“After pulling my kids together for school, searching for car keys, calling the plumber for a suddenly stopped-up toilet, and the million other demands morning creates, who has time for breakfast?” a reader once asked me.
As a single mom of two teenage sons juggling two businesses, I understand how hectic mornings can become. Among the frenzy, breakfast often lands on the back burner.
Skipping isn’t the answer, but neither are the high-sugar impact desserts (looking at you, banana nut low-fat muffin) that pass as sustenance. Breakfast sets your day’s metabolic tone. Skipping and sugar both set you up for all-day hunger, cravings, and overeating.
If you’re short on time and simply don’t “do breakfast,” a protein shake makes an easy, simple, healthy breakfast that takes about the same amount of time as pouring cereal and milk.
I’ve had clients do nothing else but swap breakfast for a protein shake and they lost weight. My favorite recipe blends non-soy, non-dairy plant- or animal-derived protein powder with avocado, kale, frozen raspberries, freshly ground flaxseed, and unsweetened coconut or almond milk.
Protein shakes create amazing portability, whether you’re rushing to the airport or just scrambling to get to work. I never travel without my protein powder, little containers of coconut milk, and a small portable blender. (Talk about saving money over those continental breakfasts!)
Breakfast shakes are ideal, but you can whip up a second one for lunch or dinner to balance your blood sugar and give you steady energy for hours. For fast, lasting fat loss and optimal health, here are five reasons to make breakfast (and maybe a second meal) a protein shake:
• Easy. Manufacturers know reaching for a box of cereal with skim milk takes less effort than fixing a mixed-vegetable omelet. They also know among the morning craziness, you’ll probably take the path of least resistance at breakfast. A protein shake offers you the same convenience without cereal’s empty carbs that spike and crash your blood sugar.
• Steady, sustained energy. That low-fat muffin and latte raises your insulin levels, which means you’re due for a mid-morning crash that will leave you running for the nearest bagel cart. A protein shake provides sustained, all-morning energy and focus. That means no 11 a.m. donut cravings and no snapping at your coworkers once your blood sugar levels crash.
• Affordable. Tally up how much you spend on biscuits, muffins, and other high-sugar impact breakfast foods. Surprised? A protein shake provides a cost-effective alternative. For the price of a large coffee, you get high-quality, fat-burning protein that keeps you full and focused for hours.
• Quick. You know all those reasons for not having breakfast? They don’t work with a protein shake. In less time than it takes to brainstorm reasons you can’t fix breakfast, you can whip up a delicious, filling protein shake.
• Fat burning. You can custom-load a protein shake with good fat, fiber, antioxidants, and of course high-quality protein that boosts your metabolism and helps burn fat. A study in the International Journal of Obesity showed that protein shakes “can safely and effectively produce significant sustainable weight loss and improve weight-related risk factors of disease.”
Take my protein shake challenge. For two weeks, substitute a shake for your typical breakfast and determine whether that becomes your needle mover for feeling great all morning and fast, lasting fat loss.
What’s your favorite protein shake recipe? Share it below or on my Facebook fan page.
Mierlo CA, et al. Weight management using a meal replacement strategy: meta and pooling analysis from six studies. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 May;27(5):537-49. Via Positive Med