With all dietary choices there are individuals that go to extremes. Some believe they need supplemental protein even though they regularly consume meat, dairy and other excellent sources of protein. On the other hand, there are individuals who limit protein food sources in their diet and tend to consistently under consume protein.
Most of the individuals I see are somewhere in the middle. Many of the clients I work with get an adequate amount of total protein throughout the day, but may not start out the day with enough.
Why does it matter when you eat protein? Protein digests more slowly than carbohydrates and therefore can help you to stay full longer. Breakfast, in the typical American diet, tends to be the smaller meal of the day. If that is the case, it is particularly important to ensure that it is a delicious and satisfying meal that won’t leave you feeling hungry shortly thereafter. Protein for breakfast is a good solution to the mid-morning hunger that you may be experiencing.
Besides meat, where can you get enough protein? Protein comes from animal sources (meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy) and plant sources (soy foods, beans, peas, nuts, seeds). You may eat eggs or yogurt for breakfast on some days, but maybe you need some new ideas. Try these ways to add more protein to your breakfast.
- Salmon. Salmon is a wonderful source of omega-3 fats in the diet of which we typically don’t get enough. And because it is also a great source of protein, it could be a delicious addition to your breakfast. When making salmon for dinner prepare extra and mix it in with scrambled eggs or into an omelette; prepare ahead and freeze a quiche with grilled, canned or smoked salmon and reheat; create a potato/salmon hash with green onions and dill, diced white or sweet potatoes, and salmon, topped with crème fraiche.
- Eggs. Egg whites are a perfect source of protein and the yolk contains many nutrients including the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Cook hard boiled eggs and keep in the refrigerator for an easy grab and go breakfast; sauté onions, leafy greens and eggs for a quick vegetable scramble; prepare a breakfast burrito filled with scrambled eggs, vegetables and cheese; beat an egg with 1-2 tsp. of milk (and any herbs you enjoy) in a microwave safe mug and cook in the microwave for 1 minute or until cooked to your desired consistency; prepare a quiche or frittata and freeze in individual serving sizes for an easy heat and go breakfast; poach an egg by cracking an egg into a bowl of water, poke with a fork, sprinkle with salt, and microwave covered until cooked to your desired consistency.
- Nuts. Nuts are not only a source of healthy fats, they can be a good source of protein as well. Make your own trail mix with nuts and unsweetened dried fruits; pack individual serving bags of nuts to grab and go and eat with a piece of fruit; spread peanut, almond or other nut butter on an apple or banana; add nut butter to a smoothie with banana, coconut milk and cinnamon; top cereal or yogurt with chopped nuts.
- Dairy. Yogurt, Kefir, milk or milk alternatives, or cheeses can be a good source of protein that can be easy to add to breakfast. Compare your options at the store and choose yogurts higher in protein and lower in added sugars without added artificial sweeteners. Greek yogurt can often be a good option. In addition to being a good source of protein Kefir is a great source of bacteria important for a healthy gut. Use milk or a milk alternative in a smoothie or simply a drink with your meal. Cottage cheese with fruit may be an alternative to the yogurt you may eat regularly.
- Protein smoothie. Protein supplements are not always necessary to get adequate protein, but can be a simple breakfast when you are pressed for time. Blend berries, leafy greens like spinach or kale, milk or a milk alternative and a scoop of protein powder for a satisfying breakfast on the run. Look for protein powders with few ingredients – consider pumpkin seed or pea protein as an alternative to whey or soy proteins that are more commonly found on the market.
Make it work for you
Notice if there are times during the day where you feel very hungry. Does that happen mid-morning or even mid-afternoon? Starting out with a nourishing breakfast could be the key to preventing the hunger that leads to making poor choices. Choose breakfast foods that you will enjoy and will fill you up so you won’t be ready for lunch at 10 a.m. or searching for the vending machine for a sugar rush. There are many ways to add protein to your breakfast. Be creative and find something that tastes great as well as helps you to feel great all day long.
If you are ready to make changes to your life to end the cycle of feeling sick, bloated and being overweight – click here to contact Lynda to learn how to create healthy eating and healthy living that will work for you.
There is no one size fits all approach to nutrition and healthy living. Recommendations given are not intended to replace the personalized guidance of a health professional.