When it comes to weight loss, eating breakfast can help to stabilise blood sugar levels, regulating appetite and energy, and assist in preventing overeating throughout the day.1,2
But just what should you eat at breakfast if you are looking to lose weight? Higher protein foods, higher fibre foods or both?
Eating more protein, and spreading protein intake evenly throughout the day, might be a helpful option, especially for overweight and older people.3
Meals containing at least 25g of protein might help manage hunger and retain important muscle mass while losing weight.3 For most people this means eating more protein-rich foods at breakfast.
Whole grains and fibre are important too. Dietary fibre helps to keep hunger at bay and can help reduce kilojoule intake.4 In fact, a recent study of adults across seven countries found dietary fibre and whole grain consumption were the top dietary factors associated with less belly fat, lower BMI and slimmer waists.5
This supports decades of research finding that people who eat breakfast cereal regularly are less likely to be overweight and more likely to have lower BMIs and slimmer waists than those who eat other breakfasts or skip breakfast.6,7
So what does a higher protein, higher fibre brekkie look like? And can cereal still be on the menu?
Reaching 25g of protein at breakfast can be hard to do if you want to eat real food, get optimum nutrition and not blow out the kilojoules – but it is achievable with some menu planning. And taking advantage of protein-rich dairy foods and fibre-rich breakfast cereals can make it easier.
So with all of this in mind, we’ve crunched the numbers on a few quick and easy breakfast ideas to try. These deliver about 25g of protein and a good fibre boost within 1350kJ, which is a quarter of the daily kilojoules often recommended for weight reduction.
Bircher Muesli, Apple and Raspberries
Soak ½ cup of oats in high protein milk*, mix in ½ cup high protein yoghurt**, and top with ¼ apple cut in slithers and ½ cup raspberries. (Dietary Fibre 6.6g).
Scrambled Eggs on Toast, with Wilted Spinach
Scramble 2 eggs with ½ cup high protein milk *, serve on 1 slice whole grain toast with 1 tsp margarine and 1 cup baby spinach, wilted. (Dietary Fibre 7.3g).
High Fibre Yoghurt Bowl with Tropical Fruits
¾ cup high protein yoghurt**, ¾ cup bran cereal topped with ¼ cup sliced kiwi fruit, ¼ cup sliced mango and a sprinkle of flaked almonds. (Dietary Fibre 15.5g)
Whole Grain Breakfast Parfait
Crush 3 whole grain brits/bix and layer with ¾ cup of high protein yoghurt** and ½ cup sliced nectarines. (Dietary fibre 8.3g)
Sardines on Toast with Grilled Tomato
Drain a small tin of sardines in water and serve on 1 slice wholemeal toast, with two medium tomatoes, halved and grilled. (Dietary fibre 6.5g)
High Protein Passionfruit Brekkie Bowl
1 cup of higher protein breakfast cereal# (20g protein per 100g) with ½ cup reduced fat milk, topped with the pulp from 2 passionfruit mixed into ½ cup high protein yoghurt**. (Dietary Fibre 8.4g)
* Milk with a protein content of 6g protein per 100ml milk
** Yoghurt with a protein content around 9-10 g protein per 100g yoghurt
Did you know?
In Australia, the Australian Government Food Standards Code specifies that breakfast cereals identified as a ‘source of protein’ must contain at least 5g protein per serve of cereal .8 More than a third of Australian breakfast cereals (39%) are a source of protein, including half of mueslis (54%) and a third of hot cereals (35%) and nearly a quarter (22%) of ready to eat cereals.9 Breakfast cereals promoted as a ‘good source of protein’ must contain even more protein – at least 10g protein per serve. 8
Always get the best advice
This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Please seek advice on your personal health and nutrition needs from your trusted medical advisor and an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
- Deshmukh-Taskar PR, et al. (2010). The relationship of breakfast skipping and type of breakfast consumption with nutrient intake and weight status in children and adolescents: The national health and nutrition examination survey 1999-2006. J Am Diet Assoc. 110: 869-878. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2010.03.023
- De la Hunty A, Ashwell M. (2007) Are people who regularly eat breakfast cereals slimmer than those who don´t? A systematic review of the evidence. Nutrition Bulletin. V32-I2: 118-28. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2007.00638.x
- Noakes, M, (2018) Protein Balance: New Concepts for Protein in Weight Management; CSIRO, Australia. https://www.csiro.au/~/media/News-releases/2018/Wellbeing-Diet/Protein-Report-FINAL-SinglePages-LR-171222.pdf
- Slavin J and Green H. Dietary fibre and satiety. Nutrition Bulletin 2007;32(Suppl 1): 32-42. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2007.00603.x
- Celis-Morales C et al. Correlates of overall and central obesity in adults from seven European Countries: Findings from the Food4Me Study. EJCN 2018;72:207-219. https://doi:10.1038/s41430-017-0004-y
- Nutrition Research Australia. Breakfast Choice and its impact on added and free sugars intake: A secondary analysis of the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. Sydney, December 2016.
Summary Report available here.
- Williams PG. The Benefits of Breakfast Cereal Consumption: A Systematic Review of the Evidence Base. Adv Nutr 2014;5:636S-673S. https://doi:10.3945/an.114.006247
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Standard 1.2.7 Nutrition, Health and Related Claims. Accessed 10 April 2015: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2014C01191
- Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council. 2016 Breakfast Cereal Audit. Unpublished: 2016. Fact sheet available here.