weight loss

21 Ways to Get in More Protein with Breakfast

 
21 Ways to Get in More Protein at Breakfast.png
 

Personally, I always try to include a source of protein at breakfast. I know when I start my day with cereal or zucchini bread I'm usually hungry pretty soon after or find myself snacking throughout the day. Besides building muscle, our bodies need protein for about a trillion other daily functions and processes. But did you know that starting your day with a good source of protein may even help you reach your weight loss goals?

More are more studies are coming out showing the benefits of starting your day with some protein. Having a protein rich meal for breakfast can help to keep you full longer, prevent snacking later in the day, and may even aid in weight loss and help to decrease fat mass. Protein is more satisfying and filling than a meal that is heavy in refined carbs because it takes longer to digest and helps control our blood sugars. Studies have shown, that those who start with protein at breakfast are less hungry and snack less throughout the day.

Our bodies can only digest up to about 30 grams of protein at a time, so anything over that is not necessary (check your protein shakes). To find out your daily protein needs you can use the following equation:

(weight in lbs / 2.2 = weight in kg)

weight in kg x 0.8

This equation gives you your minimum daily protein requirements. For those who are more active, are over 65, or are sick or injured I would multiply by 1.0 to 1.2.

One of the best things about being a dietitian is the dietitian community. It's seriously the best. Everyone is so supportive and wants to see each other succeed. I reached out to our wonderful community to compile the following list of healthy, higher in protein, breakfast recipes. Below are 21 healthy recipes to bulk up the protein in your morning meals to help you stay full longer, feel more satisfied, prevent snacking later in the day, and possibly help shed a few pounds. Let me know which ones you try!


Smoothies

Banana Dates & Tahini Smoothie

Dixya Bhattarai, RD

Banana Pear Shamrock Smoothie

Samara Abbott, RD

Shamrock Smoothie: 18 grams of protein

Kid-Approved Tropical Green Smoothie

Sarah Remmer, RD

Cherry Amaranth Almond Smoothie

Judy Barbe, RD


Grains

Power Pancakes

Ingrid Anderson, RD

Power Pancakes: 18 grams of protein (15-20 with Greek yogurt)

Flourless Chocolate Lentil Protein Muffins

Sarah Renner, RD

Banana Nut Eggy Oats

Kelsey Lorencz, RD

Sorghum Berry Breakfast Bowl

Sharon Palmer, RD

Breakfast Bowl: 11 grams of protein

Berry Cardamom Baked Oatmeal

Judy Barbe, RD

Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes

Brittany Poulson, RD

PB Pancakes: 13 grams of protein


Eggs

5 Minute Egg Bake

Josten Fish, RD

Healthy Egg Muffins

Jenna Gorham, RD

Veggie Quiche Patties

Liz Weiss, RD

Veggie Quiche: 16 grams of protein (in 3 patties)

Mini Spinach & Sweet Potato Frittata

Jodi Danen, RD

Basic Vegetable Frittata Muffins

Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan

Frittata Muffins: 11 grams of protein (in 2 muffins)

Low Carb Egg Cups

Lara Clevenger, RD


Other

Chocolate Peanut Butter High Protein Breakfast Sundae

E.a. Stewart, RD

2 Ingredient Egg White Pancake

Kelli Shallal, RD

2 Ingredient Pancakes: 21 grams of protein

8 High Protein Breakfasts

Jill Castle, RD

Black Forest Chia Pudding

Julie Harrington, RD

Greek Yogurt Parfait with Cereal and Pan-Roasted Grapes

Amy Gorin, RD

Parfait: 17 grams of protein

Should you Be Drinking Coconut Water?

The one stop shop for clear skin, improved mood, weight loss, hydration, better blood pressure . . . ? Why not?


Food fads come and go but coconut water seems to stick around. With health claims like, ‘get delicate, baby soft skin,’ or ‘lose those extra pounds and look fabulous,’ how can it not?

Let’s dig a little deeper to find out the truth about this coconut water cure-all.


Clear Skin

Unfortunately, there is no direct connection between coconut water and skin health. However, hydration is very important for our skin. Coconut water is also a decent source of vitamin C (9% daily value in 1 cup) which is important in collagen synthesis and can prevent our skin from sun damage. So, while coconut water alone may not prevent our skin from aging, it does have properties that can benefit our skin.

Weight Loss

I’ve seen coconut water hyped as the key to weight loss. This seems to be a little misleading. Unfortunately, there is no one food or drink that will magically make you shed weight or cure all of life's problems (sorry!). Yes, coconut water is a healthier alternative to soda. So, if you are drinking excessive amounts of soda- coconut water, regular water, seltzer, or kombucha would all save you calories and sugar and may contribute to weight loss.

I've also seen claims that the fiber in coconut water helps to fill you up and aid in weight loss. While yes, fiber does help to fill you up, coconut water does not actually contain fiber.

