You can definitely eat enough protein when you’re eating one meal a day. This is true no matter your health and fitness goals. There are 5 things you can do to help yourself. They are: eat your protein first, drink a protein shake, eat low fat proteins, have your meal last 2-4 hours, and make protein a priority.
I will explain how to do each below. I’ll also show you how much you need to eat based on your goals, the best high protein foods, and much more.
I’ve eaten OMAD for years and needed to learn this information the hard way. After hours of research as well as lots of trial and error I’m making it easy for you to learn in the 10 minutes it takes to read this article.
Disclaimer: while intermittent fasting and eating OMAD is shown to be safe for most of us, you should always check with your doctor before starting this or any other diet plan.
How To Get Enough Protein On OMAD
Here are 4 things you can do to make sure you’re able to meet your daily protein needs when you’re eating once a day.
I’ve used these tips on a daily basis for the last 5 years or so that I’ve eaten one time a day. Sometimes I use one of them, other times I need them all to make sure eat enough protein.
- Eat the protein on your plate first
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever come across when it comes to eating enough protein is to eat it at the beginning of your meal.
This way you don’t fill up on fat and carbohydrate rich foods, or even higher fiber low carb vegetables. When you do this you’re likely to be too full to eat your steak.
I do this almost every day along with the next tip and am able to eat around 180 grams of protein no problem.
Eating this way has the added benefit of filling you up faster to keep you from overeating so you can more easily lose excess body fat and keep it off.
- Drink a protein shake
If you just can’t eat enough protein without feeling like you’re going to burst, this tip is for you. Having a shake with or after your done eating makes it super simple to get in the rest of the protein your body requires.
Most high quality shakes have around 25 grams of protein per scoop. So, adding 2-3 scoops to each shake makes getting as much as an additional
75 grams simple. Plus you won’t feel so full you’re about to burst or that you have to choke down another bite of meat.
I’ve learned a lot of other people, especially guys and girls who want to build muscle and/or lose fat use do this too.
Check out what personal trainer Alex from the foreveralpha blog has to say about this tip. He’s used OMAD to stay lean year round and help his clients do the same.
“If you’re still struggling to get 0.8g protein per pound of bodyweight (which is completely understandable), then my suggestion would be to have a protein shake as ‘dessert’, shortly after your OMAD meal.”
- Eat leaner cuts of meat.
While I’m personally not a big fan of chicken breasts or flank steak – they’re too lean for my taste – the fact they’re lower in fat makes it easier to eat more without getting full.
You’ll also eat fewer calories this way to help with weight loss if that’s your goal.
Some low fat sources of protein are
- Egg whites
- Chicken breast
- Cod, flounder, and halibut
- Flank steak
- Pork tenderloin
- Open up your eating window
The last tip is to allow yourself a little more time to eat the amount of protein your body needs. I’m not talking about a lot of time. At most 4 hours. I find 2 is enough.
Both are still really close to eating one meal a day and won’t eliminate the benefits of this way of eating.
I most often do this when I’m super full and just can’t eat another bite of food. I’ll wait maybe 2 hours and drink a shake. I’ll have met my daily protein needs and won’t be so bloated that I’m about to burst.
- Prioritize protein.
I originally had 4 tips for you. Then I got this tip from Dio, aka the OMAD Queen and realized I had to add it to the list.
“No, I tackle this by making sure that I have quarter of my plate filled with protein. I also have a bowl of Greek yogurt as part of my OMAD almost daily. This a great source of protein and a healthy dessert that keeps full during my next 23 hours of fasting.”
I recommend following her on Instagram for lots of OMAD related information and inspiration.
How Much Protein Do You Need On OMAD?
Your body needs the same amount of protein no matter how many meals you’re eating each day. The exact amount depends on several things like: how active you are, whether you want to lose weight and/or build muscle, and your overall health.
Here are basic protein requirements based on the latest science based on your needs and goals.
- If you’re not very active, your body requires about .4 grams times your body weight in pounds. So if you weigh 140 pounds you’ll need to eat 56 grams of protein a day.
- If you want to lose weight. Studies show eating more protein than the RDA minimum of .4 grams per pound can really help you lose fat faster, and keep it off. Here you want to eat around .8 grams per pound of your goal body weight. So, if your goal is to weigh 150 pounds you’ll need to eat 120 grams a day.
- When building muscle is your goal. You’ll again need to eat more protein. Start with .8 grams per pound of whatever you weigh. You can increased it to 1-1.5 grams/pound if necessary. Studies show eating this much protein is safe and helpful for adding lean mass without packing on extra fat.
Is It Okay To Eat All Your Protein At One Meal?
Yes, it sure is. Studies show that when people eat the majority of their protein in one meal that their body actually goes in muscle building mode better than if you spread it out over several meals.
The idea that our bodies can only digest and use no more than 50 grams of protein per meal is just not true. I’ve actually heard was actually started by a sports supplement company back in the day. I’m not sure if this is true but i wouldn’t be suprised if it is.
You know why? They wanted you to buy more of their protein powders to drink between meals.
Another fear about eating all of your protein in one meal is that your body will have to resort to breaking down muscle to meet its energy needs and that their won’t be enough amino acids from the protein you eat to do the job instead (re-word).
Remember that when you fast your body increases the release growth hormone and uses fat for your energy needs. These and other factors spare your body from breaking down muscle for energy.
Here’s what health and fitness expert Mark Sisson has to say about this “In reality, you will absorb all the protein you eat, even if it’s a ton in a single sitting. The real trick is making sure you eat enough—that can be hard.”
The Best Types Of Protein To Eat On OMAD
You should strive to always eat the highest quality protein. What do I mean by highest quality? Well, simply put, I’m talking about food that your body can digest and put to use and not just get rid of as waste.
The current gold standard way of determining the quality or usability of protein is based on something called the DIAAS score. It stands for Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score.
Simply put, this is the amount of amino acids – which is what proteins are made of – that your body is able to absorb and use for building muscle, energy, etc. Unlike other measures it’s based on human research, not rats or other methods that aren’t as accurate.
Here are several protein rich foods and their DIAAS number. The higher the number, the better the protein.
You’ll see that when it comes to whole foods, animal based sources of protein are way better than plants.
Same goes for protein powders although plant based shakes are a little better than their whole food counterparts.
Animal Based Proteins
- Whole Milk – 132
- Pork – 117
- Beef – 110
- Chicken Breast – 108
- Skim Milk – 105
- Eggs – 101
Plant Based Proteins
- Chickpeas – 66
- Peas – 64
- Barley – 58
- Tofu – 52
- Kidney Beans – 51
- Peanut Butter – 46
- Roasted Peanuts – 43
- Wheat – 40
- Almonds – 40
- Rice Isolate – 37
- Whey Protein Isolate – 125
- Whey Protein Concentrate – 110
- Soy Isolate – 90-100 (depends on the brand)
- Pea Isolate – 82-95 (depends on the brand)
- Oat Protein Concentrate – 67
What Does This Mean If I’m Vegan Or Vegetarian?
It means that you’ll probably have to eat a little more protein and be more selective with regard to what you eat.
From the looks of the DIAAS data above, your best best bet to make sure you get your daily requirements met is to have a protein shake with your meal. Soy and pea isolates are your best bets.
You now have all the info you need to get enough high quality protein when you’re eating OMAD. All that’s left is to see how it can help you like it has me and so many others.
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