You've likely heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But why exactly? According to Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, breakfast "gets us started evenly with energy and helps to prevent overeating later in the day." In order to capitalize on this monumental meal, we asked Smith and Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, founder of Real Nutrition NYC, to spill their favorite low-carb breakfast recipes.
Grabbing a croissant while filling up on our morning coffee is nearly second nature. And while we know this may not be the healthiest of choices, we do it anyway because it's convenient. But fast-forward two hours later, and we find ourselves regretting our on-the-go meal, as we're already craving a midmorning snack. According to both Shapiro and Smith, a croissant, aka a morning meal heavy on carbohydrates, is not ideal. Instead, Shapiro and Smith suggest eating a breakfast high in both fiber and protein to boost our energy levels and keep us satiated longer. For seven low-carb, high-protein breakfast recipes that nutritionists recommend, keep on reading.
For a grab-and-go, low-carb breakfast, Shapiro suggests eating two hard-boiled eggs, as the "yolk contains some amazing vitamins including B12 and vitamin D3 as well as choline and protein," which she says will keep you full for hours.
Smith recommends a combination of healthy fats and protein for a low-carb meal that will keep you full longer. One of her favorite recipes according to this rule is a slice of Julian's Paleo Bread ($30) (made with almond and coconut flours), with half a smashed avocado and tomatoes or other veggies on top.
For a filling morning meal that also keeps your blood sugar even, Shapiro recommends mixing "half of a cup or five ounces of [Greek or Icelandic] yogurt with a tablespoon of chia seeds, berries, and coconut flakes." By combining these ingredients, Shapiro says you get a major protein boost from the yogurt, a healthy fat from the chia seeds, and antioxidants and fiber from the berries. The perfect combination, no?
Smoothies might seem like a healthy breakfast, but oftentimes they are less than satisfying and loaded with sugar. However, that is not the case when it comes to Shapiro's fiber- and protein-rich smoothie recipe, which consists of "almond milk (unsweetened), 3/4 cup frozen berries, one serving protein powder (I like Tera's Whey Protein ($24), or Garden of Life's Organic Vegan Protein Powder ($27) if you are vegan), a handful of greens, and one tablespoon chia seeds and cinnamon." This, according to Shapiro, is the perfect blend of protein, fiber, and low sugar that will keep you full. And, as an added bonus, she says this on-the-go, easy recipe is also filled with "antioxidants, omega-3s, and vitamins and minerals."
Just because you're eating a low-carb breakfast, that doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite morning treats. Smith recommends swapping your tried-and-true pancake mix for this paleo banana pancake recipe, as it is a much healthier alternative and "more satisfying than your average starchy pancakes made with bleached flour." She further recommends topping off this meal with some berries and almond butter for a sweet, protein-packed meal.
Both Shapiro and Smith recommend this super-satisfying breakfast. While Smith suggests this recipe made with eggs, spinach, tomato, asparagus, and sweet potatoes, Shapiro prefers making mini frittatas by whisking five eggs well and pouring into Room Essentials Muffin Pan ($5). She says to fill each tin about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the sides. Furthermore, she recommends adding veggies, a dash of cheese, some salt and pepper, and baking it at 350ºF for 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm. If eating right away, Shapiro says you can keep the frittata in the fridge for up to four days, or, if you prefer a grab-and-go meal, she recommends individually wrapping each mini frittata and freezing them to take out as needed.