What's For Breakfast?
If you read my previous blog, you know about the importance of eating a balanced breakfast. This blog discusses how to select healthy carbs and how much protein you need for satiety and lasting energy. Plus I've got some menu planning ideas and links to some recipes.
Start planning for your healthy breakfast with a good dose of protein.
Start with Protein
Protein is not just for building muscle mass. About 1-2% of your body breaks down every day and needs to be replaced – our bones, skin cells, red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout out body, hormones like insulin, and the enzymes that break down food in our GI tract.
Protein is also critical for satiety – to help us feel full – and to prevent us from getting hungry an hour or two after eating.
For that we need about 20-35g of protein at each of your three meals. And, don't think it HAS to be a breakfast protein, like eggs and sausage.
Here are some ideas on how to get enough protein in your healthy breakfast:
- 3-4 oz animal protein such as salmon, lean chicken, turkey, or beef (that's about the size of deck of cards or your kitchen sponge)
- 2 eggs and an ounce of cheese
- 2 eggs with a half cup of beans
- Peanut butter (on a whole grain english muffin) and a glass of milk (dairy or soy)
- A higher protein cereal (like Kashi) with a large glass of milk
- A cup of Greek yogurt (check the label, not all are higher than 20g per serving)
- ¾ cup cottage cheese (or more)
- 1 cup Tofu
- Oatmeal prepared with milk and nuts and seeds (or try quinoa for a change)
- 1 scoop of protein powder in a shake
Add Some Healthy Carbs
Carbs are important, too, for a healthy breakfast because it provides the fuel for your brain and red blood cells (they need glucose).
In addition to protein sources, select some healthier carbs such as:
- Piece of fresh fruit (frozen or dried fruit works, too)
- Glass of dairy or soy milk
- Slice of whole grain bread
- ½ cup of oatmeal, potatoes, quinoa, beans, rice, or noodles
- One serving of whole grain cereal (see package for portion sizing
Just two servings of carbs provide adequate fuel to keep most people feeling energized. Though if you're more active you'll need one or more servings. Remember the goal is to eat enough to feel satisfied after breakfast – not full.
There you go, it’s quite easy to make a well-balanced, healthy breakfast…one that will keep you healthy – and energized all day long.
The next time you're thinking, "What to eat for breakfast?", remember protein + carbs.
Here are some ideas on mixing protein with carbs for a balanced breakfast:
- Peanut butter on a toasted english muffin and a glass of milk
- Scrambled (two) egg burrito with cheese
- Lox and bagel
- Fried eggs and beans
- Oatmeal made with milk and added fruit and nuts
- Fruit smoothie made with milk and a half scoop of protein powder
- Overnight oatmeal made with Greek yogurt and fruit
- Cottage cheese pancakes
- Beef sticky buns
On the road? Here are some quick breakfast ideas. Most contain 20+ grams of protein (or close):
- Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill (290 calories, 26g protein)
- Einstein's Swiss Ham & Cheese on plain bagel (400 calories, 28g protein)
- McDonald's Egg McMuffin (310 calories, 17g protein)
- Panera's Avocado, Egg White & Spinach Sandwich (350 calories, 19g protein)
- Panera's Scrambled Egg & Cheese on Ciabatta (380 calories, 20g protein)
- Starbucks Turkey Bacon, Cheese, & Egg White Breakfast (230 calories, 17g protein)
- Starbucks Egg White & Roasted Pepper Egg Bites (170 calories, 12g protein) plus Berry Trio Parfait (240 calories, 14g protein)
- Subway Ham & Cheese (450 calories, 19g protein)
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