For the last few months, I’ve started almost every day with the same breakfast. I have yogurt mixed with fruit and either granola, oats or a high fibre, low sugar cereal and sometimes a sprinkling of nuts. These days the yogurt is Greek yogurt which is yummy, filling and nutritious, the fruit is always blueberries, frozen or fresh (I believe the science about berries being good for my brain) plus whatever else is handy – melon, orange pieces, banana. I find it fast and easy to make and along with the latte that accompanies my meal, I rarely feel hungry before lunch. From a nutrition perspective, it’s giving me fibre (the fruit, nuts, and cereal), calcium (the yogurt and nuts), iron (in the cereal), vitamins and minerals from the fruit and protein from the yogurt and nuts. But, most importantly, it tastes great!
This began after I read a number of studies that looked at the benefits of protein at breakfast for both satiety and weight management. I’m always looking for strategies to help my clients and when I tried this myself, I found it really worked. Besides being more satisfied through the morning, some studies showed that the higher protein eaters were also more satisfied throughout the whole day. In addition, distributing your protein more evenly throughout the day, rather than leaving it all until your dinner meal, is a healthy strategy.
Protein is found in all animal products (meat, fish, chicken, cheese, eggs, dairy) as well as soy, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds and some grains. While protein foods are something you typically have at lunch and dinner, protein is often skipped at breakfast especially when you are rushed in the morning. And, when you have only a bagel or toast and a glass of juice, you are more likely to reach for a a muffin or sweet pastry later that same morning.
Besides my breakfast parfait, here are 8 other easy ways to include protein at breakfast:
- Hard-boiled eggs (make them ahead and keep in the fridge)
- An omelette or frittata with vegetables.
- Peanut butter or almond butter on whole grain bread
- Smoothie with milk or soy beverage and fruit. Up the protein by adding Greek yogurt.
- Oatmeal made with milk or soy beverage, topped with a handful of nuts and some fruit
- Turkey or cheese sandwich
- Half a whole grain pita pocket stuffed with cottage cheese and fresh fruit
- Whole grain wrap made with leftover chicken, turkey, beans or hummus