You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but did you know that the type of breakfast you eat is just as important. New research suggests that eating a higher protein breakfast can help you feel more full and satisfied throughout the day, leading to greater weight loss overall. In a study at the University of Missouri researchers compared the benefits of a normal protein breakfast (milk and cereal) with a high protein breakfast (eggs, dairy, pork) and found that participants in the high protein group reported less feelings of hunger, decreased their daily caloric intake by 400 calories, and lost body fat mass.
The ideal amount of protein to consume in the morning is still up for debate, but many researchers believe the sweet spot is between 20-30 grams of protein. Keep in mind, if you are smaller or less active you will need less, if you are larger and more active you may need more. No matter your size, if your breakfast is largely grain based- think toast and oatmeal, you might want to consider upping the protein content.
Eggs are a great high protein option to add at breakfast. If you are really short on time in the morning try hard boiling eggs for the week and grabbing 1 or 2 as you go out the door. Not only are a eggs a good source of protein but they offer many other healthy nutrients like choline, vitamin D, and B12. If you are not a fan of eggs, check out some of the other high protein breakfast options below.
- 1 cup cottage cheese or Greek yogurt plus 1/4 cup nuts and berries ~ 20 gr protein
- 3 egg veggie omelette with 1 piece whole grain toast ~ 25 gr protein
- Smoothie with Greek yogurt, nut butter, and frozen banana or berries ~20 gr protein
- 3 slices Canadian bacon or lean ham ~ 11 gr protein
- 1 cup quinoa with milk or yogurt and fruit ~ 16 gr protein
If you avoid dairy for medical or personal reasons, choose soy milk as opposed to almond milk for a higher protein option. Soy milk has a similar protein content to cow milk, where as most almond milk contains 1 gram or less of protein. Many people believe almond milk to be rich in protein because almonds contain protein. However, the part of the almond containing the most protein is discarded during the milk making process.
The next time you feel a little hunger pang gnawing at you at 10 AM ask yourself what you had for breakfast. If this answer was corn flakes or a muffin, try switching to a higher protein option for greater satiety and weight control.
Heather Mason is a Registered Dietitian who holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science. She has a passion for debunking nutrition myths and helping people discover delicious and healthy food. You can read more posts from her on her blog, Nutty Nutrition.