Well... What are you eating (or not) for breakfast?
Breakfast is the most important meal that we can eat each day. However, most of us will just skip it because there is not enough time, or we will just grab something such as a piece of fruit, or a protein bar on the way out. There are even those who will just have coffee for breakfast. Breakfast is the first meal that we have after anywhere from a 6 to 12 hour fast starting from the night before. How we break this fast will set the tone for the entire day, and our metabolism.
Our brains need fuel, and we get that fuel from the foods that we eat. Thus starting the day by not eating, or with a high sugar/carbohydrate meal (such as cereal) does not give our bodies what they need. We need to start the morning with a meal dense in nutrients, that has a wide range of colors, and is rich in good macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates). Most of my patients tell me that their typical breakfast is a bowl of cereal, a smoothie, or eggs. These can all become what our bodies desire in a breakfast-time meal.
- Cereals out of a box are not going to cut it. Cereals are high in refined carbohydrates, have high levels of sugar, and who knows what other products/chemicals. Instead, you can start your morning with homemade granola (oats, honey, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, and other spices toasted in the oven), topped with fresh fruits such as berries, and bananas. This can be added to plain Greek yogurt, or covered with rice (or almond) milk. Round that meal off with a cup of hot green tea that has some coconut oil in it, and you have a power packed breakfast.
- Smoothies are a wonderful way of getting fruits, veggies, and even fish oil into us. However, most recipes for smoothies become so fruit rich, and sugar filled that you might as well just have gotten a premade smoothie from the local smoothie bar. Smoothie/Juice bars can, however, make healthier versions. You just have to watch out for what is in the smoothie as ice cream, and sorbet are not what we want to start the day with. Using a high powered blender/pulverizer (Vitamix, or Nutrabullet come to mind) at home, you can make a healthy, and nutrient dense smoothie quickly for yourself. Often, I recommend for every piece of fruit you want to add into your smoothie that you should also have 2 veggies. Greens such as kale, spinach, and cilantro are often a great addition. However, they can give the smoothie a bitter flavor. Using a wide range of fruits and veggies, one could come up with hundreds of combinations. Adding protein to the smoothie can be as easy as adding in nut butters, or using a good quality high protein/low sugar rice, or pea based protein.
- Eggs can be made into a healthy well rounded breakfast by adding veggies to them as you are cooking them. They can even be a good “grab and go” meal/snack if you already have hard boiled eggs premade, by you of course, in your refrigerator. Often, omelets at restaurants are more than one serving, cooked in less than desirable fats, and are filled with cheeses; even worse, they’re usually served with a pile of fried potatoes, and/or bread. As a result of eggs high protein content, we will often feel fuller longer when we start our day with a healthy egg dish.
Some of my patients, myself included, don't really want to start the day with typical breakfast foods. Lately, I have been starting my day with a piece of bread like a toasted english muffin that has hummus, onions, tomatoes, and a small amount of finely shredded cheese. Some days I’ll add fresh avocado to that instead of the cheese, and other days I’ll have some fruit on the side like a sliced apple, or berries. However, the point is that this is a nice warm breakfast sandwich that gives me protein, veggies, and carbohydrates along with more color from the fruits. This sandwich keeps me full, and satisfied until noon, and sometimes later. I encourage you to look at what you are having for breakfast, and see if it is a good start to your day. You should also try something new from my suggestions. And, if you are not eating breakfast then please start. Remember that breakfast does not have to be the usual breakfast foods that large grain harvesting companies say it should be. Eat what you love, and love what you eat.