What do you eat for breakfast this morning? A slice of toast? Your favorite coffee and pastry? Or sat down to a delicious combination of eggs, toast and juice?
Whatever breakfast you eat, breakfast remains an important way to refuel after an overnight fast and provide a range of important nutrients including B vitamins and dietary fibre.
There’s also a trick to getting your breakfast balance right, and a trick that will set you up in appetite and calorie balance in the long run.
The foods we think of when thoughts turn to breakfast tend to be carbohydrate-rich foods — toast, breakfast cereals, bagels, oats, juice, and smoothies.
Foods rich in carbohydrates, which are good for energy, help re-supply the muscles and brain with energy after an overnight fast. But these popular breakfast foods can also be low in protein, which means that it can increase glucose levels relatively quickly after consumption.
The problem with this is that a rise in glucose after eating, especially for those with problems regulating glucose, is inevitably followed by low sugar, cravings and hunger within an hour or two of eating breakfast.
On the other hand, breakfast options that provide 20-30 grams of protein have a number of nutritional benefits.
First, because protein is digested more slowly than carbohydrates, protein-rich breakfasts like eggs, Greek yogurt, and protein toast help keep us full longer after eating.
Another major factor that appears to play a direct role in controlling appetite is that a number of protein-rich breakfast foods including eggs and dairy also provide 2-3 grams of the amino acid, lysine.
Leucine has been shown to play a key role in controlling insulin levels in the body. Since insulin is the hormone that regulates fat metabolism, breakfasts rich in protein rich in dietary leucine are likely to be particularly satisfying options, keeping hunger tightly controlled during the morning.
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Leucine is found in high concentrations in animal foods. The ideal serving would be two eggs, 25-30g whey protein powder, 150g lean beef or chicken, or 250g Greek yogurt or protein.
In plant foods, it’s even more challenging, as 12 slices of wholemeal bread are required to give 2 grams of leucine, although one cup of whole grains such as oats or legumes provides roughly 1 gram of leucine.
So, if you regularly find yourself reaching for the cookie jar at work at 10 or 11 a.m., here are a few nutritious, protein-rich breakfast options that will help keep your morning appetite in check.
eggs with anything
Eggs may seem like a time-consuming option, but you can find a ready-made egg mixture that can be turned into an omelette in just a few minutes.
Using boiled eggs is more time efficient. You can pre-boil eggs and keep them in the fridge for up to a week and then enjoy them mashed on crackers or toast, or sliced and turned into small rolls with a little salad.
Either way, you’ll have prepared yourself a breakfast with over 16 grams of high-quality protein, and a low-cost meal in that time.
Smoothies are another delicious breakfast option that can be prepared and stored in advance. Simply adding high-protein Greek yogurt, milk, or even eggs or protein powder to your favorite fruit blend will ensure that your breakfast smoothie contains more than 20 grams of protein. Or even better, green juice will give you a few servings of vegetables, without you even noticing.
For the organizers among us, making frittatas is not only exceptionally easy but another high-protein option. Plus, you can add lean pork, smoked salmon, or bacon to the egg mixture to increase the protein content, as well as plenty of extra veggies like shredded zucchini, spinach, and mushrooms.
High protein toast
There is a growing range of high-protein bread and roll options available in supermarkets that can contain up to 24 grams of plant-based protein in one serving. This translates your favorite peanut butter or vegemite toast into a filling breakfast option, or avoiding toast is a better nutritional sense. In addition, you can keep bread in the freezer at home or at work so that you always have stock on hand.
Smoked salmon wrap
With nearly 2g of leucine per 100g, Low-Salt smoked salmon with your favorite whole-grain toast or rolls and salad is an easy-to-prepare and on-the-go omega-3-rich breakfast option.
author Suzy Borrell He is a leading Australian Dietitian and Dietitian, and founder of formalco-hosted feeding sofa audio notation and a prominent media speaker, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss, and nutrition.
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