Protein is an important component of the human body. When you think of sources of protein served at breakfast, you probably envision meats, such as bacon, ham and sausage. Instead, explore sources of protein that don't come from animals, such as grains, beans, nuts and seeds to provide your family an energizing morning meal.
Why Breakfast is Important
Breakfast provides a wide range of healthy benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who eat breakfast have lower cholesterol levels, consume more vitamins and minerals, eat less fat and have more productive mornings. Children who eat breakfast are more physically active, miss less school, are more alert, are more creative, have better coordination, have better concentration and have better problem-solving abilities. A healthy breakfast includes dairy, grains, fruit and vegetables, and protein.
Importance of Protein
Protein is the building block of organs, tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones. Protein is also made up of chemicals called amino acids. The body uses amino acids to create hormones and enzymes. Hormones help control bodily functions. For example, insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels after digestion. Enzymes regulate the body's chemical reactions, such as digestion. Proteins also regulate a proper balance between blood and tissue. Protein is not a major source of energy, but the body can get energy from protein when a person doesn't eat enough carbohydrates and fats.
Meats, dairy and eggs provide lots of protein. For example, a 3-ounce slice of pot roast contains 22 grams of protein, a 3-ounce pork chop has almost 24 grams of protein and a cup of milk has about 8 grams of protein. Animal proteins are complete proteins that provide the body with the proper amount of amino acids. Make breakfast convenient by serving breakfast sandwiches consisting of English muffins, sliced cheese, fried eggs and bacon. If you enjoy fish, try the same idea with smoked salmon instead of bacon. Eggs contain about 6 grams of protein each. However, they are also high in fat and cholesterol. Lower the cholesterol in egg dishes, such as scrambled eggs or omelets, by mixing whole eggs and egg whites. Liven up your scrambled eggs and omelets by stirring a few tablespoons of creamy dressing into the eggs.
Look for protein in fruits, vegetables, beans, grains and nuts. A tablespoon of peanut butter has 4.6 grams of protein; whole wheat pancakes have 3.4 grams; and rough-cut oatmeal has about 6 grams. However, plant proteins are incomplete proteins that don't provide all of the necessary amino acids. Increase the nutritional value of these foods by combining several in one meal. For example, combine grains and nuts by adding your favorite nuts to your pancake batter, mixing nuts in with your granola, or eating whole wheat toast with peanut butter or hazelnut spread. If you like oatmeal in the morning, liven it up with fruit, nuts and seeds.
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- The Mayo Clinic: Healthy Breakfast
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- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images