How to Take Your Breakfast to the Next Level
“Eggs that slip right out of the shell are a versatile gift of the food world and can be transformed into a variety of tasty meals.” – Suzanne Sommers
here are new health and diet trends every year and with them come conflicting views about everything from fat to sugar, but there is one thing most agree on – breakfast is an important start to your day. The name itself alludes to the fact that you’re breaking your overnight fast and ready to fuel up. We have all heard the analogy about running a car with no gas in it, but the overuse of the explanation doesn’t discount its factual base – and science agrees! The American Dietetic Association found that children who eat breakfast perform better on the playground and in the classroom with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and eye-hand coordination. What does this mean for you? The right breakfast can supercharge your focus and results at work, boost your strength and endurance for your active times, and lower cholesterol levels.
Already knew all that? Great!
You eat breakfast every day? Even better, but chances are your meal might still need a bit of a makeover. A University of Missouri study looked at the effects of no breakfast versus a “standard” protein breakfast and a “high” protein breakfast, and the results suggest that increasing your protein intake in the morning could be the answer. Participants in the University of Missouri study with the high protein breakfast snacked less throughout the day, felt less hungry, and ultimately lost weight. Pennington Biomedical Research Center further backs protein for breakfast with its findings that women who ate eggs for breakfast lost 65 percent more weight than those who ate a calorically identical bagel. Oh, and ANOTHER study found protein to be the most satisfying macro nutrient with people reporting to be most satisfied by diets consisting of 25-81 percent of their calories coming from protein. What’s the moral of these stories? Get more protein in your life!
So how much protein do we need for breakfast? Research suggests you get the most benefits from powering up with 25-35 grams of protein to start your day. Come again? 35 grams of protein = 6 whole eggs or 10 egg whites. Dang, kind of sounds like a sentence to hard time depending on how you normally eat. Don’t you worry, though. We have the solution to your morning protein problems and delicious suggestions to get your breakfast to the next level.
So why don’t you eat enough protein in the morning?
“I love my carbs!”
Me too! My dad was all about the “carbo load” when I was growing up playing soccer, and I was not mad about it. So hearing I need sooooo much protein in the a.m. kind of made me freak out at first. Repeat after me: it is not always about taking away, sometimes you add too. Like with protein pancakes or waffles (see easy recipe below) – by adding protein to your usual breakfast item you can bump up the nutrition. Boost your oats – top with chia, hemp and pumpkin seeds and enjoy some crunch and nuttiness. Try quinoa or farro for breakfast! – it cooks almost as quickly as oatmeal and is just as filling with more texture and bite.
“I’m not a breakfast person.”
So don’t eat breakfast-y foods. Grind on a chicken breast, and you will hit the 35-gram mark with no assistance.
“I don’t like to eat in the morning.”
Try a protein shake – just read the label first – not all shakes are created equal, and you could end up with a sugar or fat bomb on your hands.
“I can’t eat that much.”
Greek yogurt is my friend for this problem. I am borderline obsessed with the stuff because it can go with just about anything. Top omelets with it, mix in hot sauce for a dressing, combine with nut butter for a dip for apples, or try a protein parfait with blackberries, mulberries (surprise protein sources), chia, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and a little honey. Or a protein shake can fill in the gaps too!
“I don’t eat meat.”
So? Scramble up some tofu and serve with lentils or chickpeas. Most beans pack 15 grams of protein per cup and lentils are just ahead with 18 grams per cup. Cheddar, Swiss, and mozzarella all boast 8-9 grams of protein per ounce and make everything delicious.
“I hate eggs.”
I don’t know if we could be friends, but I respect your feelings.
See “I love my carbs” and “I don’t eat meat” and “I’m not a breakfast person” Or hide egg whites in some oatmeal for an extra protein boost.
“I’m not a morning person.”
Just the reason to pack in the protein – get that brain going and supercharge your energy level. If you aren’t one to prep the night before, a ready made option could be your best bet if you don’t want to grab a shake. Jimmy Dean Delights – turkey sausage bowl is surprisingly not bad and gives you 22 grams with minimal effort. I would throw some Greek yogurt on too. KNOW Foods is changing your bread – they took out wheat, soy, dairy, peanuts, yeast, and grain and put in chia, flax, and other superfoods to create donuts, waffles, pancake mix and bread. Yes, you saw that correctly – DONUTS that are a good source of protein. Or wake up with BuzzFit Nutrition Protein Coffee and it’s 10 grams per cup.
Other Ways to Cut Calories
If you are worried about your calorie count in the morning, I get it. Part of the struggle with a high-protein diet is making sure your fat intake is still in check. So in the name of shaving calories off without cutting your satisfying protein, maybe try some of these tricks first:
- Cooking spray over oil: pretty straightforward and can save you plenty over the course of a week.
- All about the herbs: fresh herbs will give you a boost of flavor without adding to your count.
- Think acid: a little lemon juice goes a long way for enhancing flavors without added salt or fat. Double win!
- You gotta go black: skip the latte and save yourself over 100 calories by drinking your coffee black.
- Skip the yolk: egg whites can deliver just as much protein without all the fat (and they’re about half the calories).
- Read your labels! “Fat-free” is usually hiding sugar by the tons. Skip pre-sweetened yogurt and oatmeal, and double check that your nut butter doesn’t have added sugar too. Eat this breaks it down.
Protein Waffle Recipe by Damn Delicious
For a super simple protein waffle, I go with a Damn Delicious Healthy Protein Waffle. Five ingredients and no added protein powders make it a no brainer for anyone with a waffle iron and a blender.
Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat waffle iron to medium-high heat. Lightly coat with nonstick spray.
- Combine eggs, cottage cheese, oats, vanilla and salt in blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour 1/2 cup of the mixture into the waffle iron, close gently and cook until golden brown and crisp – about 4-5 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Now these are totally good just the way they are, but if you’re looking for some variety give these a whirl:
- Add ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves to mix before blending to give your waffles a gingerbread spice flavor
- Skip the syrup for a topping and opt for nut butter for an extra protein blast (mulberries and blackberries on top of that gives you a pb&j flavor that’s guilt free).
- Not into sweets? Make your waffle savory: skip the vanilla and mix in fresh rosemary or thyme before cooking. Top with an egg and Turkey bacon to complete.
Getting your fill of protein in the morning puts your body on track for the day. Even if you aren’t trying to lose weight, the boost from a satisfying breakfast helps you perform better and assists your body in recovery and other essential functions. So get up and get your protein!