Last week, while meeting with one of my new church friends she asked me, "What should I be eating if I'm plant based but want to build muscle?"

She shared that she works full time, is really busy, hasn't been to the gym in a while and tends to skip meals.

This sounded familiar.

99% of my clients struggle with the same exact issues.

They tend to skip breakfast overall because they don't feel hungry in the morning.

They're so used to eating heavily processed foods like cereal, granola bars and bagels that they aren't sure what else they can eat.

So instead of eating healthy and meal prepping, they inhale a donut, a bagel or have coffee for breakfast.

The alternative to guessing what you're going to eat every morning and feeling overwhelmed is to make small, incremental dietary changes daily.

By swapping instead of eliminating. Before we move forward a few reminders:

  1. You can't build muscle if you're skipping meals
  2. You can't lose fat if you're not eating properly

Got it? Good. :)  

Back to my new friend:

My advice was "start mastering one meal at a time."

Trying to make too many changes all at once can be a recipe for disaster—this can cause you to feel overwhelmed and make you want to give up.

To begin making positive lifestyle changes of eating healthy, I encourage you to start with tackling breakfast head on.

I encouraged her (and you) to begin meal planning.

Meal planning can be especially helpful if you're struggling with consistency and seeing results

Our first meal helps our brains and bodies function properly for the remainder of the day.

Below I share 5 of my simple healthy breakfast swaps you can use to get you started, keep you satiated (feeling full) and ready to build the body you want.

1. Kashi’s Go Lean Crunch > Cinnamon Toast Crunch

I used to eat cereal every single morning for breakfast. (hot mess!)

It was quick, cheap and familiar.

& not the boring corn flakes with no flavor either.

I couldn't wait to wake up and get my frosted flakes, special K or captain crunch sugar fix after waking up.

This is probably why breakfast was my favorite meal of the day (a sugar party!)

When I was younger, I had free lunch and always used to look forward to my mom dropping us off at school and eating free breakfast.

Donuts. Cereal. Milk. The deadly combo. I never saw anything wrong with it.

Until I started my fitness journey and began learning more about nutrition and realized I had a sugar addiction disguised as a love for cereal.

In general, cereal isn’t the healthiest breakfast option for us because it’s highly processed and has a crap ton of sugar in it.

However, if you want to lose fat and/or build muscle completely eliminating a particular food is unrealistic and often sets us up to binge eat in the future.

(I know because I tried it.)

Instead of cutting out cereal completely, I started swapping it out with some conscious alternatives and then slowly (keep word here is SLOWLY) began to incorporate other healthy foods as time went on.

If you eat cinnamon toast crunch, frosted flakes, fruit loops or any other cereal for breakfast this is going to taste different because of the texture.

Kashi cereals are made with multi-grain clusters, nuts, seeds and are naturally sweetened. (i.e. this isn't a sponsored post,  I just really like this cereal. If you know someone that works at Kashi tell 'em to hit me up! LOL)

So back to the cereal:

The Kashi, Go Lean brand typically has an average 10–15g of plant protein per serving which is optimal for building muscle and burning fat.

I do advise that you also measure your cereal intake.

For example, on the side of the box under the nutrition label, it will list out what the serving size is and how many servings are inside the container (i.e, the box). Don't go crazy and eat the whole box in one day (I've done this before, smh.)

Only eat one serving and drink it with your favorite nut milk! (I like to eat this with non-sweetened Vanilla Almond milk.)

Here's the Macro count per serving:

  • Protein: 11g
  • Fats: 4g
  • Carbs: 32g

My favorite flavor is Cinnamon Crumble because it has a similar taste to cinnamon toast crunch. :) Hello! Do I really need to say more?

Eat This:


NOT that:


2. Ezekial Bread > White Bread

White bread has NO PLACE IN YOUR HOME (& Yes, I’m yelling!)

Here's why:

A.) It has very little nutritional value

B.) You digest white bread quickly and it often leaves you feeling hungry shortly after.

C.) White bread is a refined grain. A refined grain is created when a whole grain is finely ground and stripped of its bran and germ, the elements that contain fiber, vitamins and minerals.

The refining process, strips away most of the fiber and other vital nutrients your body needs to be at optimal health. 

The process of refining also gives the bread a longer shelf life.

A longer shelf life means it can live on your counter or in any store for weeks without getting moldy (which if you think about it is NASTY!)

Eating whole grains or flourless options like Ezekial bread will give you a bigger nutritional bang for your buck and will keep you fuller longer.

Ezekial bread is my favorite "bread" to have in my healthy eating arsenal because it's made with organic sprouted ingredients and has dense nutritional value.

My favorite to use as toast or as french toast from my cookbook is the cinnamon raison brand below.



NOT that:


3. Whole grain English Muffin > Bagel with cream cheese Fresh

Instead of a bagel and cream cheese, try a whole grain English muffin with nut butter or hummus with Trader Joes EVerything bagel salt-free seasoning.

Lose the refined carbohydrates and empty calories and fill up on fiber, protein, and healthy fats that will keep you fuller longer.

4. Greek Yogurt w|Granola > Flavored Yogurt with fruit-on-the-bottom

I want to help you start moving away from sugar bombs for breakfast and instead opt for protein-rich meals.

Instead of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, try plain Greek yogurt (it's going to be a little bitter at first but you'll get used to it) and add fresh berries, nuts, seeds or homemade granola.

Suprise! The “fruit” on the bottom of that pre-packaged yogurt is more sugar than fruit.

Reduce the sugar content by adding fresh, seasonal fruit and then top with crunchy nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.) or seeds (chia, ground flax or hemp) for added fiber and healthy fats.

If you've dialed in on your macros, are going to the gym more and lifting more weights - the extra carbs will help satisfy your sweet tooth!

5. Orange Juice > Store Bought

Mi Abuelo José used to sit on a little chair in front of his house in the Dominican Republic selling chinas (oranges). My cousins and I would sit at my grandparents marqesina (porch) to sip on the fresh juice and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Have y’all ever had REAL orange juice?

If you have, you know it doesn’t taste like the one you buy from Simply Orange or any one of those other brands. Most store bought juices typically have a significant amount of added sugar.

What many women don’t realize is that they can’t lose that extra weight because they’re drinking half of their daily caloric intake with these “additive filled” drinks. For example, a small Simply Orange juice for one person has about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Is that a lot you may ask me? I’ll provide the photo and you be the judge. Rethink your drink!

Don’t drink your calories.


Drink This:

NOT that:


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Did you learn anything new from this post? If so, please let me know in the comment box below. I'd love to hear from you!

<3 Your virtual fitness Coach - Masiel Encarnación