For years dinner was considered the “meat-heavy” meal, while breakfast was associated with foods like oatmeal, cereal, pancakes and muffins. Instead, each meal of the day should be balanced with both whole grains and protein. Whole grains include fiber, which helps fill you up and has numerous health benefits. Protein also has numerous benefits including satiety, which may be lacking at breakfast meals. Here are 5 ways you can include more protein at breakfast so you can less hungry in the morning.
New Research on Protein
A new landmark systematic review recently published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that consuming protein above current recommended levels helps prevent age-related bone loss, a condition known as osteoporosis. “Current protein guidelines focus on preventing muscle loss as we age, but our study suggests we need substantially more to keep our bones strong,” says Dr. Taylor Wallace leading food science and nutrition researcher on the study and professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University. “The study showed a 16% reduced risk of hip fractures with higher protein intakes (we found no difference in animal vs. plant proteins).” That’s a large dose of prevention for over 2 million osteoporotic fractures that occur annually in the United States. That is why Wallace recommends forgoing low fat or low carb breakfasts, and rather focusing on eating more protein at breakfast to stay healthy and energized.
Chicken and steak may not be what you’re craving at breakfast, but don’t count it out. Here are five ways you can up your protein in the morning.
Eggs are a great source of protein in the morning, but adding beans to an omelet or burrito can up your protein and fiber even more.
Recipe to try: Breakfast Burrito (pictured above)
Whether it’s hot quinoa cereal or a bowl of quinoa and beans, this whole grain adds a healthy dose of protein at breakfast.
Recipe to try: Mexican Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Play with Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt provides double the protein compared to traditional yogurt due to the straining process it goes through. Add it to smoothies, spoon it over pancakes and waffles, and use it to make overnight oats. The possibilities are endless.
Recipe to try: Papaya Banana Smoothie
This underappreciated omega-3 filled protein is a delicious addition to any breakfast repertoire. Add to omelets or enjoy with toast.
Recipe to try: Sherried Sardine Toast
Top with Peanut Butter
Two tablespoons of peanut butter provides 8 grams of protein and about 188 calories. Swirl a spoonful into oatmeal, smear over toast, add to smoothies, or use it in a batter for pancakes, muffins or breakfast cookies.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.