You Can Do This at Home!
High quality protein is a cornerstone of the Biggest Loser plan. Not only does protein help us to maintain and build muscle, it also contributes to satiety or fullness. And when combined with carbohydrates, such as a piece of fruit, it helps to sustain our blood sugar levels longer. This results in more energy - more get-up-and-go to exercise and stay active. For all of these reasons, contestants on The Biggest Loser are encouraged to include lean protein with every snack and every meal.
Some of my clients need the most help trying to figure out how to make this work at breakfast. How do you include lean protein each morning for example, if you don't have time to cook?
One of my favorite products is nonfat Greek-style yogurt. It's ultra-creamy, higher in protein than regular yogurt, and it's hard to believe that it's nonfat - it's that good. There are several brands out there, so it should be easy to find. One cup of nonfat Greek-style plain yogurt has 100 calories and 20 grams of protein, so this is a great addition to your breakfast menu. Here are some healthy breakfast ideas with good quality protein:
Colby-Jack Breakfast Sandwich
- Plain fat-free Greek-style yogurt parfait with low-fat granola and fresh berries
- Smoothie with Greek-style yogurt, 1/2 of a frozen banana, berries and fat-free milk - add some ground flax seed or flax seed oil to kick up the omega-3s (more on fabulous omegas in an upcoming post!)
- I developed this recipe for a breakfast sandwich with the inspiration of one I had tasted at my favorite coffee retailer. For the same number of calories as their reduced-fat breakfast sandwich, which has 350 calories, this breakfast includes the sandwich PLUS a cup of nonfat milk and a 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries. The entire meal has 350 calories, 30 grams of protein and 1/2 the day's requirement for calcium (there's also a slice of reduced fat cheese on the sandwich - yum!)
- 1 light whole-grain English muffin or sandwich thin, split
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 slice uncured low-fat turkey bacon (or lean Canadian-style bacon)
- 1/4 cup egg whites
- 1 slice low-fat Colby-Jack cheese
- Toast muffin or sandwich thin until it is lightly browned. While muffin toasts heat bacon for about 1 minute in a small non-stick saute pan.
- Remove bacon from pan and place on half of the toasted English muffin. Cover to keep warm.
- Coat an egg ring with cooking oil spray and place in the non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour egg whites into the ring. Cover pan and cook until nearly set. Run a knife or spatula around the inside edge of the ring to break the egg loose. Remove the ring. Flip egg over and cook for about 30 seconds longer or until done.
- Lift egg from pan and place over bacon. While egg is piping hot, place cheese over egg and top with remaining muffin half. Serve hot.
And for snack time, here are nine 150-calorie healthy snack ideas that include lean protein.
1. 1/2 turkey sandwich on 1 slice whole grain bread with 1 ounce sliced turkey, 1 slice low-fat Swiss cheese, 1 piece Bibb lettuce, tomato slices and 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard - 150 calories, 14 grams protein (or double it - e.g. whole sandwich - to be cut in half for two snacks the same day!)
2. 2/3 cup steamed edamame (in shell) - 158 kcals, 13 grams protein
3. 2/3 cup plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt with 1/2 cup fresh blueberries and 1 tablespoon slivered almonds - 150 calories, 15 grams protein
4. Low-fat mozzarella cheese stick and one large fresh orange - 140 calories, 10 grams protein
5. 2 Wasa rye crackers and 2-1/2 ounces lox (smoked salmon) - 150 calories, 14 grams protein
6. 1/2 cup cooked lentils, 1-1/2 tablespoons low-fat Caesar dressing, 1 teaspoon chopped onion and 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil - 140 calories, 9 grams protein
7. 1 8-ounce glass fat-free milk with 1/2 slice whole-grain toast and 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter and 1/2 tablespoon sugar-free jam - 160 calories, 11 grams protein
8. 1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese with 2 tablespoons fresh raspberries and 1 tablespoon granola - 150 calories, 11 grams protein
9. 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal with 1/2 cup fat-free milk, 1 teaspoon honey and 2 medium strawberries, sliced - 150 calories, 8 grams protein
For more nutrition and cooking tips, visit Cheryl's website FlavorFirst.com
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