Eating breakfast has been a tip many nutritionist swear by these days. However, although it’s important to break the fast in the morning and supply your body with fuel, the quality of that fuel matters even more. Protein is an essential component for the first meal of the day to help you stay energized, balanced and can help prevent you from making poor food choices the rest of the day.
Protein 101: How much, why and what
Skipping the first meal of the day is a major nutrition no-no. Eating a balanced breakfast has been shown to improve energy and concentration, kickstart your metabolism, and actually help you eat less over the course of the day. But just grabbing a granola bar and cup of coffee at the office won’t cut it.
A new study conducted at the University of Missouri School of Medicine found that loading your plate with protein is crucial to reaping the weight loss and energizing benefits of a good breakfast. Researchers found that when people ate a breakfast consisting of 35 grams of protein, they felt less hungry and ate less during the day and gained less body fat over 12 weeks compared to than those who loaded up on just 13 grams.
So why does packing in the protein keep you from packing on the pounds? “Protein is one of the most filling nutrients, as it requires extra work for the body to digest, break down, and metabolize,” says New York-based nutritionist Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., who was not involved with the study. It also takes longer to digest, so it keeps you fuller, longer. “The more satiated you feel, the more likely you are to make healthier and smarter food decisions throughout the day.”
Egg Scramble (26g of protein)
Scramble one whole egg and two egg whites and cook. Place on slice of Ezeikel bread and top with 1 ounce light Swiss cheese and 2 tablespoons avocado.
Greek Yogurt Parfait (26g of protein)
Top 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt with 4 tablespoons of almonds and 1 cup of fresh blueberries.
Smoked Salmon Toast (25g of protein)
Top two slices of Ezeikel bread with 2 ounces of smoked salmon and 2 light spreadable cheese wedges.
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