Sure, time is always an issue, but 15 minutes spent making breakfast could help you lose weight—and save you from a sweat session at the gym. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? So, what are your best options for the a.m. hours? With the help of model-turned-chef Candice Kumai, author of Cook Yourself Sexy, we’ve come up with five delicious, protein-packed breakfasts that will fuel you up without slowing you down.
We've been given scrambled messages about eggs for too long, so here's the simple truth: Yes, you can eat the yolks! They're healthy. Whatever way you like 'em, eggs are the perfect muscle-friendly food, so make them a morning staple. “Eggs are full of omega-3s, protein, and amino acids,” Kumai says. And those compounds are crucial for building lean muscle and slimming down. A protein-packed breakfast in the a.m. will give you energy and prepare your body for the grueling day ahead—with enough to get you through a workout at the end of the day, too.
Fat-Free Greek Yogurt & Berries
Yogurt isn't a wimpy breakfast food, but that doesn't mean you should eat it alone. Kumai recommends starting your day with a bowl of fat-free Greek-style yogurt topped with a serving of fresh berries. Though it may feel indulgent, it’s fueling your body with protein, calcium and iron. Berries are packed full of flavonoids called anthocyanins—compounds that give fruits their red or purple color—that boast special "zero belly" properties. So, not only will you stay full and focused until lunchtime, you'll also whittle your waistline. Now that's a good morning.
You really can't go wrong here as long as you've found a flavor you like. A good protein shake will increase blood flow to your muscles and replenish energy stores. Kumai suggests a quality whey protein: "Whey protein has many uses, including improving athletic performance and assisting with weight maintenance," she says. But if you're not into whey (we prefer plant-powdered protein shakes), she also suggests rice, pea and hemp protein.
Try some of the indulgent-tasting smoothies that are part of the Zero Belly Diet. They're inspired by desserts like peanut butter cups and blueberry pie, but boast the protein and nutrition you need to power through your day and blast your belly fat.
Pancakes aren't off limits. Really. With the right mix, pancakes can provide incredible amounts of protein and healthy carbs. Just skip the premade white flour-based mixes. Brands like Mancakes or FlapJacked Instead make quality, high-protein blends that should make your grocery list instead. FlapJacked delivers 15-17 grams of protein and 4-7 grams of fiber per 200-calorie serving. Mancakes packs in 21 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber and six superfoods per 280-calorie serving.
Whole-Grain Toast with Nut & Seed Butter
Every morning you scoop out a nice big glob of peanut butter and throw it into your shake, or maybe spread it on some whole-grain toast. Both are smart moves, but eating the same thing every day can get a bit boring. Switch up your morning meal by swapping in a new spread, like NuttZo.
We know choosing between peanut butter and almond butter is a difficult decision—they’re both so good—but NuttZo is a different breed of nut butter. One serving contains about 7 grams of powerful protein, plus a dose of healthy fat. Each variety is packed with seven different nuts and seeds, including peanuts, cashews, almonds, flax seeds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds. We're not against eating it straight from the jar, either.