To be a high-performer or a hybrid athlete, you have to give yourself the fuel to perform.
Everything you eat plays a role in how you feel, think, and perform. That’s why it’s important to have a balanced diet filled with nutrient-rich foods providing the energy and nutrients you need to maximize your performance. In fact, health professionals often say that 70% of weight loss is due to making fundamental dietary changes and 30% from exercise.
For us, it’s how you start your day that sets the tone.
We’re still firm believers that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” although it’s a statement that brings controversy.
Everyone has an opinion on it: the intermittent fasters, the cereal and high-carb group, the smoothie gang, it goes on and on. All with valid opinions and insights.
But there’s one meal that recent research and personal experience unanimously agree on.
A high-protein breakfast.
So, why eat a high-protein meal in the morning?
High-protein breakfasts benefit everyone, from the health-conscious looking to burn fat and lose weight to those looking to put on muscle.
In the book, he shared that his father lost 23 lbs in 2 months, with only 6 of that coming in the second month. He wanted to continue losing fat, so he began eating 30g of protein in the morning within 30 minutes of waking in month 3.
He dropped another 19lbs.
This is just one example of the benefits in action.
So, why is a high-protein breakfast so beneficial? Let’s take a look.
Benefits of a High-Protein Breakfast
Protein is an essential macro-nutrient for recovery, weight loss, muscle gain, and overall well-being, and recent studies show that protein first thing in the morning supports:
Muscle Protein Synthesis
Protein synthesis is a process that repairs muscle fibers and encourages muscle growth.
Our muscles have an internal clock gene called BMAL, which plays a crucial role in protein synthesis. This gene fluctuates throughout the day, but protein synthesis is found to be more active in the morning.
In other words, our muscles are more receptive to incorporating proteins consumed earlier in the day into muscle tissue than proteins consumed later in the day.
Protein at any time is beneficial. However, eating quality proteins with breakfast will maximize muscle protein synthesis and support muscle maintenance and hypertrophy (growth).
Thermic Effect of Food
Protein is known to have a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates or fats.
The thermic effect of food refers to the energy expenditure required to digest, absorb, and process nutrients. Since protein demands more energy during digestion and metabolism, consuming protein-rich meals can increase our metabolic rate temporarily.
This higher metabolic rate can contribute to weight loss by burning additional calories.
*Side Note: The combination of muscle protein synthesis & thermal effect of food is critical for fat loss. The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism, the easier it is to burn fat.
Lower Blood Pressure
Eating more protein has shown to lower blood pressure.
In a review of 40 controlled trials, increased protein in the morning lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number of a blood pressure reading) by 1.76 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 1.15 mm Hg.
Allegra Picano, RDN, a registered dietitian at Henry Ford Health, says that “after a high-protein breakfast, your blood sugar can remain low for up to four hours.”
In contrast, starting the day with refined carbs (e.g. pastries, breakfast cereals) sends the blood surging. That causes you to feel tired and hungry as the day goes on.
Reducing high blood pressure, a major cause of cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, and stroke, can help to extend your life and improve its quality.
Another interesting benefit of consuming a higher protein meal early in the day is its appetite-suppressing effect.
Research suggests that protein has a greater impact on reducing hunger and promoting satiety compared to carbohydrates or fats. By starting our day with a protein-rich breakfast, we experience decreased cravings and feel fuller for longer, leading to reduced overall calorie intake throughout the day.
Studies suggest that the more protein you consume, the longer the effect may last. This is because protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates.
Well, the proof is in the pudding (hopefully, a high-protein pudding). Start your mornings with a protein-rich breakfast and reap the rewards.
Make Protein the Michael Jordan of Your Complete Breakfast
Choosing high-protein does not mean cutting out carbs and fat entirely. However, making protein the star of the show each and every morning will help you reach your goals.
However, It’s still okay to eat carbs and fat in moderation with breakfast. In fact, high protein, moderate healthy fat, and low carb meals in the morning have resulted in the greatest impact on the production of dopamine, acetylcholine, and epinephrine for energy, alertness, & recovery.
So, yes, make protein your Michael Jordan, healthy fats your Scotty Pippen, and carbs your Dennis Rodman, and maybe you, too, can win back-to-back-to-back NBA championships.
Examples of high-protein breakfasts:
Now that we know the benefits of having a high-protein breakfast let’s look at some easy and delicious breakfast options to kick off your day with at least 20g of protein:
3-Egg Omelette (22g Protein)
Whisk 3 eggs, add chopped vegetables or lean meat like turkey bacon, and cook in a nonstick skillet. Enjoy with some whole grain toast or fruit for a complete breakfast.
Steak & Eggs (30g Protein)
Season 5 ounces of steak with salt & pepper and cook in a nonstick skillet. Serve with 2 fried eggs, fresh fruit, and whole-grain toast for a hearty breakfast.
Greek Yogurt Parfait (24g Protein)
Mix together 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt, ½ cup of fresh berries, and a tablespoon of honey. Top with granola or nuts for an extra crunch.
Overnight Oats with Protein Powder (40g Protein)
Mix oats, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and your favorite protein powder. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning.
Eggs & Cottage Cheese (26g Protein)
Scramble 2 eggs and mix with ½ cup of cottage cheese and your favorite herbs. Enjoy with a piece of toast or sliced fruit.
High-Protein Yogurt Bowl (28g Protein)
Mix a scoop of protein powder with Greek yogurt and top with cinnamon, peanut butter, nuts, or honey. This is a great option for those who don’t have the time to cook in the morning.
Protein Shake (24g Protein)
For those on the go, a protein shake is an easy and delicious way to get your morning fill of protein. Blend up your favorite powder with almond or oat milk, banana, and ice for a sweet treat!
Quick ways to add protein to your breakfast:
- Include a source of lean protein like steak, smoked salmon, turkey bacon, or deli ham
- Add nuts or seeds to your breakfast bowl or omelette
- Use Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or quinoa to boost the protein content of your breakfast
- Add in a scoop of protein powder for an extra 20g+ of protein with minimal added calories
These are just a few examples of starting your day with the protein you need to stay full and energized. With some creativity and planning, making a tasty, high-protein breakfast part of your morning routine is easy.
Ingesting protein early in the day will help you achieve weight loss, muscle gain, and overall improved health. So, consider replacing your current breakfast with a protein-rich version.
Give it a try, observe the changes in your overall health, and let us know your experience!