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BEST BREAKFAST OPTIONS: Fruit yoghurt offers some protein and calcium but it can also offer 20-30g of sugars and less than half the protein of a couple of eggs. If you love your yoghurt, the best yoghurt option is a Greek yoghurt, in particular the ones that contain no added sugar and clock in at almost 20g of protein in a single serve.
Smoothies can be a great breakfast options as long as you get the right mix of ingredients to avoid a complete calorie overload. Start with some fruit and vegetables, add your favourite milk and then remember that you need one other high-protein ingredient to make it a balanced meal – think Greek yoghurt or protein powder.
Often forgotten, the humble baked bean is a nutrient powerhouse and contains a near perfect mix of carbs and proteins in a single serve. Eat them out of the tin; make your own at home or team a small can with some wholegrain bread and cheese for a yummy, protein- and fibrerich breakfast jaffle.
Whether you enjoy them hard boiled, poached with a slice or two of wholegrain toast or in an omelette it is the 16-plus grams of protein found in a couple of eggs along with more than 20 other key nutrients that truly make them a superfood. When it comes to weight loss, it is known that consuming 20g of high-quality protein helps to control insulin levels, the hormone that controls fat metabolism in the body, and this is just one of the reasons eggs for breakfast are so closely linked to weight control.
Many of the breakfasts we pick up on the run are much higher in carbohydrates than they are protein – think muffins, banana bread, smoothies. On the other hand, a small wholegrain wrap filled with smoked salmon, lean turkey or ham or cottage cheese is a perfect mix of carbs and proteins and you can even add in some salad for extra fibre and bulk. A breakfast wrap is also an option you can prepare the night before and enjoy on the way to work or the gym.
WHAT ABOUT THE COFFEE?
Our love of the latte and flat white has significantly impacted the make-up of our breakfast. A regular milk-based coffee contains a similar number of calories as a slice of toast, and while the milk can be a nutritious addition, the increase in sweet, plant-based milks commonly used by baristas can mean that you are getting a hit of added sugar with your morning brew without realising it. Replacing food in the morning with a milk coffee means you run the risk of delaying your morning hunger so you don’t feel hungry until mid to late morning, when we are more likely to grab a sweet snack to take us through until lunchtime. Or, adding a large coffee to your regular breakfast can easily blow out your breakfast calories. So, if you love your morning brew, remember a milk coffee is equal to a slice of toast and adjust your breakfast portions accordingly. Opt for small size coffees and ask for unsweetened plant-based milks if they are your preference. Black coffee and piccolos are also relatively low in calories. pastries and baked goods, while we may not consider the quick breakfast that we grab on the go a substantial meal, nutritionally these breakfast options are packed full of fat, calories and sugars.
Getting your breakfast balance right
The key to ensuring your breakfast is keeping your dietary goals on track is to make sure that you have the right balance, a balance that will appropriately fuel your body, but keep glucose levels controlled and your hunger managed, ideally until lunchtime.
1 Start with good quality carbs
Adding some wholegrain low GI carbs to your breakfast mix is the best way to help replenish your body after the overnight fast, and ensure your brain and muscles have all the energy they need to be at their best. If cereal is your thing look out for low-sugar granola options or oats. Fresh fruit is a great option and there are a growing number of lower-carb breads in supermarkets that combine wholegrain goodness will fewer carbs than white breads and wraps.
2 Focus on protein
One of the most powerful things you can do to ensure your breakfast keeps you full for several hours is make sure you include 20g of good quality protein in your breakfast mix. A couple of eggs, a serve of Greek yoghurt, smoked salmon or high-protein breads are all easy ways to boost the protein content of your breakfast.
3 Add some vegies
Few of us get the recommended number of vegetable serves each day, and breakfast can easily contribute to that total. Think sliced tomato on toast, grated vegies added to egg dishes or vegies blended into juices and smoothies for an extra fibre and vitamin boost.
4 Don’t forget the good fats
Goods fats that come from a range of foods including olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and peanut butter not only offer a range of key nutrients, but adding some good fat to a meal helps to ensure that you will be kept fuller for longer. Avocado works well with toast and smoothies, as do nuts and seeds. In particular 100% nut spreads add good fats and protein to toast, smoothies and breakfast baking while also adding plenty of taste and flavour. Aim to add at least 1 serve of good fat to your favourite go-to breakfast of choice.