I’m often questioned about the best meals to eat for breakfast and how large they should be. To answer, I begin by pointing out the importance of eating a balanced breakfast–knowing your total protein requirements and how much of that should be eaten at breakfast–and give examples of appropriately balanced breakfast meals.
Why Eat breakfast?
After fasting through the night, breakfast becomes your first opportunity to stabilize blood glucose, build and repair body proteins, and control the hormones that help you burn stored body fat as your primary source of energy. Burning stored fat for fuel can increase energy levels so you feel and perform better and improve your overall health. A balanced breakfast with carbohydrates, protein and fat provides the macro and micronutrients needed for a healthy breakfast.
Know Your Protein Requirements
Distributing your total protein and calorie requirements throughout the day is the ideal way to fuel your body and maintain steady blood glucose levels. A portion of your protein requirements should be eaten with every meal. Your gender, body weight and level of activity determines the overall amount of protein and number of calories you need to maximize the burning of stored fat. Too few calories can leave you hungry, sleepy, tired, moody and can slow your metabolism while also burning valuable lean muscle mass. Too many calories can lead to weight gain and health issues. Knowing your approximate protein requirements can help you determine the ideal calories for each of your daily meals and snacks.
For example: A 155-pound woman with a moderate level of activity requires approximately 95 grams of protein per day, while a 185-pound, moderately active man requires approximately 130 grams of protein. However, both require the same 40-30-30 balanced ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Below are examples of the 40-30-30 breakdown from our B and D breakfast meal plans. The B meal plan is based on a total of 95 grams of protein per day and supplies 15 grams of protein for breakfast. The D plan is based on a total of 130 grams of protein per day and supplies 35 grams of protein for breakfast. (You can choose from five different size meal plans for your size and activity level in our book, The Formula, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program.)
Breakfast Planner B (women) D (mn)
Total Calories (approx.) 200 450
Carbohydrate (grams) 20 47
Protein (grams) 15 35
Fat (grams) 6 13
Sample Breakfast Meals
Scrambled Eggs and Fruit B (women) D (mn)
Eggs, whole 1 2
Egg Whites 2 3
Fresh Salsa 2 tablespoons 3 tablespoons
Orange 1 medium 1 large
Direction: Beat eggs and scramble in a non-stick pan until firm. Serve with fresh salsa and an orange.
Greek Yogurt with Fruit B (women) D (mn)
Plain Greek Yogurt, 2% fat 2/3 cup 1 1/2 cup
Blueberries, fresh 1/2 cup 1 cup
Strawberries, fresh 1/2 cup 1 cup
Raw acadamia nuts, chopped 2 teaspoons 1 1/2 tablespoons
Directions: In a bowl, top Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts.
Orange/Mango Smoothie B (women) D (mn)
Orange 1 small 1 medium
Mango, fresh or frozen 1/3 cup 2/3 cup
Water and/or Ice 1/2 cup 1/2 cup
Whey Protein Powder, 13 grams 30 grams
(natural or vanilla flavored)
Raw acadamia nuts 2 teaspoons 1 1/2 tablespoons
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
So no matter what your goals are–losing those last five pounds, increasing energy, or simply better performance and concentration–make sure you start your day with an adequate amount of protein in a balanced breakfast that will help you burn fat faster.
Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar® spokesperson and national best-selling co-author of THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program