How to spread your protein requirements out across the day

What is a balanced diet?

In general, a balanced diet should include plenty of vegetables and fruit along with wholegrains and protein-rich foods, such as meat, seafood, dairy and beans. Each individual may have specific requirements depending on their dietary requirements and physical activity for example.

How to make the most of protein?

In NZ typically our protein consumption is skewed heavily towards the evening. Emerging research suggests that spreading the consumption of protein more evenly across your meals during the day may actually help stimulate muscle synthesis. Therefore helping your body to use protein more effectively than when intake is skewed towards the evening. 

What might this look like in a day’s meals?

Including protein-rich foods in your meals or snacks will help to spread intake throughout the day.

To give you some ideas, we have developed example meal plans. These show how protein can be spread across the day, in the context of a healthy balanced diet and exercise. Each example meal plan is developed for a specific age, gender, weight, height and activity level. 

Energy needs are affected by these factors, e.g. the more exercise you do the more energy (kJ) you will need. 

The protein, carbohydrate and fat ranges are calculated using the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) (Ministry of Health). For more information check out our Protein FAQs.

These plans are intended as a guide only. For more information on your individual needs, please consult with a dietitian or health professional.

Active Male, 19-30 years old

Breakfast - KJ: 2,478, protein: 37.8g       
Wholegrain bread
2 thick slices
Butter
5 grams
Eggs
3 large

Coffee and

Protein+ milk

180 ml coffee with

100 ml milk

 

Morning Tea - KJ: 2,032, protein: 30.4g
Banana
1/2

Protein+ vanilla 

smoothie booster

1 serve (2 scoops)
Milk
200 ml
Blueberries 1/2 cup
Rolled oats 1/2 cup 

 

Lunch - KJ: 4,332, protein: 39.6g            
Wholemeal pita bread
3
Red capsicum
1 cup
Cos lettuce
1/2 cup
Tomato
1 medium
Avacado
1/4
Falafel 100g
Afternoon Tea - KJ: 1,392, protein: 16.2g
Crakers
4
Hummus 4 Tbps
Tasty cheese 40g

 

Dinner - KJ 2,774, protein: 45.1g              
Grilled chicken breast
110g
Broccoli 1 cup chopped
Roast potato 1/2 cup
Roats kumara
1
Red capsicum
1/2 cup
Brown rice 1 cup

 

Dessert - KJ: 784, protein: 2.3g                
Apple crumble 1 cup

*RDI: Recommended Dietary Intake per Serving (NZ Adult)^.

Active Female, 19-30 years old

Breakfast - 2,619KJ, protein: 30.6g

Protein+ Banana 

Choc bowls

1 serve
Kiwifruit
1
Boysenberry
1/4 cup
Rolled oats
1/2 cup

Coffee with

whole milk

180 ml coffee

30 ml milk

 

Morning Tea - 956KJ, protein: 12g

Protein+ honey

yoghurt pouch

150g
Apple
1

 

Lunch - 2,048KJ, protein: 22.5g      
Canned chickpeas  
1 cup
Rocket
1 cup
Cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup
Olive oil
1 tsp
Balsamic vinegar
drizzle
Plain croutons 1 cup
Feta cheese 20 g
Roasted pumpkin 1 cup
Afternoon Tea - 1,455KJ, protein: 12.6g
Cracker
5
Hummus
4 Tbsp
Raw carrot
1 cup

 

Dinner - 2,564KJ, protein: 24.7g            
Chicken breast
100g
Kumara
1
Broccoli
1/2 cup chopped
Couscous
3/4 cup
leafy greens
1 cup
Avacodo 1/4
Olive oil 1 tsp

 

Dessert - 1,249KJ, protein: 7.2g               
Almonds
30g
Dried fruit
1/4 cup 

*RDI: Recommended Dietary Intake per Serving (NZ Adult)^.

