What’s for Breakfast?

What’s for Breakfast?

Balanced choices at breakfast are essential, since they set your body up for the rest of the day. Many traditional breakfasts are high in carbohydrate, and low in protein –such as cereal, pancakes, and bagels. A typical bagel has around 60 grams of carbohydrate and a stack of pancakes could have as much as two or three times that.

Much better to choose a breakfast with a balance of carbohydrates and protein to avoid the insulin surge that promotes fat storage. A breakfast with 20-30 grams of protein, a similar amount of carbohydrate and a small amount of fat allows for a sense of satisfaction even though calories are kept to 300-400. That helps to prevent weight gain, and depending on your overall diet, may be a part of a weight loss plan. Here are some healthy breakfasts that balance protein, fiber and a healthy fat for some very smart eating:

Protein Shake:
A protein shake with berries is a satisfying way to meet your protein needs and keep carbohydrates and calories in check. Kefir and Greek yogurt are cultured dairy products that have twice as much protein found in milk. Plus, they provide a probiotic that feeds the good bacteria in the gut. Plain kefir or yogurt is best, since those with fruit flavors contain added sugars and more calories.

If you must use a sweetener try a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners, but if that is your preference, use Stevia and consider weaning your palette off the excessive sweetness. It will take about three months. You can do it!

If you use other plant-based milks, such as coconut milk, keep in mind it has no protein, so you may want to add a scoop of protein powder. Whey has the most complete amino acid profile, and is also lactose free. If you are vegetarian, soy or pea protein are fine as well.

Berries, including raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries have the lowest glycemic index. Frozen berries are convenient; just make sure they are unsweetened. If you use frozen fruit, add a little water or milk to the shake for the desired consistency.

If you are maintaining weight and less concerned with glycemic index, use any fruit; just keep the portion to one or two servings. This shake is designed to get your metabolism started right and give you the energy you need to begin the day.

Kefir or Greek yogurt, 1% fat, 1 cup
Protein powder (whey), 1 scoop (18 grams protein)
Berries, ¾ cup
Ground flax or chia seeds, 1 tablespoon
Carb 36, Protein 30, Fat 6 , Calories 320

If you need more calories to keep you full for a longer period of time, try this combination:

Kefir or Greek yogurt, 1% fat, 1 cup
Protein powder (whey), 1 scoop (18 grams protein)
Raw spinach or kale, handful, about 1 cup
Banana, ½-1 frozen or fresh
Almond or peanut butter, 1-2 tablespoons
Carb 30, Protein 35, Calories 400

If you need more calories add a slice of whole grain bread with almond butter.

Cottage Cheese Lovers

When I’m out and about and need my first meal of the day, this mix of cottage cheese, fruit and nuts gives me a bit of variety and some crunch. It’s even available at my local gas station or Walgreens or Rite Aid!

Cottage cheese (2%), 1 cup
Fruit, berries, apple, orange or other seasonal fruit
Nuts, 1 ounce, any kind
Carb 49, Protein 31, Fat 6 , Calories 340

Steel Cut Oats cooked in Milk with Nuts

Oats are a great way to start the day, since they are very satisfying and contain the beta glucan fiber that helps to lower cholesterol. I like to make a batch and keep it in the refrigerator at my office as an easy go-to breakfast.

For optimal ratio of protein to carbohydrate, cook the oatmeal in milk or soy milk and if you use other plant based milks that contain no protein, be sure to add protein powder and cook on stovetop or microwave as directed. Nuts add fiber, some protein and a healthy fat source for staying power. If you need a sweetener, add a small drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Steel-cut Oats ½ cup cooked
Milk or soy milk, 2%, 1 cup
Walnuts or almonds, 5 – 6 chopped
Protein powder (whey) 1 scoop

Carb 47, Protein 31, Fat 10, Calories 400

Egg Breakfast

This is my favorite weekend breakfast, which can help to keep your diet in check in a restaurant where scrambled eggs and omelets can be jumbo portions. With two visible eggs, you know what you’re getting! If you’re stumped about whether to include the yolk or not, see my video “Don’t throw that yolk down the drain!”

Eggs, 2 poached or over easy
Cheese, 1/2 oz
Whole grain bread, like Ezekiel 1 slice or corn tortilla or veggie burger OR ½ Ezekiel English muffin
Latte with 1 cup 2% milk or soy milk
Carb 29, Protein 27, Fat 12 , Calories 345

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