Breakfast is worthy of the familiar expression “the most important meal of the day” simply because it’s true. It literally breaks an overnight fast (hence the origin of its name) providing your body and brain with the necessary fuel for the day. Eating a healthy breakfast improves your health and well-being, and starts the day off on the right foot.
Research shows that breakfast eaters have increased energy levels, a higher consumption of important vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, and are more likely to be within their ideal weight range compared to breakfast skippers. But probably the most appealing benefit is that it jump-starts your metabolism therefore helping you burn more calories throughout the day.
Breakfast should be eaten within 2 hours of waking to keep your blood-sugar levels steady, and to provide you with essential nutrients to kick-start your mind, body, and spirit.
Keep in mind a healthy breakfast should be balanced and provide a mix of protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fat to keep you full and fueled up for your day.
So what are the best breakfasts to reap all of these benefits? Here are some of my favorites:
A metabolism-boosting meal and one of my favorite breakfasts. With some fruit, nuts, and spices, this healthy staple can be transformed into a sweet, creamy, and satisfying dish. I mix in a swirl of almond butter, a teaspoon (or 2) of chia seeds or flaxseeds, half a banana or a half a cup of berries, cinnamon, and a little stevia or vanilla. The nut butter and seeds stabilize blood-sugar levels, boost protein, and add healthy fat that will keep you satisfied until lunch. I prefer old-fashioned rolled oats, but steel cut oats are a great as well.
EGGS and FRUIT or EGGS and TOAST
Generally, I suggest one whole egg and 2-3 egg whites – scrambled up with plenty of veggies. Pair it with either an apple and almond butter (or any fruit and nut combo) or a piece of whole grain toast with avocado. Or, scramble the avocado with the eggs. You certainly can play with options using your veggies, bread, or fruit of choice. This dish has a healthy balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fat that will keep your hunger cravings in check.
HEART HEALTHY TOAST
This choice is a nutritious and flavorful option that will appeal to you if you need breakfast to be portable and require basically no prep time. And of course it tastes delicious! Toast a slice of whole grain, high-fiber bread, layer it with peanut butter or almond butter, sliced banana, and a sprinkle of hemp hearts or chia seeds. My recommendation for bread is Ezekiel bread. A great gluten free option is Food For Life brown rice bread. The heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber in this breakfast make it a well-rounded and convenient welcome to the morning.
This breakfast option is packed with nutrients, extremely satiating, easy to customize and transport, and tastes delicious. Here are my golden rules of smoothie making:
- One cup of low sugar fruit such as berries (if banana is your flavor do half a cup)
- A source of healthy fat such as nuts or seeds, a spoonful of nut butter, or one third of an avocado,
- At least one green vegetable – leafy greens such as kale, spinach, or cucumber,
- Unsweetened, dairy free milk such as almond, coconut, oat, or cashew.
- One scoop of plant-based protein powder (I like Orgain Organic Protein Plant-Based Protein Powder, or Tone It Up Plant-Based Protein from the female duo Karena and Katrina of the Tone It Up brand)
My go-to smoothie fave includes unsweetened coconut milk, organic wild blueberries, a scoop of plant-based protein powder, a spoonful of almond butter, and a handful of kale or cucumber. It’s quick, requires almost no prep-time, and is extremely satisfying.
Studies have shown that eating breakfast can improve memory and concentration levels, and can also lower stress levels, improving mood and making us happier!
So the next time you start to rush out the door in the morning without something to eat, consider that without breakfast you are essentially running on empty, like trying to start a car with no gas. On the other hand, a healthy morning meal can give you energy, satisfy your appetite, and set the stage for healthy eating habits all day long.