So you took a shortcut at breakfast today. Instead of taking the time to whip up a healthy, protein rich smoothie or taking an extra 3 minutes to make some creamy, scrambled eggs, you just slathered on some butter on toast or opened a box of cereal. It’s fine! We all have days when we’re not making the most nutritious food choices. Especially when we’re pressed for time. After all, grabbing a piece of toast or eating a bowl of cereal is quick and convenient; and these breakfast items are very easy to prepare. But making a habit out of this isn’t really going to do you any good in the long run. So, here’s why you should spare the extra 5 minutes to incorporate protein into your breakfast.
Not all breads are created equal
The toast that you’re eating probably came from a bag of white bread. Sure, it may have been fortified with Vit. B, or folic acid, dietary fibre, or iron - BUT to make it, you’d have to use “white flour” which is flour stripped of all the good (healthy) stuff before it gets processed into white bread. Sometimes, even bread that is labeled as whole wheat isn’t so healthy. Not if it is loaded with preservatives and has 20 different items in the ingredients list such as added sugars and salt.
The convenience of cereal
Cereals, cereal drinks, and cereal bars are a fun and convenient way to get your breakfast fix without having to cook or prep your meal. They’re instant and readily available.They can also be good sources of fibre, protein, and dairy. But be extra careful! More often than not, these breakfast items are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. You can find an alternative for cereal with the same (or even higher) fibre and protein content without those added sugars.
Protein makes you feel full for longer
You’ve heard this before: protein makes you feel full for longer. Toasts and cereals are mainly refined (and heavily processed) carbohydrates. Carbs are quickly digested into glucose making your blood sugar levels spike and you end up secreting insulin, that fat storing hormone. Once your blood sugar levels drop, your body looks for a way to regulate it, this is why you crave more carbs. It’s a frustrating cycle.
Eating a high protein meal makes you full for longer because protein takes more energy to digest and gives you a feeling of satiety. Protein creates peptides that block triggers that stimulate the desire to eat, thus the feeling of “fullness”.
If your main hurdle is not having enough time to prepare a healthful breakfast in the morning, try something you can prep the night before: protein smoothies are your best bet. Throw in a few berries or some fruit slices with some chia seeds into ziplock bags and put them in the freezer. In the morning, put all the contents of one bag into a blender with a splash of coconut milk, yogurt, or kefir - add in your favourite protein powder and add in 4 ice cubes. Blend, blend, blend, and you’re good to go! Easy, tasty, and healthy!
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