I’m a breakfast person, and if I don’t have it, I feel like my whole eating schedule for the day is thrown off. I typically make a smoothie—bananas, strawberries, spinach, etc—which makes me feel good knowing I’ve consumed something healthy and nutritious each morning. On the weekends, it’s avocado toast all the way. But, when I saw the results of this latest study, I was surprised to learn that neither of my favorite breakfasts were the “ideal” option.
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Scientists at the University of Copenhagen found that beans and peas (high-protein legumes like chickpeas and lentils) were the better foods to eat for breakfast (rather than protein from animal sources like beef and pork that don’t pack in as much fiber). The researchers proved that these healthy little legumes can reduce cravings for subsequent meals and help you feel fuller so you don’t eat as much. Results showed that the study’s 43 participants ate 12 percent fewer calories at lunchtime when they ate a legume-based breakfast than they did after eating a meat patty with the same amount of protein—great news for vegetarians.
“Because protein and complex carbohydrates (or fiber) are very closely ranked on the hierarchy of satiety, it makes sense that the combination of these two macronutrients perform best in keeping hunger at bay and reducing the amount of food consumed at the next meal,” says Dr. Lisa Davis, chief nutrition officer of Terra’s Kitchen. “I think the findings of this study are a step in the right direction for re-orienting folks about protein. Plant-based proteins can aid weight control by staving of hunger, but perhaps more importantly, they are overall better for your health, as well of that of the environment and the animal.”