Can we talk about protein for a minute?
Because there is a serious problem going on, especially with women. Let's face it -- we ladies are not usually the ones who spend time perusing shelves of mysterious protein powders promising instant bodybuilding results. Our mainstream magazines talk about calories, not nutrition, and even the most health-conscious among us are more likely to start the day with a juice than with a good source of protein. Vegetarian, vegan and omnivorous women alike may not get a good quality blast of protein until dinnertime.
Let me be the one to sound the alarm bell: That is not enough!
So why is protein so important, anyway? That's easy -- it forms the building blocks our bodies need to do everything they need to do.
Protein is vital for:
- Enzymes: The worker bees in our body- enzymes - do their thing. Enzymes are made of protein
- Our blood - red and white blood cells are made of protein
- Our immune health - back to those white blood cells!
- Our nervous system health - Stabilize that blood sugar!
- Weight management - protein burns efficiently and helps us feel satiated after meals.
- Muscle and tissue health and repair - as all of this is made of protein, when we repair and heal, we need to top up the balance.
- Shiny hair and beautiful skin - again, both made of protein. The shine and glow comes from within (not from gold laced creams)
Mainstream health advice has taught women that protein is important for men, but not for us. But last time I checked, we ladies had blood, nervous systems, muscles and tissues, too. Besides -- there's nothing like protein to help moderate appetite, ditch cravings, balance hormones and moderate weight. Despite what the commercial says, that low-cal, sugar-packed cereal just won't cut it.
So let's ditch that nonsense and start to power up our breakfasts and our lives with protein-filled deliciousness. Are you with me?
5 Fast Ways to Get More Protein At Breakfast
1. Protein power your morning shake.
Smoothies are amazing in that they allow us to get plenty of fruits and veggies in a fast and easy format. But don't forget about the protein! Protein powders are a great place to start (I like Genuine Health's Fermented Vegans Protein+, since the fermentation power makes it easy to digest), but don't stop there. Other protein-rich smoothie ingredients include soaked almonds, flax seeds, spirulina, sprouts, hemp seeds, nut or seed butters -- the list goes on and on!
Try this: Easy Peasy 5-Day Smoothie
2. Think outside the breakfast box.
Just because it's breakfast time doesn't mean you need to eat breakfast food. Many main course dishes are great sources of protein and are easy to batch cook in advance. Why not start your day with a nice warm bowl of chili with veggies and protein-packed beans, lentils and organic grass-fed meat (if you eat it)? Make a big batch in advance and freeze in single-serving mason jars. The night before, just pop a frozen jar in your fridge. A few minutes heating up on the stove the next morning and your breakfast is done.
Try this: Beaneriffic Chili
3. Power up your porridge.
It's easy to turn that bowl of oatmeal into a protein-powered porridge. Oats are already a pretty good source of protein, but you can make them even better by topping with sliced almonds, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, toasted sunflower seeds, or all of the above! Forgo the maple syrup and top with homemade almond milk and a spoonful of nut butter.
Try this: Coconut Buckwheat Porridge
4. Boost up your baked goods.
Grabbing a homemade, gluten-free muffin on the way out the door is a quick and easy breakfast, but it can easily be a protein-rich one, too. Consider starting with flours that are higher in protein, such as quinoa flour, almond flour or oat flour. Adding ingredients like ground flaxseeds, nuts and seeds can also provide a protein boost. And when you're ready to eat your muffin, spread a bit of almond butter on it before rushing out the door. Easy peasy!
Try this: Chia Pumpkin Muffins
5. Toss the coffee.
I know, I know -- you love your coffee. It's tasty. It gives you an energy boost. But by making your own protein-powered, coffee-free lattes at home, you'll get all the deliciousness and energy with none of the adverse effects. Some hot water in the high-powered blender along with a bit of raw cacao, some protein-packed hemp seeds, a bit of raw honey and some Dandy Blend (or other gluten-free coffee replacement) is all you need.
Try this: Morning Choco-Latte
How are you planning to power up tomorrow's breakfast?