Image by: Jim Whimpey
By Harper Finch
Protein is one of the necessary building blocks for a healthy diet. Eating a healthy breakfast that is high in protein gives you the energy you need to take on your day and affects your energy levels later on. It also helps you feel satisfied for the whole morning because our bodies digest protein slowly.
Researchers at the University of Missouri compared the brain scans of people who skipped breakfast to those of people who ate an average amount of protein and those who ate a high-protein breakfast. They found that eating a protein-rich breakfast reduces the brain signals that control food motivation and reward-driven eating behaviors. Their findings showed that a protein-rich breakfast helps control your appetite and prevents overeating.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
Before we get into breakfast options, let’s figure out how much protein you need per day. The amount is specific to everyone, since it is based on weight and how much you exercise. Sedentary women need 0.8 grams per kg of body weight. Here are some general guidelines if you’re not interested in doing the math yourself:
- Sedentary women:
If you are 125 pounds (57 kg), you need 46 grams.
If you are 150 pounds (68 kg), you need 54 grams.
If you are 200 pounds (91 kg), you need 73 grams.
If you are an athlete, you need more protein. Endurance runners and strength-training athletes should double those protein intake values. Moderate exercisers should estimate based on this range.
Now, let’s get to some meal ideas…
#1) Supercharged Oatmeal
Oatmeal is quick, easy, and great for you. It takes a few extra minutes, but you should avoid instant oatmeal and make your own in the morning. Most breakfast grains are refined, but oatmeal is a whole grain so it is fiber rich. It is also carbohydrate-rich, so it provides energy, and it has been proven to reduce cholesterol.
But, let’s get back to how to make your oatmeal “supercharged”. One cup of oatmeal has 6 grams of protein all by itself. Adding 1/2 cup of skim milk adds another 4 grams of protein. But I like to add chopped walnuts and flax seed. These make it so tasty that even my kids will eat it. 1 ounce of walnuts adds another 4 grams of protein and 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed adds another 1.5 grams.
This breakfast will keep you full all morning long and packs in a total of 15.5 grams of protein.
Image by: Jellaluna
#2) Canadian Bacon and Cheese Omelet
Eggs are a great source of vitamin A, iron, and calcium. And one large egg packs in 6 grams of protein. Adding an ounce of grated cheddar cheese gives you another 7 grams (plus more calcium). The two ounces of Canadian bacon adds a whopping 12 grams of protein. You can even add some fresh vegetables and a side of fruit for an extra nutritional boost.
If you make a two-egg omelet, your final protein count for this breakfast will be 31 grams! That’s as much as a protein shake, but without the weird after-taste.
Image by: Neeta Lind
#3) Peanut Butter Toast and Cottage Cheese
In a hurry because you over-slept? Don’t grab a donut in the break room. Make this your late-for-work breakfast instead. So, let’s start the protein count… Two slices of whole grain bread contain 7 grams of protein. Nuts are a great source of protein. Thus, two tablespoons of peanut butter packs in about 8 grams. I like to top my peanut butter toast with some drizzled honey, which doesn’t add any protein, but gives you a little bit of that sweetness that you might be craving in the morning.
Cottage cheese has more protein per serving than any other dairy product, including eggs or milk. 1/2 cup has 16 grams.
Your total protein count for this quick and easy breakfast: 31 grams.
Image by: Coley Cheng
Have a Great Breakfast
These breakfast ideas should be quick and easy enough to make sure you never skip breakfast, and avoid reaching for a sugary replacement. Breakfast is also the perfect time to work in a serving or two of whole grains, which are rich in fiber, and work with the protein to make you feel satisfied until lunch time.