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Ask Dr. Gourmet

What is a good breakfast for those dieting and exercising?

I am a male in my thirties and I am trying to re-evaluate my diet. One thing I have been reading (in men's fitness mags and such) is that increased protein at breakfast can be very beneficial. My typical breakfast is a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.

What would you say would be the best possible breakfast (without breaking the bank) for me to eat, keeping in mind I work out for at least an hour pretty much every day?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Peanut Butter on Wheat Bread

This is a great question. The whole wheat bagel and peanut butter is a good choice for a workout day. There are enough calories and the whole wheat will give you some added fiber.

We know that meals that have a pretty good balance of carbs, protein and fat will keep people satisfied and make it easier to lose weight. So your combination of the carb (bagel) and peanut butter (protein and fat) works well. Part of that satisfaction comes from the added protein, which helps blunt the insulin response a bit and is digested and absorbed a little more slowly.

There's some good research involving women showing that a higher protein diet combined with exercise resulted in more significant weight loss.

This is why eggs and toast work so well. Protein and fat in the eggs and carbs in the toast. Potatoes and eggs, bagel and lox, cereal and milk, you get the idea. On days that I bicycle for over two hours I have brown rice and fried eggs with a bit of soy sauce for breakfast. Sometimes I'll have rice and edamame (soybeans). Wierd, maybe, but it's pretty popular with cyclists (that and pasta with eggs and cheese).

So, yeah. Ramp up the protein a bit. And you're right that you don't have to break the bank. No need to go for protein powder or shakes - eat peanut butter, eggs, fish, soy. It's all good - and cheap.

Timothy S. Harlan MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet