The number one factor in getting results is being able to stick to the plan.
Finding what works for you is critical, and what we’ve found after working with thousands of clients is that eating a quality breakfast is usually a part of this.
To read our views on whether you should or shouldn’t be eating breakfast, make sure you read our UP Philosophy on Breakfast article.
For the majority who do eat breakfast, one rule you need to stick to is that it must be high in protein.
- Improved mood, focus and memory
- Less hunger
- Balanced blood sugars
- Improved energy
- Better food choices
- Increased strength and muscle mass
Now we know protein is essential for breakfast, what about fats and carbs?
It really does boil down to your individual preferences and goals, but for the average client – think stressed, busy executive – protein and fat breakfasts seem to be the best way to go.
A few reasons for this:
- Improved focus and productivity early in the morning
- It may increase fat loss due to longer periods of reduced insulin release
- There is a theory around ‘metabolic flexibility’, which refers to the body’s ability to switch efficiently between fuel sources. By focusing on protein and fat in the morning, your metabolism may preferentially burn more fat for fuel later in the day.
- More practically speaking, if you’re on limited carbs, you may want to save them for the end of the day where you can enjoy them with dinner
Of course, if you genuinely feel great hours after eating a bowl of porridge, then, by all means, include it in your breakfast. The options we’re suggesting are reflective of what our clients eat.
Option 1: Breakfast of Champions
This is a great option for people who aren’t put off by the idea of eating meat in the morning. Frying up a grass-fed fillet steak with some almonds and greens beans to serve with it is one of the best ways to start the day.
Here are some other options to try:
- Lean cut of red meat or oily fish– e.g. fillet steak, venison, buffalo, salmon
- Small handful of nuts – e.g. almonds, walnuts, cashews or pecans
- Handful of greens e.g. spinach, green beans, kale.
Try these Steak and Peanut Butter Skewers, for a tasty and convenient way to eat meat and nut for breakfast.
Option 2: The Quick Fix
A common question we receive from clients is what to eat if training at 6 or 7 am, and eating something like option 1 just isn’t on the cards.
The easiest breakfast to prepare and more importantly, digest quickly is the following:
- 1-2 scoops of whey isolate
- 1-2 tbsp almond butter
To make this taste a little more exciting, try making a protein pudding by mixing the two into a bowl with just enough water to make a chocolate fondant-like consistency.
You could also try this protein and nut butter mocha shake, incorporating your morning coffee into this tasty recipe.
Option 3: Eggs
Eggs are a staple in many breakfasts. The key to not getting bored of them is to rotate the way you cook them.
You can poach, boil, scramble, fry or make an omelette with them.
Depending on your calorie intake, you can either eat eggs alone or along with something like smoked salmon or some lean red meat.
Option 4: Greek Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt is particularly popular with our female clients who like the texture and taste of it to kill off any sweet-tooth cravings early in the day.
Whether you go full fat or 0% fat will depend on your calorie intake, but what’s important is you opt for a quality brand that doesn’t add additional sugars to the product.
A 200-300g serving of Greek yoghurt can provide a solid 20-30g of protein with some good fats and a small amount of carbs.
You can either eat it alone or mix in some whey and/or nut butter for additional protein and fats. Berries also work great, especially if you have a sweet tooth and are looking for something low in calories.
Try combining Greek yoghurt with a scoop of whey protein and a tablespoon of almond butter. Mix well for a deliciously simple breakfast, that works well with a variety of berries or seeds on top. This is also great with oats, if you are allowed carbohydrates at breakfast on your meal plan.
Option 5: The Vegan Option
So far none of the options covered are vegan-friendly. One of the best ways to replicate the ‘Breakfast of Champions’ is to replace the lean red meat with some high quality, fermented tofu and make a ‘scramble’, like so:
- 120g Tofu
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- ½ red pepper, diced
- 75g mushrooms, sliced
- 50g spinach
- 1 round tomato, diced
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Crumble the tofu into a bowl and mix in the turmeric, chilli powder, salt and black pepper.
- Heat a non-stick pan and add the vegetables except for the spinach, and tofu.
- Cook together for 5-10 minutes and then add the spinach to the pan.
- Season and serve.
What if my goal is muscle growth?
For many, the protein and fat options above may still be the best way to go. But if your calories and carbs are high, you’ll probably want to start adding carbs at breakfast too.
The most popular ‘breakfast carb’ are oats. They’re easy to make and taste great.
You could easily make ‘proats’ by adding a scoop of protein to the cooked porridge.
Eating well for breakfast doesn’t need to be boring. Once you find the type and amounts of foods and macronutrients you respond to best in the morning, it’s time to get creative to keep your taste buds happy as you stumble out of bed before work.