If you’re reading this blog post, you probably eat breakfast. I don’t have any scientific data to back that up, but I’ve noticed that bloggers and blog readers alike tend to love breakfast (best meal of the day, am I right?)! So anyway, I’ll spare you my spiel about why breakfast is important.
Instead I’m going to get nitpicky and focus in on one nutrient that is often missing from many typical breakfasts – protein. We do a good job of getting enough at lunch, and often times too much at dinner (that 8 oz steak could feed two people!), but breakfast tends to be lacking.
So what’s the deal about protein – why should we be getting enough at breakfast? Protein is slower to digest, meaning it can help keep you satisfied for longer and keep your blood sugar more steady than a breakfast containing just simple carbs – this is one of the reasons why protein can help with maintaining a healthy weight. Research also suggests that spreading protein intake out evenly over the day is the best way to maintain and grow our muscles, which is beneficial for overall health (not just bodybuilders!).
With all that being said, here are a few of my favourite ways to get more protein at breakfast time:
This is probably the obvious protein source at breakfast, but I think it warrants mentioning anyways. Eggs are great because they can fry up in just a few minutes, making them a fast choice. Are your mornings more rushed? Hard boil a half dozen on weekends so that you can grab 1-2 along with a yogurt and piece of fruit when you’re on-the-go. If you have the luxury of having more time on your hands in the mornings, whip up a skillet hash or even a strata that will make leftovers for your next few breakfasts.
2. Add some cottage cheese
When you saw this point you probably either nodded in agreement or scrunched up your nose in disgust – I know not everyone is a cottage cheese fan! But if you are, it’s a fantastic source of protein with 16 grams in just 1/2 cup. If your usual breakfast is toast, add some cottage cheese on the side topped with fresh fruit, or you can even try blending it into pancakes.
3. Make a better smoothie
Smoothies are a great convenient breakfast that whip up in just seconds. But if the only ingredient in them is fruit, you’re missing out on some important nutrients. Use milk or soy milk and add 1/2 cup Greek yogurt for some protein to make sure your smoothie keeps you full. And don’t forget some healthy fats from a tablespoon of nut butter or ground flax!
4. Boost your cereal
Breakfast cereal is usually low in protein – and if it boasts high protein content on the package, be wary and check the nutrition label – it’s probably high in sugar too! To make cereal a higher protein breakfast, pair your cereal with milk or soy milk rather than almond, coconut, hemp, or rice milk which are all lower protein options with only ~1 g protein per cup.
It’s the same story with hot cereal – it’s all about what you add to it! I pump up the protein in my oatmeal with these 5 tips, which make it a great post-workout breakfast after my strength training sessions at GoodLife Fitness.
5. Sprinkle with seeds
Whether you like toast, cereal, or oatmeal in the mornings, a good sprinkle of seeds can help boost protein. Hemp hearts are especially potent, with 10 grams of protein in 3 tbsp!
6. Try beans at breakfast
Did you hear it’s the International Year of Pulses? So if you’re not already on the bean bandwagon, this year is a great time to start! Beans may not be thought of as a typical breakfast food, but they make a great addition to a breakfast wrap with eggs, salsa, avocado and cheese. Or try experimenting with chickpea flour and make socca, a flatbread you can make in a pan in just a few minutes. Top it with savoury flavours like egg and avocado or sauteed mushrooms and cheese.
7. Make a healthy parfait
Not only do they look pretty and taste good, but they can be a fantastic source of protein! Use Greek yogurt, which gives you 17-19 grams per 3/4 cup serving, and layer it with fruit (use fresh or frozen, or try making a compote from dried fruit) and granola. Granola can be high in sugar, so keep your serving size to 1/4 cup – or make a homemade granola that’s lower in sugar!
Do you pay attention to protein at breakfast? How do you add protein to breakfast?
This post was written as a part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program, however all opinions expressed are my own.