Boost your day with a high protein & fat breakfast
The most efficient way to rapidly improve your energy level during the whole day is to start it with a high-protein fatty breakfast, preferably a salty one. So changing progressively your breakfast can change your day and your life in the long term.
The body needs proteins to produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine and noradrenaline in the beginning of the morning to wake you up and keep you focused and motivated to accomplish your tasks throughout the day with enthusiasm. Good quality proteins may be found in free-range and organic eggs, fish, cured unprocessed meats, cheese and legumes.
Healthy fat supplied in the morning will fuel you with energy that can be burned off throughout the day. It is one of the best moments of the day to have it because our body is more capable of using it to produce energy instead of storing it, thanks to a higher secretion of enzymes transforming fat into energy. Some of the most interesting healthy fats are the Omega-3 fats. These can be found in freshly grounded linseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, rapeseed oil, fish, eggs from linseed fed hens, and Iberian Ham from free-range acorn-fed Iberian pigs. Extra virgin olive oil, avocado and tree nuts are also sources of healthy fats to be added to your breakfast.
Carbohydrates from highly nutritional bread and cereals may be consumed but in a much lower proportion than in the usual western breakfast. So, when you will prepare your next morning toast or sandwich think about reversing the proportions in order to have more protein filling than bread.
For those who struggle eating a salty breakfast, porridge made with oat, healthy fat sweetened with fresh or dried fruits and spices might still be a healthy option.
Experiment the effects of changing your breakfast
If you are currently having the kind of typical western breakfast full of carbohydrates such as the so-called “breakfast cereals”, white bread or pastries, be gentle with yourself and try to progressively introduce more proteins and fat in your breakfast and/or try it a few days a week. Consider it as an experiment and observe your energy levels, your cravings for sweet foods and your mood throughout the day.
You do not feel hungry in the morning?
If you do not feel hungry early in the morning, do not force yourself to eat, but do not skip your breakfast neither. Maybe your body needs more time to start feeling hungry.
So try to have it later and maybe take it at work. You can also try to have part of your breakfast at home or while commuting, and then the rest at work in order to avoid feeling too hungry when you arrive at work. Nevertheless, try to have your breakfast 3-4 hours before your lunch and have it by around 10-11 am to avoid a sugar drop.
Another trick coming from ayurveda to feel naturally hungry for breakfast is to drink water when you waken, preferably warm to flush out the toxins accumulated overnight and get your digestive juices flowing. You can add some honey and a squeeze of lemon if you’d like.
Healthy protein sources
Eggs are a great option for breakfast since they provide a very good quality of proteins (wide variety of amino acids), fat and a series of vitamins (A, D, Beta-carotene…) and minerals (phosphorus, iron).
Try to buy them organic and if possible from linseed fed hens (you can find them in some supermarkets in Brussels like Delhaize with the « Mieux pour tous » label). In that later case, the fatty composition of the eggs will even include a ratio of omega-3 fat (see below).
To cook your eggs as healthily as possible, cook them so that the white of the egg is cooked while the yolk remains uncooked, or runny. The cooked white of the egg increases the assimilation of B vitamins and calcium while the uncooked yolk preserves the good fats of the egg. Poached or softly boiled in shell (à la coque) eggs are thus the healthiest cooking options.
Cooked, uncooked or canned fish are a very interesting option because of the high protein content but also for the omega-3 healthy fat and minerals content.
If possible, choose small fatty fish such as anchovies, mackerel and sardines which are less contaminated with heavy metals and other contaminants.
3) Cured unprocessed meat
Cured unprocessed meat such as cooked or raw ham, chicken or turkey fillet, bresaola or viande des grisons have high protein levels and low levels of saturated fats.
One of the healthiest ham is the « jamón ibérico de bellota », Iberian Ham from free-range acorn-fed Iberian pigs because of their high omega 3 levels while having a high protein level.
Try to choose ham from organic fed pigs with as less additives as possible, especially nitrites which are used to maintain the pink colour of ham but which are also recognized to cause cancer.
4) Légumes and derived products such as houmous, tofu and soy yogurt
Choose the ones with the longer fermentation process such as Comté, Gruyère, Emmenthal and Beaufort. This type of cheese will have the highest protein content and the lowest lactose levels that will make them easier to digest.
Also try to choose cheese made from organic raw milk which is rich in healthy bacteria that will benefit your intestinal flora and digestive system.
However, due to its high saturated fat and high salt content, cheese should be consumed with moderation. So avoid eating it every morning or several times during the day. In addition, cheese proteins may cause allergies and intestinal issues.
Healthy fat options
Despite the bad press that dietary fat has received over the years, healthy fats are essential for health. In addition to providing us with energy, they are needed for vitamin (A, D, E and K) absorption, growth, healthy skin, the regulation of bodily functions, our nervous tissue and for our brain. Actually, for all these reasons and as creasy as it sounds healthy fat contributes to loose fat.
1) Omega-3 fats
Introducing Oméga-3 to the breakfast through freshly grounded linseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, rapeseed oil, fish, eggs from linseed fed hens, Iberian Ham from free-range acorn-fed Iberian pigs is one of the best ways to cover your daily oméga-3 needs. This so called “essential fat”, a fat not being produced by our body, must be provided through our diet and is frequently lacking in our western diet.
Omega-3 fats are very important for health because they decrease amongst others the risks of cardiovascular diseases, neuronal degeneration and inflammation mechanisms that trigger all sorts of diseases.
Omega-6 are also essential fats but unlike the omega-3 they are usually very present in our western diet since they are found amongst others in vegetable oils (peanut oil, corn oil, soy oil) and meat and meat by-products.
Oméga-6 are still interesting to be added into our diet when consumed through all sorts of nuts, nut pastes and seeds such as almonds, hazelnuts, Brazilian nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkinseeds, etc. which are packed with vitamins and minerals interesting for our health.
E.g. 3 Brazilian nuts a day will cover your selenium daily needs.
This type of fat is mainly found in olive oil and avocado and is also interesting for our health and in particular to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
4) Butter from Organic Raw Milk
Because of its high saturated fat content, butter is in general a less encouraged option. However, butter made from organic raw milk can be beneficial and even recommended for some heath conditions and if eaten in moderation. This kind of butter is rich in vitamin A, D, Beta-carotene and some short chain fats interesting for our health.
Healthy carbohydrates sources
Prefer carbohydrates from organic and raw high-fibre cereals and avoid refined carbohydrates including white bread, puffed cereals and extruded products such as crackers. This will help you to keep your blood sugar levels steady without having the peaks and troughs.
Also try to choose as much as possible gluten-free cereals such as einkorn, oat, rice, buckwheat and quinoa. Gluten is now clearly associated to a low-grade inflammation which in the best case scenario makes you tired.
A healthy bread option is a sourdough bread made from organic whole grain. Whole grain breads will provide you with fibre and a series of vitamins (B, E) and minerals (calcium, zinc, iron) which are present in the grain envelope and lacking thus in white bread. Sourdough bread will in addition improve the mineral availability and decrease the level of gluten. Although this kind of bread might sound more expensive than others, you will see that actually since you are providing much more nutrients, you will need to eat less quantity to feel satiety.
Porridge, a sweet healthy option
For those who struggle eating a salty breakfast, porridge made with oat and linseeds or chia seeds and tree nuts as healthy fat and sweetened with fresh or dried fruits and spices such as cinnamon might be a good option.
Oat is indeed the cereal with the highest levels of protein and fat. In addition, it is rich in fibre and in minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron. Moreover, the type of fibre it contains regulates the blood-sugar levels and increases satiety.
Ideas of high-protein and fatty breakfasts
For further ideas of healthy breakfast or plant-food based meals, check my Instagram or Facebook account.
If you want to get your personalized healthy meal plan and/or be coached to get healthier, do not hesitate to contact me in order to book a nutrition consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +32(0)4220.127.116.11.
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