By now we’re so used to hearing about another study proving the benefits of eating breakfast that most of us don’t even listen anymore. We already know how important it is to start the day off with something substantial and most of us have a pretty good grasp of why - even if we sometimes forget.
Protein first thing
But a recent study caught my eye because it focused specifically on the positive effect that eating protein at breakfast has on our long-term appetite and weight. Researchers in Columbia, USA, found that people eating a generous portion of protein first thing (as opposed to carbohydrate loaded breakfast cereals) had increased feelings of satiety (feeling full) and improved hormone levels - more leptin that makes us feel satisfied and less ghrelin that make us feel hungry. So they snacked less, consumed less calories during the day and lost weight.
But be careful what kind!
Naturally this all makes perfect sense – it’s no secret that protein (and fat) take longer to digest and keep us feel fuller longer. That’s one reason I recommend people always aim for balanced meals – carbs, fats and protein. But what bothers me about this study is the type of protein people were eating for breakfast – sausages, egg waffles and beef burritos! It’s obvious that the long-term negative health effects of eating animal protein loaded in saturated fats are going to outweigh any short-term positive effects on our appetite. But what were we to expect since The Beef Checkoff and the Egg Nutrition Center/American Egg Board supplied the funds to complete the study!
Hard on the system
Anyway, who’s seriously got the time to prepare, let alone eat these things - apart from maybe at the weekend? For most of us, mornings have become a frenzied rush, which means that thinking up and producing the ideal healthy breakfast for everyone can be a real challenge - let alone actually sitting down to enjoy it. All this puts major stress on our digestive system and greatly interferes with our ability to absorb the necessary nutrients from our food - we might not be getting enough of the proper nutrients we need from our food (or supplements) for good health. After all its not just what we eat – it’s what we absorb.
A better way
But before we throw up our hands and reach for the breakfast cereal, let’s consider another option. SMOOTHIES are an easy and effective way for the whole family to get all the breakfast protein they need (not to mention a vast array of other important nutrients). Plant protein (such as Hemp powder and Spirulina) can be used to provide a healthier alternative to animal protein, plus the liquid consistency gives us a head start on digestion so that we easily absorb all available nutrients from whatever foods we choose to make them with. Texture, taste and colour can be varied to appeal to all ages and taste buds. Simple and quick to prepare and consume, you’ll be surprised how quickly whizzing up a smoothie or two becomes part of your new breakfast routine!
Check out this clever kitchen smoothie for your healthy breakfast protein fix!
Super Clean Green Smoothie
- 2 cups coconut water
- ½ cup frozen spinach
- 1 pear (or use a peach in summer)
- 1 Kiwi
- Juice of 1 lime
- ¼ of an avocado
- 1 Tbsp. wheatgrass powder, hemp powder, spirulina or other protein powder.
- 2 pitted dates (optional- for a sweeter version)
- Small slice of ginger
- Optional; 1 tbsp. Maca powder
Put all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and whizz to a smooth consistency. Pour into a glass, sprinkle with desiccated coconut on top, and finish with a strawberry on the side of the glass.