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10 Protein-Rich Breakfast Recipes To Help You Build Lean Muscle Mass Without Eating Meat

10 Protein-Rich Breakfast Recipes To Help You Build Lean Muscle Mass Without Eating Meat

Protein is essential to building muscle mass, boosting energy levels, improving mood function, and the popular macronutrient even plays a part in optimal digestion. Breakfast is one of the best times to eat protein because it energizes and sustains you without leaving you hungry an hour later, and it also helps boost focus and productivity in the morning hours when many of us need it the most.

Protein-rich breakfasts also help fuel your metabolism without causing a negative impact on blood sugar levels if you choose a lean source of protein. So, if you’re a meatless eater or looking to eat a little less meat, skip the bacon and sausage, but don’t fret—there are plenty of incredibly tasty, protein-rich breakfast recipes you can make to help you build lean muscle mass.

Here are 10 healthy options plus a few more tips to maximize the rest of your day too!

1. Customizable Protein-Packed Breakfast Cups

Customizable-Protein-Packed-Oatmeal-Cups-2

    The Healthy Maven

    Not only do these breakfast cups feature protein powder and Greek yogurt, but they also contain oats which are a wonderful way to boost your intake of plant-based protein and fiber. Get the recipe for these protein-packed breakfast cups at The Healthy Maven here.

    2. Spinach Banana Protein Smoothie

    Spinach-Banana-Protein-Smoothie-2-of-2

      Garnish With Lemon

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      Maybe you’re just not into baking for your morning meal. That’s okay! Here’s a quick and easy-to-prepare portable breakfast that’s packed with protein and even some fruits and veggies too! This delightful smoothie recipe by Garnish With Lemon also features a tad bit of heart-healthy fats from almond butter which will help you stay satisfied longer.

      3. Banana Nut Quinoa Bars

      Banana-Nut-Quinoa-Bars-2

        The Wholesome Dish

        Here’s another baking recipe of you that enjoy meal prepping for easy breakfast dishes all week long. These scrumptious-looking Banana Nut Quinoa Bars by The Wholesome Dish are packed with a variety of protein sources including quinoa, oats, eggs, and peanut butter. They’re also low in natural sugars thanks to the use of the almighty banana which can helps boost your energy levels further.

        4. Spinach and Mushroom Egg White Frittata

        Spinach-and-Mushroom-Egg-White-Frittata-foodiecrush.com-003

          Foodie Crush

          Egg whites are a great source of fat-free vegetarian protein, and they’re also a wonderful canvas for any veggies you please! Scramble up some egg whites with veggies, or make this Spinach and Mushroom Frittata recipe created by Foodie Crush for a low-carb, but still filling, option.

          5. 50-Calorie Healthy Egg Muffin Cups

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          Healthy-Egg-Muffin-Cups-Final

            Show Me The Yummy

            Cutting calories definitely leads to weight loss, but instead of just eating a 100-calorie processed option for your breakfast that will leave you hungry and wreck your blood sugar, make these 50-Calorie Healthy Egg Muffin Cups and enjoy two or three for your morning meal. You’ll get more protein thanks to the eggs as well as some heart-healthy fiber and savory flavors from the veggies included in this recipe.

            6. High-Protein Vanilla Chia Pudding

            vanilla-protein-quinoa-chia-pudding-5

              Simply Quinoa

              This vegan breakfast has no sugar, dairy, eggs, or gluten but it does pack tons of plant-based protein as well as heart-healthy fats which are also needed in small quantities throughout the day for building lean muscle mass. Try out this lovely chia pudding recipe created by Simply Quinoa which you can make the night before so it’s ready to go the next morning.

              7. The Ultimate Fall Omelet

              The-Ultimate-Fall-Omlelet

                Kim’s Cravings

                It doesn’t have to be fall for you to take advantage of this high-protein breakfast recipe! The Ultimate Fall Omelet by Kim’s Cravings features protein-rich egg whites along with black beans which are also a good source of protein plus fiber too. This is a winning combination for a filling breakfast and great for your blood sugar levels first thing in the day. Pair this omelet with some salsa, and you’re good to go!

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                8. Overnight Cake Batter Oatmeal

                  Dashing Dish

                  Protein-packed oatmeal is a great way to stay full all morning and ensure you get your fiber first thing in the day too. But who says oatmeal has to be boring? Whip up this lean muscle-building Overnight Cake Batter Protein Oatmeal by the Dashing Dish which may taste like dessert but contains no sugar!

