Cereal, muffins, pancakes, waffles, toast, bagels, jelly, bananas, juice, cinnamon rolls – staples of the traditional American breakfast.
While most of these foods CAN be incorporated into a healthy diet, they all have one thing in common – high carb, low protein.
What’s the big deal? Starting your day off with a well-rounded, and balanced breakfast can set up the rest of your day for success. According to a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, subjects who ate a high protein breakfast (58% of calories from protein vs. 19% of calories from protein) saw a significant decrease in post-meal ghrelin (a hormone that signals hunger).
Another study from the Journal of Nutrition found that subjects who previously skipped breakfast, ate a high protein breakfast (35 grams) saw significant decreases in cravings for sweets and snacks later in the day compared to groups who continued skipping breakfast or ate a smaller amount of protein (13 grams) at breakfast.
These results are not anything new, but rather support the case for shifting our traditional, high carb breakfasts towards a more balanced breakfast, composed of more protein.
It is crucial to note that the studies did not have subjects eating a pure protein breakfast, but rather a high protein breakfast, in which protein made up 40-60% of total calories at breakfast. Thus proving that you can still have a carb source at breakfast, you just need to balance it out.
What should you eat?
While the most obvious go to would be eggs, I understand that some people aren’t like me and can eat eggs everyday.
Some other great options include:
Greek Yogurt Parfaits
Greek yogurt contains about 16 grams of protein per 6 oz. serving. While some including myself cannot stomach the flavor of plain Greek Yogurt, I recommend blending fresh or frozen berries into the yogurt. This will help release the flavors of the berries into the yogurt rather than buying the high sugar flavored yogurts. Combine the yogurt with 1/4 cup dry oats, and 1oz. slivered almonds/walnuts and you are looking at about 330 calories, with 18 grams of protein, 32 grams of carbs, and 15 grams of heart healthy fats.
Anti-Oxidant Chocolate Shake
Looking for something quick, and tasty? Look no further. Combine 12 oz. skim milk, 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein, 1 cup of frozen blueberries, 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, and a quick dash of vanilla extract and you have an awesome, super high protein shake. Blend it all up and enjoy slowly.
380 calories, 46g carbs, 42g protein and 6g fat
Breakfast Ham and Black Bean Burrito (you can add eggs here too)
Take a whole wheat tortilla, and fill it with 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup diced ham, 1/4 cup chopped red and green peppers, 1 Tbsp. diced onion, and a 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Add salsa and enjoy. I would warm it up on a frying pan myself, and probably add some eggs…
440 calories, 44 g carbs, 28g protein, and 15g fat (without the eggs)
450 calories, 34g carbs, 30g protein, and 21g fat (with 1 egg instead of the beans)
There are many other recipes out there that a simple google search will turn up, however make sure you look closely at the recipe itself and maybe enter it into myfitnesspal.com. I found some “high protein” smoothies that had almost 100 grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein in them – hardly high protein.
Key Take Aways:
- Look for a good balance of carbs and protein – try to get a 1:1 ratio.
- Carbs are not the enemy, but you need a balance to help your body later in the day.
- You can get creative with breakfast, it doesn’t have to be a stereotypical breakfast either.
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Stay healthy my friends,