Are you bored with breakfast? Do you need a bit of inspiration to start eating again?
Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight loss. This is because protein regulates blood sugar, fuels you for longer, and uses calories to absorb and metabolize your food. I'm going to show you how to get the protein you need, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favourite “go-to” breakfasts.
For those of you with an autoimmune or leaky gut condition, don't worry. There is something here for you also.
Breakfast Food #1: Eggs
Whole eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food - for good reason!
Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses. Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Together, one whole egg delivers iron vitamins A, D, E,B12 and folate, selenium, lutein and zeaxanthin (prevents macular degeneration) and choline (brain development).
Due to their high protein content (6-8 g depending on size), eggs keep you full for longer, stabilizing blood sugar and insulin.
And you need not worry about cholesterol - the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases. In fact, the American Heart Association says the lutein found in eggs actually helps protect against the progress of early heart disease.
However, how you prepare eggs can negatively impact hearth health. Fried with butter, or served with loads of additional saturated fat, is NOT good for cholesterol. Poached or boiled are best.
When boiling eggs, please don’t cook the yolks at too high of a temperature because that can cause some of the cholesterol to become oxidized. It's the oxidized cholesterol that's heart unhealthy.
If mornings are a rush for you, I recommend simply boiling a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” when you're running short on time. Or you can pre-make some breakfast eggs cups (like the recipe I’ve shared this week).
Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds
Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber and make a great contribution to breakfast. Don’t be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butters, or chia “cereals” with added sugars. I’m talking about real, whole, unsweetened food.
I recommend walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamias, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp and chia seeds. A combination of these plant foods will help quell inflammation and provide you sustenance you need for the morning.
Nuts and seeds are the ultimate fast food if you're running late in the mornings. Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds as you're running out the door; you can nosh on them while you're commuting. You can also prepack containers so it’s one less thing to think about in the morning. And it's so incredibly easy to add a spoonful of nut/seed butter into your morning breakfast smoothie. Peanut butter powder doesn't count.
Hint: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings, try making one with nut or seed butter. Just add your regular hot tea and a tablespoon or two of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy.
Vegetarian? You can also add chia or hemp seeds to your morning smoothie, toast or cereal. Chia and hemp are high in protein (5g per tablespoon). Chia is higher in fibre (10g per tablespoon), so make sure you are taking water when consuming.
Breakfast Food #3: Veggies
You already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast, but this also applies to veggies. You know I would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right?
Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water. You can't go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don't already you should definitely try them for breakfast! Kale, chard, spinach, spinach, parsley, pumpkin and squash are amazing additions to smoothies and eggs.
And no, you don't need to have a salad or roasted veggies for breakfast if you don't want to (but you totally can)! You wouldn't be breaking any “official” breakfast rules or anything like that.
Adding some protein to leftover veggies is a great combination for any meal. Including breakfast. And sometimes I've been known just to have a cup of vegetable soup for breakfast. Sounds odd, but I have to tell you, it's warming, nourishing and perfectly o.k.!
Breakfast Food #4 - AIP
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of research around autoimmune and paleo diets for both personal and professional reasons. For those with an autoimmune condition or leaky gut, breakfast can be difficult. Eggs, nuts, seeds, dairy or grains are not permitted. Wow. What does one eat?
If you fall in this category, here are five of my favourite, quick breakfast ideas.
Protein shake with collagen or bone broth protein powder + carrageenan-free coconut milk (portable). Throw in some avocado or coconut oil, a little bit of fruit, some greens and ginger and it's a nutrition-packed meal.
Grain and sugar free breakfast sausages with greens in a coconut or spinach live wrap (portable). Noah's sells turkey breakfast sausages that meet the requirements. I also make my own breakfast patties (turkey + apple slices + spices).
Sweet potato slices with avocado (a substitution for toast) - while low on protein, it is high on healthy fats
Cassava waffles with tigernut spread (a substitution for pancakes)
Bone broth and vegetable soup (can sip in the car)
These breakfast foods are slowly becoming my norm – they work and they taste good. Most are higher in protein and healthy fats, with the exception of waffles. But that's o.k. It's all about experimenting and rounding out meals to include a little of all food groups to keep us balanced throughout the day.