While I’ve gone through tons of cycles over the years with what my favorites are, I’ve always been a big believer in the power of a healthy breakfast. A balanced morning meal can help set you on a good path towards a successful day, and protein is key for staying satisfied and energized. Who better to chat with about breakfast than Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, the founder of Nutrition Starring YOU and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club: Easy High Protein Recipes with 300 Calories or Less to Help You Lose Weight and Boost Metabolism
Here, she answers my questions.
Jess Cording: What inspired you to write a book about breakfast?
Lauren Harris-Pincus: Breakfast has always been my favorite meal and I have spent many years coming up with ideas and recipes both for myself and my patients. After 20 years of sitting across the table from clients who have no idea how to construct and consume a nutritious breakfast, I decided to write a cookbook as a resource for all those who lack the knowledge, skill, time or motivation to prepare a balanced morning meal.
Jess: What are some of the most common mistakes you see people make at breakfast?
Lauren: When I do a dietary recall with my clients and ask what they eat for breakfast (or if they eat breakfast), the most common answers are coffee, a bagel or nothing. Most people have no idea how important it is to include a significant amount of protein in their first meal of the day. Research shows at least 20 grams of protein is suggested at breakfast to help prevent muscle loss as we age, and to maximize our protein absorption to use for muscle growth and repair. Most of us get plenty at lunch and dinner but miss that opportunity to include it in our breakfast.
Jess: What do you wish everybody knew about healthy breakfast?
Lauren: Breakfast is also a great time to consume foods that contain “nutrients of concern” including calcium, fiber, potassium and Vitamin D. These are nutrients that the population as a whole fail to consume adequately. Foods eaten at breakfast tend to be higher in these nutrients like milk/nondairy milks, fruit, and whole grain breads and cereals. And these are foods people tend to eat less frequently at other meals.
Jess: When you were writing your book, did you make a schedule for yourself to get it done?
Lauren: I tried to block out time slots in my calendar for writing similar to booking appointments with myself. Email and social media were off limits for the 1-2 hours dedicated to book writing. Since I was developing, preparing and photographing recipes, I would try to execute several per week based on the ingredients I had on hand and the seasonality of produce.
Jess: Do you have a morning routine that you rely on?
Lauren: I have one child in high school and one in college so I’m up at 6am so I can see my daughter off in the morning, and make sure she eats breakfast J I typically exercise before I start my day so it’s over and done. Then my breakfast is usually waiting for me in the fridge or I might choose to make something that’s quick like my protein-packed cereal bowl which is my favorite non-prep creation. I switch up the protein powder flavors and fruit add-ins for a wide variety of combinations like chocolate cherry, orange vanilla, pear coconut and much more.
Jess: You do lots of events and speaking engagements—do you have any favorite on-the-go breakfasts or convenient options for busy days?
Lauren: Overnight oats are my fallback whenever I cannot decide what to make. Everything is prepared at night in minutes and all I need in the morning is a spoon. Plus, the flavor combinations are limitless by switching up different protein powders, fruits and nuts. When I travel I usually pack baggies with oatmeal, chia seeds, protein powder or powdered peanut butter and some nuts. All is need to find is hot water and I’m good to go.
Jess: When time is of absolutely no concern, what’s your favorite meal to start the day with?
Lauren: While I’m an equal opportunity breakfast lover, some of my favorite recipes in the book are crepes, mug cakes and French toast which are more time consuming and taste better freshly made than meal prepped in advance. Though you can pre-cook the crepe portion and French toast, the assembly needs to happen at the time you would consume it.
What’s your favorite breakfast?
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