To feel full longer, build muscle, and yes, drop pounds, chowing down on lots of protein in the A.M. is key. If you're bored with your morning meal, try these fresh recipes. By Jane Bianchi, REDBOOK.
Buckwheat pancakesBuckwheat pancakes
Instead of using a typical pancake mix that includes enriched, bleached white flour and sugar, make healthier flapjacks by following this recipe, which contains 13 grams of protein, from Eating the Alkaline Way by chef Natasha Corrett and nutritional therapist Vicki Edgson.
Eggs, lentils, and spinach
Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Body, lost 25 pounds of fat when he changed his diet. One tenant he stands by: Resting metabolism increases about 20 percent if your breakfast calories are at least 30 percent protein. His favorite consists of eggs, lentils, and spinach. Whether you prefer your eggs hard-boiled and eaten separately or scrambled and mixed with the other ingredients, you'll still absorb the essential nutrients that they contain. To get 31 grams of protein, try noshing on two eggs, one cup of lentils, and one cup of leaf spinach.
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Bittersweet chocolate strawberry parfait
Chocolate for breakfast? Yes, please! Try this sweet treat, which contains 15 grams of protein, from The Biggest Loser Quick and Easy Cookbook by Devin Alexander. In a mixing bowl, stir three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder into six ounces of fat-free vanilla yogurt. Spoon half the mixture into a 16-ounce parfait glass or to-go cup. Top that with one-half cup chopped, fresh strawberries. Then add one tablespoon of a crunchy, high-fiber, low-sugar whole-grain cereal, such as Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets. Repeat each of the three layers one more time, and enjoy.
Whole-wheat bagel and smoked salmon
This traditional Jewish breakfast features cold, smoked salmon (a.k.a. lox), which is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. If you're not into cold fish, use hot, grilled salmon instead. "Many times when I'm eating out for dinner, I'll take home leftover grilled salmon and microwave it for breakfast the next morning," says Joan Salge Blake, R.D., a clinical associate professor at Boston University's Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietitics. Try three ounces of smoked salmon on half a toasted whole-wheat bagel for 24 grams of protein.
Cherry almond smoothie
Try making this delicious beverage from Skinny Chef Jennifer Iserloh. Two cups provides 12 grams of protein. In a blender or food processor mix one cup frozen or fresh pitted cherries; one cup non-fat plain yogurt; eight ice cubes; one-quarter cup toasted whole almonds; two tablespoons ground flax; two tablespoons granulated sugar or honey and one teaspoon almond extract. The yogurt and almonds supply protein, and the cherries sweeten it up, says Iserloh.
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Quinoa porridge with macadamia-nut milk
This porridge from Eating the Alkaline Way has 11 grams of protein because quinoa flakes, macadamia-nut milk, and berries are all rich in the nutrient.
Kefir with blueberries and peanut butter
"Instead of having cereal, I love making this cold breakfast - it's especially refreshing in the summer," says Iserloh. Mix one cup nonfat plain kefir with one-half cup blueberries and two tablespoons of peanut butter. With 17 grams of protein, this sweet and crunchy combo will keep you full for hours. If you're not a fan of peanut butter, mix in one-quarter cup of crushed walnuts instead.
Margherita breakfast pizza
Pizza isn't just for dinner. For 12 grams of protein, try making this healthful breakfast pie from The Biggest Loser Quick and Easy Cookbook. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Then, take an all-natural, low-fat, whole-grain English muffin and slice it in half. Sprinkle one-quarter cup finely shredded almond mozzarella cheese evenly over both muffin halves. Top the cheese with two basil leaves per muffin half, and then place one grape tomato, quartered, over each muffin half. Lightly mist each muffin half with olive oil spray and then bake them for five to seven minutes.
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Tuna salad on whole-grain toast
Lunch food can also make an excellent breakfast, says Blake. Whip up tuna salad using three ounces of canned tuna, drained, one tablespoon of light mayo, and chopped veggies such as celery, carrots, tomato, onion, and pickles. Throw in a squeeze of lime and some herbs - such as parsley, garlic, curry, and/or dill - to taste. Spread the mixture on two slices of whole grain toast for a breakfast that packs 23 grams of protein.
For 14 grams of protein, Corrett and Edgson suggest eating this crunchy granola as cereal with one-half cup of non-fat milk.
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