Dietitian Susie Burrell on the nutrients we don’t get enough of at breakfast

What did you eat for breakfast this morning? A slice of toast? Your favorite coffee and a pastry? Or did you sit down to a hearty mix of eggs, toast, and juice?

Whatever your favorite breakfast, breakfast is still an important way to refuel after overnight fasting and provide a range of important nutrients, including B vitamins and dietary fiber.

There’s also a tip for balancing your breakfast and a tip that will set you up for long-term appetite and calorie balance.

The foods we think of when we think of breakfast tend to be high carbohydrate foods – toast, breakfast cereals, bagels, oats, juices and smoothies.

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There is also a tip for balancing your breakfast. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Great for energy, carbohydrate-rich foods help refuel muscles and the brain after overnight fasting. But these popular breakfast foods can be low in protein, which means they can raise glucose levels relatively quickly after consumption.

The problem with this is that glucose spikes after eating, especially for those with glucose regulation issues, are inevitably followed by sugar dips, cravings and hunger within an hour or two after breakfast. .

On the other hand, breakfast options that offer 20-30g of protein have a number of nutritional benefits.

First, because protein is digested more slowly than carbs, protein-rich breakfasts such as eggs, Greek yogurt, and protein toast help us stay full longer after eating.

The other key factor that appears to play a direct role in appetite control is that a number of protein-rich breakfast foods, including eggs and dairy products, also offer 2-3 g amino acid, leucine.

Leucine has been shown to play a key role in controlling insulin levels in the body. As insulin is the hormone that regulates fat metabolism, breakfasts high in protein and high in dietary leucine are likely to be particularly satisfying options, keeping hunger in check throughout the morning.

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crupet breakfast
Popular high-carb breakfasts often contain less protein. (Getty)

Leucine is found in highest concentrations in foods of animal origin. An ideal serving would be two eggs, 25-30g of whey protein powder, 150g of lean beef or chicken, or 250g of Greek or protein yogurt.

In plant foods it’s trickier, with 12 slices of wholemeal bread needed to provide 2g of leucine, although a cup of whole grains like oats or legumes provides around 1g of leucine.

So if you regularly find yourself reaching for the jar of cookies at work at 10 or 11 a.m., here are some of the most nutritious, high-protein breakfast options that will help you keep your morning appetite in check. .

Eggs with anything

Eggs may seem like a time-consuming option, but you can find ready-made egg mixes that can be turned into an omelet in minutes.

Using hard-boiled eggs is even faster. You can boil your eggs ahead of time and store them in the fridge for up to a week, then enjoy them mashed on crackers or toast, or chopped and made into a wrap with a little salad.

Either way, you’ll have cooked yourself breakfast with over 16g of high-quality, value-for-money protein.

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Traditional breakfast
Adding eggs to your breakfast staples is a great option for more protein. (Getty)


Smoothies are another tasty breakfast option that can be made ahead and stored. Just add high-protein Greek yogurt, milk or even an egg or protein powder to your favorite fruit blend and your breakfast smoothie has over 20g of protein. Or even better, a green smoothie will give you a few servings of veggies, without you even realizing it.

Frittata Muffins

For the more organized among us, making frittata muffins for breakfast is not only exceptionally easy, but also another high-protein option. Additionally, you can add lean ham, smoked salmon, or bacon to your egg mixture to further boost the protein content, as well as many additional vegetables such as shredded zucchini, spinach, and mushrooms.

Protein-rich toast

There is a growing range of high protein bread and roll options available in supermarkets which can contain up to 24g of plant protein in a single serving. This translates your favorite peanut butter or Vegemite toast into a hearty breakfast option, or a nutritionally much better toast. Plus, you can keep bread in the freezer at home or at work so you always have a supply on hand.

Smoked salmon wrap

With almost 2g of leucine per 100g serving, reduced-salt smoked salmon, enjoyed with your favorite whole-grain toast or wrap and salad, is a delicious omega-3-rich breakfast option. , easy to make ahead and eat on the go.

Author Susie Burrel is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of shape meco-host of The nutritional couch podcast and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in print and television commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.

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