Eat a Protein Packed Breakfast to Power Up Your Day!
Protein in a vital macronutrient that we should be getting in every meal, including breakfast.
The classic high carb/low protein cereal or toast based breakfast is far from ideal as the first meal of the day because carbohydrate eaten on its own causes a spike in blood sugar. This triggers the release of insulin from the pancreas to transport the glucose into the cells, which can be followed by a drop in blood sugar. This can play havoc with our energy levels by encouraging us to respond to the dip by reaching for quick fix energy boosts, which in turn push blood sugar up again; and so the cycle goes on. This is sometimes referred to as the blood sugar roller coaster.
One of the many benefits of protein is that it slows down the rate at which glucose is released from carbohydrates, thus helping to prevent fluctuating energy levels. Also the fact that it takes longer to break down in the body promotes fullness for longer, so can support healthy weight management.
So give yourself an energy boost and set yourself up for a great day ahead with a protein packed breakfast. Ideally, we should aim to have around 20g of protein with every meal.
Here are some suggestions for healthy and delicious protein packed breakfasts:
Eggs are so versatile and with 14g of protein for 2 eggs, they offer a great way to pack your protein in. Make sure that you are eating organic eggs and all the better if they are from grass fed chickens as that increases your vitamin D intake too. Here are a few egg-rich breakfast ideas:
- Poached eggs on rye bread with rocket on the side
- Frittata style omelettes packed with veggies. See my simple recipe here
- Soft boiled eggs with smoked salmon and asparagus
- Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes
- Pop chopped up spinach, herbs, tomatoes and grated cheese into an oiled muffin tin and pour beaten eggs on top and cook for 20 mins at 180c
Porridge is a great way to start the day:
- Oats aren’t the highest source of protein, but it’s easy to boost the protein level and offset the carbohydrate hit with the addition of nuts and seeds
- I’ve recently been enjoying quinoa porridge as a change to oats. Quinoa is actually a seed and not a grain and is higher in protein than oats. Cook for up for 20 minutes with nut milk, cinnamon and a couple of chopped prunes or unsulphured apricots. Leave to stand for a few minutes more so that any excess liquid is absorbed. Experiment with adding any of the following: toasted pecans or almonds; a handful of berries or chopped figs; a spoon of apple puree; natural cow’s yoghurt or coconut yoghurt, and finish with a drizzle of maple syrup if required. You can cook the quinoa ahead and re-heat to save time.
Protein packed smoothies are great if you’re short on time or need to have breakfast on the go. Keep the fruit content to just one or two such as with berries or half a banana and include some greens for a really good nutrient boost. Add in any of the following protein sources:
- A good quality hemp or pea protein powder should give you around 15-20g of protein.
- Ground flaxseed or chia seeds, a spoonful of peanut or cashew nut butter, or a handful of soaked almonds
- A handful of oats or quinoa
- Soft tofu