to help blood glucose levels remain balanced. Moreover, it’s best to consume protein first in this balanced meal. 

Why? Protein digests more slowly in our bodies. It keeps us feeling fuller longer, stabilizes our blood sugar, and provides sustained energy throughout the day. 

That’s why we always start our day with two protein-rich staples: our 100% pasture-raised eggs and our woodland-raised pork sausage. We love to pair them with other foods, too - like smoothies, overnight oats, or pancakes - but we always consume our eggs and meat first.

In fact, we also keep hard boiled eggs on hand so that we have a quick, protein-dense snack anytime - or a good, protein-focused option if we have to rush out the door first thing in the morning. The kids love pairing them with lunch, or having a few mid-afternoon with some fruit.

We’ve noticed a big difference by making this simple switch. The kids stay fuller longer, we avoid overeating, and we’re less likely to fall prey to that 3 o’clock slump. 

How do you prioritize protein in your diet? Do you notice a difference when you pair protein with other foods? We’d love to hear your thoughts.




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