How often do you find yourself with the midmorning munchies? Even on the days you sit down to eat breakfast your stomach starts to growl way before lunchtime. And it’s not just that you feel hungry, but you feel zapped of energy as well. Vending machine snacks and break room donuts are hard to resist when lunch is a long way off.
You know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but did you know what you eat for breakfast makes a big difference in your energy level, lasting satiety, and overall health? The two things you want to include in each meal and snack are fiber and protein. Protein is particularly important, as eating more protein at breakfast has been shown to reduce your calorie intake the rest of the day. That’s because foods high in protein take longer to digest so you feel full longer. They also slow the rate your body digests carbs, keeping your blood sugar at a more even level.
Aim to eat 25 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast. If you have trouble knowing what you should eat, keep reading to get a few options.
Protein Option 1: Eggs
Besides meat, eggs may be one of the first foods that come to mind when you think of protein. With six grams of protein in each egg, they’re an easy and super nutritious way to increase dietary protein. Keep hard-boiled eggs in the fridge to eat on the go or take a few minutes to scramble some eggs. Make an omelet and include foods like black beans and cheese to really pile on the protein.
Protein Option 2: Greek Yogurt
Besides being high in protein, Greek yogurt also supplies probiotics and calcium. With roughly 15 grams of protein and 170 milligrams of calcium, Greek yogurt is hard to beat. And you don’t have to eat it straight. Make your morning special with a parfait. Layer Greek yogurt, berries, walnuts, and high-protein granola for a pretty breakfast that’s both filling and nutritious.
Protein Option 3: Cottage Cheese
Including cottage cheese with breakfast is an easy way to eat more protein. One cup of cottage cheese contains nearly 30 grams of protein. Top it with fresh fruit or chopped nuts for added nutrition. Look for cottage cheese that’s reduced fat and low in sodium.
Protein Option 4: Smoothie
When made with the right ingredients, a breakfast smoothie can be a simple way to get your protein, fiber, and calcium. A healthy smoothie includes foods like Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, frozen berries, bananas, peanut butter, protein powder, or kefir. Don’t have time to whip up a smoothie? Keep pre-made protein shakes on hand to eat on the run.
Protein Option 5: Cereal
Cold cereals and oatmeal can be a healthy way to get more protein. Just remember that many cold cereals and instant oatmeals are filled with added sugars, colors, and artificial flavors. Skip those and look for cereals that contain at least five grams of protein, five grams of fiber, and fewer than 10 grams of sugar per serving. Pour on some reduced fat milk and sprinkle on nuts for an even bigger protein boost.
Protein Option 6: Toast
The right kind of bread with the right kind of topping can be a healthy way to get your morning dose of protein. Always choose bread made with 100 percent whole grains. Stick a piece or two in the toaster and top with peanut butter, poached egg, or hummus.