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How-To Power-Up Your Breakfast With Protein

by Jessica Remitz

Most of us barely make it out the door in time for our early weekday meetings or morning trains let alone find a few minutes to sit down for a low-fat, healthy breakfast to energize us for the day. Fortunately, there are ways to boost your morning meal to create a more complete and filling breakfast. Here’s a look at why eating the right breakfast is so important and how to power up your meal with buzzy new additives, like protein powders.

The Importance of Breakfast

You’ve hopefully dismissed the notion that it’s okay to skip breakfast, but grabbing just anything as you head out the door isn’t the best, either. Eating a healthy, protein-rich, breakfast has been proven to be the best way for women to stay full for longer periods of time and help maintain their weight, compared to eating sugary or starchy breakfast foods like cereals and bagels.

“Protein provides a sustained level of energy,” said Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Research has found that women who enjoy adequate protein at breakfast are more successful with weight loss and weight management programs.”

While having eggs, an excellent source of high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are important for heart-health, for breakfast isn’t always doable for women and families on the go. Thankfully there are other great sources of protein and healthy fats you can try to give your breakfast a boost:

Protein powder: Protein powders come in various forms including, whey, soy, egg and pea. Whey is most commonly used because it is water-soluble and is a complete protein, containing all nine amino acids necessary for dietary needs, according to WebMD. They aren’t necessary for women eating foods that include lean protein, like eggs, yogurt, and some cheeses, but can be a great way to add protein to breakfast smoothies. Try blending fresh veggies, fruit, and a scoop of powder as a recovery drink after a workout or for a quick breakfast.

Chia seeds: Chia seeds come from a plant that is a member of the mint family, and are believed to have been a staple in Aztec diets, according to Sheth. They provide protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc and are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and fiber—all important nutrients for optimal health, brain function, and bone strength. Research also suggests that chia seeds may have positive heart-health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, Sheth said. The seeds can be enjoyed raw or as part of a meal, by adding them to your oatmeal, yogurt or breakfast smoothies. They can even be added to plain water, Sheth said.

Flax Seeds: A great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, flax seeds may also help lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation and help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, Sheth said. Add them to your breakfast by sprinkling ground flax seeds on your cereal or yogurt or add a drizzle of flaxseed oil to your smoothie or oatmeal.

Check out some great healthy breakfast recipes here!