Whether your first stop is the office or the gym, adding protein to your breakfast is a great way to rev up your metabolism. If you do exercise first thing, a protein breakfast helps promote muscle recovery and repair. Eggs are an ideal choice because they provide a good balance of quality protein and fat. Other options include lean ham, fish like salmon or haddock, as well as lower fat dairy foods. Protein foods slow stomach emptying, which means you stay fuller for longer so you’ll tend to eat fewer calories the rest of the day.
If you’re short of time in the morning a protein-rich breakfast needn’t take any longer. Top your morning toast with a couple of slices of smoked salmon, some lean ham or some scrambled eggs and when you do have a little more time, enjoy an omelette, frittata or our version of the full English.
Protein breakfast recipes:
Scrambled omelette toast topper
One-pan summer eggs
Flash-fried smoked salmon & egg bagel
Ultimate makeover full English
Full English frittata
All-in-one baked mushrooms
Full English potato cake
Eating well in the morning is vital for balancing energy levels. The ideal is to eat little and often, but you need to make every snack work for you. This means choosing snacks that satisfy your energy needs plus supply extra benefits like topping up your five-a-day.
Try peanut butter and banana on crackers, or opt for creamy avocado with slices of turkey.
Make lunch a mix of lean protein and starchy carbs. Carb-rich foods supply energy so you’ll suffer from mid-afternoon slumps if you cut them out. The key is to choose carbs that produce a steady rise in blood sugar, which means passing on sugary ‘white’ foods and going for high-fibre wholegrains, which help you manage those afternoon munchies. Wholegrains like rye, wholewheat and barley keep you satisfied for longer. In fact studies show rye bread keeps blood sugar stable for up to 10 hours – a sure way to dampen those mid-afternoon energy crashes.
Opt for an open sandwich topped with lean beef or pork, salmon, turkey or chicken with plenty of salad or toast some wholegrain bread and enjoy with baked beans.
Protein and carb lunch recipes:
Open mackerel sandwich with fennel slaw
Open chicken Caesar sandwich
Open turkey BLT
For many it’s not sugar so much as salty, savoury foods they crave in the afternoon. If this sounds like you, forget the crisps and opt instead for spiced nuts, seeds and savoury popcorn, or enjoy lower fat cream cheese on crackers.
Savoury afternoon snacks:
Spicy seed mix
Sweet & spicy popcorn
Scandi cheese & crackers
Don’t curfew carbs, they’re low in fat, fibre-rich and help you relax in the evening. Combine them with essential fats which your body can use overnight, along with protein, for regeneration and repair – this combination is especially important for healthy skin and hair. You can get these healthy fats from oily fish like salmon, trout and mackerel as well as nuts, seeds and their oils.
Fill half your plate with a colourful variety of vegetables or salad, drizzle with a dressing made from linseed or rapeseed oil and add meat, fish or beans with a serving of brown rice, quinoa or wholemeal pasta.