We’re going to go back to basics today and talk about breakfast. Are you eating it? Regularly? Does your morning meal sustain you until lunch? Yes, folks, everything your mom told you about the first meal of the day is true: It’s important.
Why you should eat in the am: When you eat breakfast, you are literally doing just that…breaking the fast from the night before. You need fuel in your tank to function at your best and to rev up your metabolism. If you skip breakfast, your body will hold onto the food you consume next (lunch) for as long as possible instead of burning it right away. Essentially your body is saying, “Food, finally! Gotta hold onto these nutrients—who knows when I will get them again!”
Weight loss and eating breakfast has been linked multiple times, so do I really need to convince you to make this a priority? Plus, who doesn’t want an opportunity to eat?! Also, studies have shown that those who skip breakfast have a tendency to consume more food than usual the next chance they get and have a higher tendency to snack on high-calorie foods.
What you should be eating: Think eggs, vegetables, fruit, whole grains—things that will keep your blood sugar levels steady and sustain you until your next meal. This green-fruit smoothie and egg breakfast is just the right combination of nutrients. If it’s hard for you to eat a full meal like this in the morning, grab something small at home like a Greek yogurt, piece of peanut butter toast or hard boiled egg, and then be prepared with a piece of fruit, string cheese or serving of nuts in case you get hungry later. This will help your body get used to having food in the morning, and eventually things will shift in a way that will make you ready to eat when you wake up.
What you shouldn’t be eating: Yogurt parfaits are a healthy choice at Starbucks and McDonald’s, right? Wrong. Firstly, the sugar content in those suckers is almost a whole day’s worth. As you know from my previous sugar-stress-sleep post, high-sugar foods go straight through your body, into your blood stream, giving you an immediate jolt, then send you crashing and hungry again soon after.
Secondly, why are you in line at the Golden Arches in the first place? There’s always a better choice than that. But if that truly is a last-resort stop, then fine, make the best possible choice—“the lesser of the evils” as I like to say. The Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal falls into this category at 290 calories and 21g of sugar—ehhh, not horrible. And the Egg McMuffin has 300 calories and 18g of protein; protein is a good thing. (It would be better, though, to make your own bowl of oats or English muffin egg sandwich at home!) And check the nutrition label on your cereal box—less than 10g of sugar and 5g or more of fiber is what you’re aiming for. So long, Frosted Flakes!
Excuses, Excuses: You’re busy, I know. So am I. But not making time for breakfast isn’t doing one single positive thing for you (or your waistline), so why not start making it a priority? I’m not saying you need to whip up a gourmet meal at 7am everyday. I’m saying, if it’s hard for you to squeeze in a quick bite, then find a way to make it happen.
Can you go to bed just a bit earlier so you can wake up earlier? Can you have breakfast already prepared? Overnight oats are all the rage on health blogs these days. Or perhaps you could boil a batch of eggs before the week starts so you have an easy grab-and-go food on hand. Cottage cheese and fruit is easy, too. And who doesn’t like peanut butter? Make a PB-banana sandwich before bed and have it ready and waiting for you the next day. See? You can do it.
Tell me: Do you eat breakfast? What are your go-to morning meals?
– ELLEN COLLIS
Ellen Collis is a blogger at Wannabe Health Nut and Health Coach in NYC, who graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free health consultation to discuss how she can assist you with your nutrition and lifestyle goals. She would love nothing more than to help you have more energy, feel fabulous in your own skin and live a healthy life that doesn’t require giving up your favorite foods.