Many times individuals will ask me how can I get enough protein to start my day, if I do not eat some type of animal proteins for breakfast - such as dairy, eggs, fish, red meat or fowl. Athletes ask the same question, concerned they will not be able to build muscle, or recover from exercise if they are not consuming animal products.
In addition, many individuals get hung up on the fat content or certain breakfast ingredients; like all fats are created equal? The breakfast sample below is higher in calories and vegetable fat then you may think is healthy for one meal. Keep in mind, it is breakfast-breaking the fast to boost blood sugar levels and brain function, as well as optimal muscle response for a busy day.
Think about it - there is no glucose or viable anti-oxidants in bacon, sausage, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, nor butter. However, these food options do contain cholesterol, saturated fat, no fiber, and raise the acid load of our body, not to mention our cholesterol levels.
There are many healthy options for humans, that will provide a perfect package of protein, dietary fats, complex carbohydrates, fiber, that are rich in anti-oxidants, do not raise the acid load to our body, supply fuel that benefit both the brain and skeletal muscle, while keeping our digestive system flowing smoothly.
Can a day begin with breakfast that does not contain animal products and still supply a wallop of protein? Of course. So let’s begin with an example of a protein packed breakfast and set the stage for a great day!
Oatmeal w/ Chia, Almond butter, Pecans & BlueberriesOATMEAL:
Oatmeal is a both a carbohydrate and protein-rich energy source. Studies have found that oatmeal consumed three hours prior to endurance training provides a more steady release of low glycemic carbohydrates, with better free fatty acid release than high glycemic gels and snacks during training and events.
Irish Oatmeal 1/4 cup (dry) 150 calories
Protein: 4 grams; Fat: 2.5 grams; CHO: 27 grams; Fiber: 3 grams
Prized for their ability to provide sustainable energy. The word “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.” 40 percent of Chia seeds weight is fiber. Chia seeds are a concentrated source of anti-oxidants, offering protection against the daily onslaught from free radical damage. Chia seeds are one of the higher plant kingdom sources of usable protein, delivered in an alkaline base.
Chia Seeds (1.8 tbsp.) 105 calories
Protein:4 grams; Fat:9 grams; CHO:12 grams; Fiber:11 grams
Has cardiovascular benefits due to its fiber and fat content. A serving of almond butter (2 tbsp) contains 18 grams of fat, primarily from unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids act on blood cholesterol levels by lowering both total cholesterol and LDL triglycerides. This reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nut fats such as almond butter are an excellent source of free fatty acids in the bloodstream and assist in provide energy.
Almond butter (1 tbsp) 101 calories
Protein: 2.41 grams; Fat: 9.46 grams; CHO: 3.4 grams; Fiber: .6 grams
The amazing nut that boosts digestive health, protects the heart, increases overall energy, has protective effects in preventing and protecting women from breast cancer. Blood pressure lowering effects, promoting anti-inflammatory processes in the body. An excellent source of energy in the production of ATP for physical activity and exercise.
Pecans 1/4 cup 188 calories
Protein: 2.5 grams; Fat: 19.6 grams; CHO: 3.7 grams; Fiber: 2.6 grams
Packed with antioxidants, blueberries contain a wide variety of vitamins, fiber and minerals. Blueberries are known to support the immune system and suppress cells that causes cancer. Studies have proven that blueberries, specifically, have the right chemicals to improve various brain functions, including memory.
Blueberries (1/2 cup) 41 calories
Protein: .54 grams; Fat: 0 grams; CHO: 10.5 grams; Fiber: 1.7 grams
Total calories: 585
Protein: 13.45 grams [alkaline delivery]
Fat: 40.56 grams
CHO: 56.6 grams
Fiber: 18.9 grams
*Net CHO grams is 37.7 –fiber cancels out some of the conversion of CHO’s.
additional protein packed breakfasts IDEAS:
- 1/2 cup Irish or Scottish Oatmeal
- 1/2 cup water of pure filtered water
Cook in pot to simmer, or microwave on high for 3 minutes. After removing from heat add:
- 1/4 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup shredded zucchini
- 1 tablespoons of Tahini butter-fold into hot oatmeal
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup blueberries or blackberries
1/2 cup Oatmeal has 14 grams of protein
1 1/2 tablespoons of hemp seeds has 9 grams protein
1 Tablespoon of Tahini Butter 3 grams of protein
Protein: 26.6 grams; Fat: 22.5 grams; CHO: 33.2 grams; Fiber: 7.4 grams;
Total Calories: 442
Lemon Tofu with Spinach & Chickpea
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Pinch sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup cooked/canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup of Tofu, drained
- Lemon juice
Place one tablespoon of olive oil in fry pan over medium heat, add chickpeas [you have smashed with a fork], along with 2 cups of spinach, stir until chickpeas are browned and spinach is slightly wilted. Make a circle and add smashed tofu into center with lemon juice, add some ground black pepper and salt and allow to cook for 1.5-2 minutes. Take off heat add lemon zest across top.
Protein:17.66 grams; Fat:14.57 grams; CHO:30.7 grams; Fiber:7.0 grams;
Total Calories: 314
Double the portion for hungry athlete and you still have a perfectly balanced meal to supply the major macro nutrients, and a wide variety of anti-oxidants and 691 mgs of Potassium, which is so essential to muscle function.
For additional breakfast ideas check out these 10 Healthy Smoothie Bowls.
Please feel free to share your protein rich, diary free, vegetarian breakfast ideas and recipes below!
References for Further Research:
Fuel for the Brain & Muscle:
More Ideas for Recipes for Healthy Breakfast:
Article Categories: Food & Nutrition Science