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  • Writer's pictureHelen

Protein at Breakfast for Better Health

My breakfast used to consist of porridge in a morning, I thought I was being healthy and having a great meal to set myself up for the day. However I learnt that having oats first thing increases blood sugar, which has an effect on energy levels. As there is minimal protein or fat my blood sugar levels would have shot up and spiked. Breakfast in the UK usually consists of cereal and toast, high in carbohydrates, again not a great way to start the day. Enough protein along with healthy fats, fibre and carbohydrates are key. If you do want porridge, add natural yoghurt and seeds/nuts to include the protein.

Most of us are eating less protein per day than we should. Ideally we should be having 0.8g-1.5g of protein per 1kg of body weight per day, so 60kg would need 60g of protein.That is quite a lot of protein. If you think 1 egg contains around 6g of protein (although eggs contain lots of nutrients and the protein is still a good source). Did you know? The body uses more calories to metabolise protein, compared to fat or carbs. Protein also keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

Your body contains more than 10,000 different proteins. Proteins exist in every body part, from your hair to your brain. Proteins are made up of a combination of molecules called amino acids and your body needs 20 different amino acids to function correctly. It can produce 11 of them, but it must get the final nine from the protein you eat (essential amino acids).

Common signs we are lacking in protein:

  • Brittle hair and nails

  • Feeling weak or hungry, since protein supplies energy and satisfies the appetite

  • Getting sick often without protein to boost the immune system

  • Mood changes or trouble thinking due to fluctuating blood sugar and protein’s effect on the brain’s neurotransmitters (which regulate mood)

  • Stress fractures when bone tissue doesn’t have the protein it needs

  • Muscle weakness, since amino acids are essential for building muscle mass

Starting the day with protein will help with your energy levels, help you feel full for longer and may even help you to lose weight.

Breakfast suggestions:

My breakfast now consists of protein, healthy fats, some vegetables, and some carbohydrates. Examples of breakfasts include:

  • Smoothies - I include nut butter, Greek yoghurt, seeds (flaxseeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds & sunflowers seeds), vegetables, fruit and coconut water.

  • Scrambled eggs (scrambled tofu if vegan) with beans, tomatoes, avocado and sourdough bread.

  • Greek yoghurt with fruit, nuts and seeds.

  • Poached or boiled eggs with mushrooms and spinach and rye bread.

  • Mackerel with spinach on sourdough bread.

  • Frittata with onion, mushrooms and spinach.


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