The health benefits of a nourishing breakfast are well-known. A great way to start the day! But what to eat when you are trying to reduce your carbohydrate intake, as well as cut down or eliminate gluten grains, including wheat, barley, spelt, and rye. This can be especially challenging for those of us whose “go to” breakfast has been grain-based, focused on either hot or cold cereals with milk and fruit, and/or bread products like toast, muffins, or pancakes.
While limiting carbohydrates is critical for balancing blood sugar levels, including enough protein, fiber, and healthy fat with each meal also helps. Adults need about 0.4 to 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight for optimum health and to maintain muscle mass and support the immune system. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, your daily protein goal would be about 60 to 90 grams. It’s helpful to have some of this protein with each meal. For fiber, the daily goal is 25-40 grams/day, preferably from fiber-rich foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes (beans, lentils). Nuts and seeds provide additional fiber and some protein, along with healthy fats to help avoid a rapid rise and then fall in blood sugar.
If you are looking for lower-carb, gluten-free breakfasts that provide protein, along with fiber and healthy fats, try my Granola, Baked Banana Pancake, or Eggs & Greens with Feta recipes. The crunchy fiber-rich granola provides plentiful amounts of healthy fats from nuts and seeds, as well as heart-protective omega-3 fats from the ground flaxseed. Pumpkin seeds are especially rich in protein and zinc, both important for maintenance and repair of body tissues, as well as a strong immune system. The oat bran adds extra soluble fiber, and dried cherries (or raisins) provide natural sweetness, along with more soluble fiber to help support healthy gut function. And you might consider topping the granola with unsweetened yogurt to add more protein and calcium.
For those of us with fond memories of weekend breakfasts featuring fluffy buttermilk pancakes with real maple syrup, the Baked Banana Pancake is a nice substitute. This high-protein, fiber-rich pancake provides heart-protective omega-3 fats from the ground flaxseeds. The banana provides a natural sweetness, and when served with blueberries you won’t even miss the syrup.
And simmering protein-rich eggs with mixed baby greens is a quick way to increase your intake of nutrient-dense leafy green vegetables. The feta cheese adds flavor, along with additional protein and calcium to this colorful breakfast, which you can also enjoy as a light meal anytime.
Starting your day with a nourishing breakfast helps to support both your physical and emotional health. It’s definitely worth the little extra time it takes to prepare and to savor!