Article How to Make Your Breakfast More Filling

Feast on Plants! Registered Dietitian Desiree Nielsen's tips for starting your day satisfied

May 05, 2021

Article by

Desiree Nielsen RD

Adapted from an article originally published on 

I can’t think of a better way to start the day than a filling and energizing breakfast…but why do some meals keep you until lunch, while others seem to fizzle out a half hour later?

Our bodies are pretty cool. There are all sorts of physical triggers and biochemical feedback loops to help us regulate our appetite so that we get all the nutrition we need. The catch? We need to be eating the type of food that these triggers were designed for. And that means eating fewer hyper-processed foods and more nutrient-dense plants. Because, potato chips are delicious…but they aren’t exactly filling!

Because they’ve had valuable fibre removed, or have been pre-digested by processing, hyper-processed foods don’t take up a lot of space in the stomach, so they don’t activate the stretch receptors that tell our brain we’ve eaten enough. That’s why you (and I!) can eat a whole ‘family size’ bag of potato chips without feeling full. Kinda nauseous maybe, but not full. These foods tend to digest and absorb rapidly into our bloodstream, causing blood sugar spikes.

Want to feel full? Feast on PLANTS. Whole, or minimally processed, plant foods contain plenty of fibre and water to help fill up your stomach. Dense plant cells like whole grains and vegetables take time to digest, leading to a slower and more moderate blood sugar rise.

Of course, feeling full and satisfied for hours on a fully plant-based diet also means knowing how to create a balanced plate. If you want to build a meal that really sticks with you, you need to look for these four factors that help slow stomach emptying and trigger gut-derived hormones that help you feel full:

  • Soy foods like tofu and tempeh
  • Legumes such as chickpeas and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds
Healthy fats
  • Avocado
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Nut butters (or nut-free seed butters)
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Citrus fruit
  • Vinegars and acid-based condiments

A vegan breakfast sandwich—like my recipe here—has it all: sprouted whole grains and a chickpea flour vegan egg that are packed with plant-based protein and fibre; healthy fats from the avocado, as well as a little bit of acid from the vinegar-based hot sauce.

Why sprouted grain breads are different from whole wheat bread

One of the most common questions I get about choosing a sliced bread for the family is how 100% sprouted grain breads are different from 100% whole wheat breads. The short answer? No flour!

Silver Hills Bakery sprouts whole wheat kernels and then grinds them into the bread dough. The grains in their fully-sprouted breads like Squirrelly Bread, The Big 16, or Little Big Bread are never milled into flour. 100% whole wheat breads are made from whole grain flour, which is very rapidly digested versus the whole wheat kernel. This is why whole wheat bread and white bread have very similar glycemic indexes.

Sprouted grain breads typically have much more fibre (5 grams per slice vs 2 grams) than whole wheat flour breads and sometimes more protein too. Just two slices of Silver Hills Bakery Squirrelly bread contains a whopping 10 grams of fibre and 12 grams of plant-based protein. That is an absolute game changer when it comes to feeling full and satisfied.

Try my easy recipe for The BEST Vegan Breakfast Sandwich!  Made with tofu or chickpea flour egg, and toasted sprouted whole grain bread or bagels, you’re only a few simple steps away from a filling and hearty breakfast sandwich.

Desiree Nielsen is a registered dietitian, author and host based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She runs a nutrition consulting practice with a focus on inflammation, digestion and plant-centred diets. Desiree is the author of a book on anti-inflammatory nutrition called Un-Junk Your Diet: How to shop, cook and eat to fight inflammation and feel better, forever and her new cookbook, Eat More Plants: 100 Anti-inflammatory Plant-centred Recipes for Vibrant Living is a #1 National Bestseller.

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