Can a high protein breakfast really help you improve your body image? Well, I speak from experience when I say it can. Only recently, I switched back to a high protein breakfast having been eating just cereal for the two months previous. Within a matter of days I noticed a big difference in my recovery time and progress at the gym. I was genuinely surprised at how much of a difference it made but it highlighted just how important it is to fuel your body with the right nutrients at the right times.
While it’s not something that many men eat as part of their diet (except perhaps on weekends with a hangover), switching to a high protein breakfast is a really simple change that can have a big impact on your physique. While you sleep, your body is busy repairing and rebuilding itself, which requires energy and nutrients. Since you haven’t been eating for at least 8 hours (i.e. you’ve been fasting), by the time you wake up your body needs its energy and nutrient stores to be replenished so it can continue its work.
Whether you’re trying to lose fat and/or build muscle, a high protein breakfast should be one of your top priorities. First, it provides you with protein, which is essential for building muscle and second, it reduces your carbohydrate intake, which helps reduce calories stored by your body as fat. Many popular breakfast foods are very high in carbohydrates, some of them simple carbohydrates like sugar. These are more likely to be stored as fat when consumed in large amounts at breakfast so are best avoided.
Let’s face it though, most of us barely have time for breakfast let alone time to prepare something that’s nutritionally balanced (and I don’t know about you, but I struggle to face a tuna steak before midday, let alone first thing in the morning). So today I wanted to share with you one of the ways you can prepare a high protein breakfast that’s quick, healthy and nutritionally balanced, as well as being edible first thing in a morning!
The recipe is very simple. Think of it as a high protein muesli so you can add to or change some of the ingredients as you like, provided you keep the essential macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat) in approximately the same ratio. This is currently my staple breakfast and I rarely deviate from it except maybe once a week when I’ll have something different like bacon, eggs and tomatoes; still high in protein and low in carbohydrates you’ll notice
40g porridge oats, raw
30g slow-release protein powder (e.g. milk, soy, not whey protein)
1 x heaped dessert spoon (15g) flax seed, milled
1 x small handful mixed berries (e.g. blueberries, strawberries, blackberries)
125ml cold semi-skimmed milk (or less depending on your preference)
Place the porridge oats in a bowl with the flax seed and berries, then lightly mix.
Next, put the milk in a blender or shaker, add the protein powder and mix until smooth.
Pour the milk over the oats and fold gently until thoroughly mixed.
- Porridge oats: 150kCal
- Protein powder: 110kCal
- Flax seed: 80kCal
- Berries: 30kCal (approximately)
- Milk: 60kCal
- Total: 430kCal
- Protein: 37.5g (45%)
- Carbohydrate: 32g (39%)
- Fat: 13.5g (16%)
*All values are approximate and may vary depending on the manufacturer.
The fat content of this meal is slighter higher than I would recommend for other meals of the day but this is beneficial for breakfast to increase its calorific value whilst restricting carbohydrates. Eating too many carbohydrates at breakfast can cause you to store more calories as fat and can leave you feeling tired and lethargic.
Also, the majority of the fats are healthy fats provided by the flax seed, which has many health benefits because it’s rich in anti-oxidants, fibre and minerals. Berries are also rich in anti-oxidants as well as vitamins so these compliment the flax seed to provide your body with a wide range of micronutrients that are essential for health and well being.
Some of you may recognise that a high protein, low carbohydrate breakfast is similar to the structure of meals recommended by the Paleo Diet, which is incredibly powerful for fat loss. I’m going to bring you an in depth article about this controversial diet plan in the near future so, if you’re struggling to lose fat, keep a close eye on your emails for this one.
- 40g of porridge oats is roughly 1.5 x the volume of 30g of protein powder so you can use your protein scoop as a measure.
- Eat as soon as possible after waking; breaking fast is important to raise your metabolism. In his bestselling book, The 4 Hour Body, Tim Ferriss recommends eating a high protein meal no longer than 30 minutes after waking up, especially if your goal is to lose fat and build muscle. The exception to this, however, is when you intentionally prolong the fasted state to increase your fat burning capacity during an early morning cardio session, as detailed in my free “Smart Fitness & Grooming” course.
- If you really can’t face eating when you get up, try making it the last part of your morning routine rather than avoiding it completely. Alternatively, blend it all together to make a homemade protein smoothie and consume it gradually.
Remember, if you want to lose weight and/or build muscle, or even just improve your health and vitality, a high protein breakfast should be one of the first changes you make.
If you have any special dietary requirements for which you’d like an alternative recipe, just send me an email or leave me a message on Facebook and I’ll get back to you with some options. Also, if you have any feedback on this recipe or variations you’d like to share with us, go ahead and put it in the comments below or on Facebook.
Finally, if you prefer not to use a protein powder, don’t worry because I’ll be bringing you some delicious, alternative breakfast recipes shortly.
- Tom (And yes, I know the picture has bananas in it but someone ate my last few blueberries this morning!)