Lower Blood Pressure, Prevent Heart Disease

Coconut water is high in potassium, with anywhere between 400 and 700mg per bottle. Potassium is an electrolyte and is important for muscle function (including the heart) and water balance. Studies have linked diets high in sodium (processed foods) and low in potassium (fruits and vegetables) to increased blood pressure. While we do know there is a connection between diet, sodium, potassium and heart health - it may be stretching the truth to say drinking coconut water will lower your blood pressure and prevent heart disease. Many Americans do not consume enough fruits and vegetables and if coconut water is something you enjoy it is a great way to increase the potassium in your diet.

 

Mood Booster

Magnesium plays a large role in maintaining normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Coconut water does contain a decent source of magnesium and magnesium deficiency has been linked with depression (here).

 

Hydrates Better Than Water

There is no research supporting this claim. If you are dehydrated you would need to drink a significant amount of coconut water (or regular water) to rehydrate- if you can tolerate large quantities, have at it.

 

Post-Workout Recovery

Coconut water is marketed as the perfect post-workout recovery drink. This is because it contains electrolytes and is especially high in potassium. This is great, except when we sweat we are mostly losing sodium, not so much potassium. After a workout, our bodies need water, carbohydrates, protein, and some sodium (especially after a good sweat).

 

 

Bottom Line:

Coconut water is a great alternative to soda and other sweetened beverages or even fruit juice. It contains no added sugars and is low in calories and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. Some of the claims we hear tend to stretch the truth, so while there are some health benefits it’s misleading to think that coconut water is your key to weight loss, heart health, and clear skin. If you like the taste of coconut water, enjoy, but a glass of water and a banana provide similar benefits (for a fraction of the cost).  

Should You Be Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar?

 
apple cider vinegar health benefits
 

I’ve been asked by multiple people lately my thoughts on apple cider vinegar – will it help me lose weight? Is it good for me? Do you drink it before meals? I tend to question food fads because no one food is a quick fix for all our ailments. I did a little research and here is what I found.


Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries dating back to the days of Hippocrates and Cleopatra. Back then they used it to treat infections, wounds, and dissolve rocks and minerals. However, as our culture and technology have advanced, most doctors and experts agree that other cleaning agents and wound treatments are safer and more effective at preventing disease and infection.

In regards to the various claims, here is what I think:

Weight Loss

One of the biggest purported claims is that drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before meals will aid in weight loss.

The largest and most cited study involved 175 Japanese, overweight, but otherwise healthy subjects. Over 12 weeks, the subjects drank a beverage with either 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. After 12-weeks, they lost an average of 3 pounds. Checking in with the subjects 4 weeks post-study, they had gained it back.

My Thoughts:

Like any diet, drinking apple cider vinegar for weight loss is not a sustainable weight loss method. The study showed that the subjects who drank apple cider vinegar lost some weight very slowly. If you are very patient and don’t mind drinking vinegar everyday for months this may be a great option for you. If you’re looking for either quicker or more sustainable weight loss, I’d suggest taking a look at your diet as a whole or working with a registered dietitian.

 

Blood Sugar Control

This claim seems to have the most research to support it. Multiple studies have shown that combining vinegar (any type) when eating a starch can lower blood sugar in diabetics. The vinegar seems to work by blocking the absorption of the starch.

My Thoughts: 

Yes, some studies do support this, however, this does not mean that apple cider vinegar can reverse diabetes. If you are taking any medication please consult your doctor as vinegar may interact.

 

Lowers Cholesterol

Most of these studies have been conducted in rats (note: rats are not people) and have shown mixed results. One study showed a relationship between apple cider vinegar consumption and raised HDL (good cholesterol) and lowered LDL (bad cholesterol), while another showed the opposite.

My Thoughts:

If you have high cholesterol, try emphasizing more plants in your diet or work with a registered dietitian for customized recommendations. It seems as though the research is not quite there yet, and I would not rely on this one ‘miracle’ food.

 

Arthritis and Inflammation

There appears to be just anecdotal reports of people claiming to feel better and having less pain from arthritis when drinking apple cider vinegar. Unfortunately, there are not currently any scientific reports supporting this claim. One very small study (30 participants) did measure C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) before and after apple cider vinegar consumption and did not find remarkable results.

My Thoughts: I have a hard time giving recommendations based on purely anecdotal evidence. If you think it works for you, I think that’s just great.

 

Teeth Whitening

Apple cider vinegar is an acid. Putting acid on your teeth will wear away at the enamel and protective layer, leaving them prone to cavities.

My thoughts: Not a good idea.

 

My Recommendation:

Overall, there has not been a significant amount of research done on the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar. Although some studies do suggest promising effects, many should be taken with a grain of salt. Many studies were small sample sizes or even done on rats. The good news is that there is not a huge risk factor of consuming a spoonful of apple cider vinegar, it even contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals (vitamin C, folate, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins). If you do choose to include apple cider vinegar in your diet I would recommend either including it in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, or baked goods, or dilute it in a glass of water – remember it is an acid and it may burn (and tasty pretty nasty) if you drink it by the spoonful.