                  9. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

                  IMG_3650a

                    Hummusapien

                    Pumpkin and bananas offer sustaining fiber while the addition of protein powder makes this recipe a total win-win for your morning meal. It’s full of fall flavors but is light and refreshing enough to be enjoyed any time of the year. This plant-based recipe by Hummusapien also features a touch of almond butter for satiating healthy fats!

                    10. Chocolate Protein Acai Smoothie Bowl

                    Chocolate-Protein-Acai-Smoothie-Bowl

                      The Soulful Spoon

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                      Acai is a heart-healthy berry that contains no sugar, but it does include a wonderful blueberry/chocolate flavor, as much protein as an egg, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Boost your protein intake with this lean smoothie bowl recipe, and you’ll not only feel energized and satisfied but also have a great mood the rest of the day thanks to all the nutrients in this bowl!

                      More Tips for Building Lean Muscle Mass:

                      1. Eat every 4-5 hours at the most and don’t go without a meal as much as possible. Here are some quick and healthy lunch ideas if you’re unsure about what to eat and busy during the lunchtime hours.
                      2. Base your lunch and dinner off of a lean protein source containing at least 25-30 grams of protein per serving. Great sources include:
                      • plain non-fat yogurt and low-fat yogurt made without sugar
                      • cage-free eggs or egg whites
                      • legumes like lentils and chickpeas (or beans)
                      • natural peanut butter or almond butter
                      • wild-caught fish
                      • plant-based protein powders
                      • hemp seeds and chia seeds
                      • grass-fed whey protein isolate powders
                      • oatmeal
                      • spinach
                      • quinoa
                      • amaranth

                      Remember to avoid lunch meats and fried meats at all costs. Here are some high-protein meals for under 400 calories each

                      3. Fill your plate up with greens and veggies at each meal. Complement the rest of your dish with a small side of fruit or some complex carbs like wild rice, oats, sweet potato, or quinoa.

                      4. For dessert, reach for 90% or higher cacao content dark chocolate and a piece of fruit instead of candy or cakes.

                      5. Add in 2 tablespoons of ground flax and/or chia seeds to your diet daily to boost your fiber intake as well as plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.

                      You should also take a multivitamin to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs, and some people may benefit from the use of a Vitamin D3 supplement and additional sports supplements if you work out each day. However, always consult someone you trust before adding in lots of supplements into your routine since you may not need more than a couple. You can adequately build lean muscle mass by eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest, and reducing your intake of sugar, fried foods, processed foods, and fatty sources of meat.

                      Finally, let’s not forget about exercise! Check out these 5 Fitness and Nutrition Hacks to Build Muscle Fast for some simple fitness tips to boost muscle growth even more.

                      Featured photo credit: Meal Makeover Moms/Flickr via flic.kr

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                      Published on November 14, 2018

                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                      With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                      For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                      In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                      Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                      Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                      It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                      For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                      Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                      Symptoms of Fatigue

                      Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                      • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                      • mental blocks
                      • lack of motivation
                      • headache
                      • dizziness
                      • muscle weakness
                      • slowed reflexes and responses
                      • impaired decision-making and judgement
                      • moodiness, such as irritability
                      • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                      • reduced immune system function
                      • blurry vision
                      • short-term memory problems
                      • poor concentration
                      • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                      Causes of Fatigue

                      The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                      • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                      • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                      • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                      • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                      Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                      Medical Causes of Fatigue

                      If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                      Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                      Anemia

                      Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                      Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                      There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                      This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                      Diabetes

                      Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                      Sleep Apnea

                      Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                      Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                      Thyroid disease

                      An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                      Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                      • Lack of sleep
                      • Too much sleep 
                      • Alcohol and drugs 
                      • Sleep disturbances 
                      • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                      • Poor diet 

                      Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                      • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                      • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                      • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                      • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                      Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                      Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                      • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                      • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                      • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                      How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                      Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                      1. Tell The Truth

                      Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                      To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                      Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                      The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                      One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                      • How you feel
                      • What time of day it is
                      • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                      • How your mind and body reacts

                      This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                      2. Reduce Your Commitments

                      When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                      If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                      When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                      Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                      3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                      If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                      Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                      If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                      Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                      Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                      4. Express More Gratitude

                      Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                      It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                      Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                      5. Focus On Yourself

                      Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                      There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                      But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                      We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                      6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                      Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                      Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                      The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                      Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                      7. Take a Power Nap

                      When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                      Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                      This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                      8. Take More Exercise

                      The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                      Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                      The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                      You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                      9. Get More Quality Sleep

                      To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                      Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                      My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                      10. Improve Your Diet

                      Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                      Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                      On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                      To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                      Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                      Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                      11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                      Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                      When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                      Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                      My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                      12. Get Hydrated

                      Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                      Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                      If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                      The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                      The Bottom Line

                      These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                      If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                      [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                      [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                      [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                      [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                      [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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