Moderately Active Male, 31-50 years old

Breakfast - 2,675KJ protein: 28.3g   
Muesli
1 cup
Protein+ milk
1 cup
Black coffee
1 cup
Banana
1 medium

 

Morning Tea - 1,986 KJ, protein: 16.6
Peanut butter 2 Tbsp
crackers
6

 

Lunch - 2,375KJ, protein: 40.6g         
bread roll
2 medium
mixed leafy greens
1/2 cup
Tasty cheese
40 g
Tomato
1/2 sliced
Tuna
1 can
Afternoon Tea - 775KJ, protein: 14.6g
Kiwifruit 1
protein+ honey yoghurt
180g

 

Dinner - 3,462KJ, protein: 31.5g          

Protein+ Spicy 

roast vege pizza

1 serve
Baked potato
1 medium
Mixed leafy greens
1/2 cup
Tomato
1/2
Feta cheese
20g

 

Dessert - 212KJ, protein: 0.6g             
Green apple
1 large

*RDI: Recommended Dietary Intake per Serving (NZ Adult)^.

Moderately Active Female, 19-30 years old

Breakfast - 1,768KJ, protein: 26.2g   
Rolled oats
1/2 cup
Protein+ milk
1/2 cup
Kiwifruit
1

Protein+ 

honey yoghurt

1/2 cup

Coffee with 

Protein+ milk

180 ml coffee

40 ml milk

 

Morning Tea - 663KJ, protein: 10.6g
Cottage cheese
45g
Crackers
5

 

Lunch - 2,081KJ, protein: 29.9g          
Vegetable quiche 175 g
Mixed bean salad
1 cup
Feta cheese
20g
Afternoon Tea - 1,601KJ, protein: 16.6g
Pear
1 large
Wholegrain bread
1 slice
Tasty cheese
40 g
Tomato
1 small

 

Dinner - 2,856KJ, protein: 36.3g           

Grilled chicken

breast

110 g
Baked Kumara
1
Red capsicum
1/2
Baked parsnip
1/2 cup
Salad leaves
1 cup
Cherry tomatoes 4
Cucumber 1/4 cup
Brown rice 3/4 cup

 

Dessert - 465KJ, protein: 11.4g              

Protein+

honey yoghurt

150 g

*RDI: Recommended Dietary Intake per Serving (NZ Adult)^.

Sedentary Male, 51-70 years old

Breakfast - 1,986KJ, protein: 36.4g
Mixed grain bread
2 slices
Poached eggs
2 medium
Mushrooms
1 cup (sliced)

Coffee with

protein+ milk

180 ml coffee

1 cup milk

 

Morning Tea - 982KJ, protein: 7.8g
Dried fruit
40 g
Crackers
2
Tasty cheese
20 g

 

Lunch - 2030KJ, protein: 24.1g                
bread roll
2
Grilled chicken breast
60 g
Cherry tomatoes
4
Cos lettuce
1/2 cup
Cucumber
26g
Afternoon Tea - 2,186KJ, protein: 17.1g
Mixed grain bread
2
Avocado
1/2
Cottage cheese 45 g

 

Dinner - 2,172KJ, protein: 42.4g            
Potato, boiled 1 large
beef steak
120 g
Broccoli
1/2 cup
Green beans 
1/2 cup
Baked Kumara 1/2 cup

 

Dessert - 976KJ, protein: 9g                   
Red apple
1 large
Kiwifruit
1

Protein+ 

honey yoghurt

100g

*RDI: Recommended Dietary Intake per Serving (NZ Adult)^.

Sedentary Female, 51-70 years old

Breakfast - 1,899KJ, protein: 29.1g

Protein+ banana chock

yoghurt bowl

1 serve
Coffee with milk

180 ml coffee

100 ml protein+ milk

 

Morning Tea - 717KJ, protein: 11.3g
Red apple
1 small

Protein+ honey

yoghurt pouch

150 g

 

Lunch - 1,874KJ, protein: 31.5g
Boiled egg
1 medium
bread rolls
2
Chicken
50g
lettuce
1/2 cup
Tomato
1/2
Afternoon Tea - 749KJ, protein: 31.5g
Cracker
6
Cottage cheese
45 g

 

Dinner - 2,551 KJ, protein: 34.6g        
Grilled Chicken
1 medium thigh
Baked kumara
1
Feta cheese
20 g
Spinach
1/2 cup
Baked pumpkin
1/2 cup

 

Dessert - 219KJ, protein: 2.8g              
Banana
1 small
Kiwifruit
1

*RDI: Recommended Dietary Intake per Serving (NZ Adult)^.