10/27/2014 04:47 pm ET Updated Dec 27, 2014

Ask JJ: How Can I Make a Protein Shake Cold Weather-Friendly?

Hi JJ, I love my morning protein shake, but now that the mornings are getting colder, I find my morning shake to be something I dread, as it makes me feel so chilled. Do you have any suggestions for a warm, cozy protein-packed breakfast that doesn't include eggs?

With what seem a million pre-workday obligations, breakfast often gets short shift as you gather your big presentation notes and appease your hyperactive terrier that knows you won't be home till late. (Why do we always remember to feed our dog but forget to eat ourselves?)

Time-crunched and stressed out, breakfast becomes a high-sugar impact muffin with a gargantuan dark roast or nothing at all. That's too bad, since breakfast sets your day's metabolic tone. One study among lean healthy women found those who skip breakfast had impaired insulin sensitivity and became more prone to weight gain.

Instead, make breakfast low sugar impact and high in protein. One study found a high-protein breakfast reduces your hunger hormone ghrelin, making you less tempted by those hot cinnamon buns your coworker brought in. Another showed increased breakfast protein could provide initial and sustained fullness compared with other meal times.

A protein shake can become your breakfast saving grace that takes just minutes to whip up but keeps you full and focused for hours. One meta-analysis found a meal replacement shake could "safely and effectively produce "significant sustainable weight loss and improve weight-related risk factors of disease."

Just don't turn a protein shake into an adult milkshake. Higher-sugar impact ingredients like bananas, grapes, agave, honey, and peanut butter -- foods I often see in popular shake recipes -- can stall fat loss and leave you craving a late-morning vending machine dietary debacle.

To make the perfect shake, blend protein powder with frozen berries, avocado, leafy greens, freshly ground flax or chia seeds, and unsweetened coconut or almond milk. You'll get high-quality protein, healthy fats, leafy greens, fiber, and antioxidants in a grab-and-go flavorful shake.

As colder weather approaches, a little creativity can transform your protein shake into a warm, soothing, nutrient-rich breakfast. I can't make the sleet and snow disappear (come to Palm Desert where I live for that!) but this delicious protein shake can provide serious warmth to your morning.

Warm "Shake" Berry Pie

1 cup frozen berries (any type) and/or dark cherries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 scoop (20 - 25 grams) protein powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts

Preparation: Warm cherries/berries and coconut milk over medium heat until fruit is warm. Pour off a few tablespoons of liquid and combine with protein powder, whisk until smooth, and add back to mixture. Stir in chia seeds and chopped walnuts.

Feel free to improvise here with your own low-sugar impact options. Share your favorite cold-weather recipe in the comments section below!

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