Your mom is right - breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. We’ve all heard this before, but has anyone ever told you that what you eat makes a crucial difference to the way you feel the rest of the day? And yet, according to food industry studies, more than 30 million people in the U.S. skip breakfast on a regular basis.
Now, I’m not talking about eating a breakfast of coffee and Lucky Charms (or even Whole Wheat Cheerios) or a bagel and cream cheese with a skim-milk latte. These kinds of breakfasts start your day in a deficit – you’re already giving your body too much sugar (and possibly too much caffeine) so you are bound to crash mid-morning and crave something sweet or caffeinated to perk you up.
Instead, a healthy breakfast includes unprocessed protein, fiber, and healthy carbs and fats. Protein is brain food – just what we need to start our day at school, work or running a household -- and it also stabilizes blood sugar levels. Fiber supports healthy digestion, elimination and weight loss. Unrefined carbohydrates give us energy – both for our body and our brain. And healthy fats help us absorb vitamins and minerals while giving us a steady, slow-releasing source of energy. For breakfast, I like to include Omega-3 fats that help our mind and body, and that’s where flaxseed comes in, a real super food! You will read more about the importance of eating these seeds next week!
A Big Deal, Not A Big Production
Breakfast does not need to be a big production. Even if you have limited time in the morning, you can still whip up one of my fast and healthy recipes. But you’ll need a plan! Make a list of the recipe ingredients you’ll want for a week of breakfasts and buy them at the start of the week. Prepare some foods ahead of time (for example, the Quinoa for the porridge recipe below keeps for days!) And don’t be afraid to eat leftovers for breakfast.
If you feel that you’re “just not a breakfast eater” or “never hungry in the morning,” you may want to consider how late you are eating at night. You want at least two and a half hours between your last meal in the evening and the time you go to sleep so that in the morning you are ready to “break the fast.”
But maybe you need more convincing, so here are the top reasons that all of us should start our day with a healthy breakfast:
• Supports your brain function so you have greater clarity and focus.
• Promotes consistently high energy levels throughout the day (instead of being on a “rollercoaster” of energy highs and crashes)
• Helps you lose and maintain weight
• Reduces your cravings for sugar and caffeine
• Supports balanced blood sugar levels
Keep reading to see my favorite breakfasts below.
It might be challenging for you or your kids to eat a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning, but it’s important! Here’s why:
• The right breakfast combo of protein, carbs and healthy fats activates our neurotransmitters which support focus, attention and energy.
• A healthy breakfast also releases the brain chemical serotonin, which helps regulate mood and encourage a feeling of calm.
• Experts believe that skipping breakfast can make us lethargic, moody, anxious, and less focused.
I’m excited to share with you a few of my Best Breakfasts - why not try one tomorrow morning?
1. Spreadable edible!
Toast whole-grain bread (Ezekial brand) and spread with almond butter OR sesame butter (Tahini). Top with blueberries, sliced strawberries OR sliced bananas.
2. Protein smoothie. Blend berries, half a banana (cut up and freeze your bananas to make your smoothies extra thick and creamy), and unsweetened almond milk, or coconut milk or water. Add one scoop of plant-based protein powder, a handful of dark leafy greens (such as spinach or kale) and two tablespoons of flaxseeds or chia seeds.
3. Oatmeal (or other whole grain) with power toppings. Choose oats, millet, brown rice, or quinoa; stir in berries and flax or chia seeds; top with chopped walnuts or sliced almonds. I like to make a big pot of quinoa on Sunday nights and reheat it in the morning, then add my toppings.
4. Egg with fresh veggies. I heat a teaspoon of olive oil on medium low, sauté mushrooms, onions and spinach (or whatever veggies I have on hand) then I set that on a plate and scramble an egg right in the pan. When the egg is cooked, I toss the veggies back into the pan and mix it all together. This takes me two minutes, tops. Sometimes, I make a veggie omelet, too.
Remember, Folks, the "Bee Fit" motto: food determines how we feel and heal!
Source: Crave Nutrition and Marketing, LLC September 2015