Author: Linda DiBella
If you split the word breakfast in two, it becomes break – fast. This is literally what we do when we have our morning meal. We have gone sometimes twelve hours without eating while we slept, and to replenish our energy sources, including fuel for our brains, we must eat something.
So many people skip breakfast. Yet studies show that those who eat breakfast are healthier and less likely to be overweight. One reason for this is that eating breakfast helps to regulate our blood sugar levels, which keeps us from mindlessly eating unhealthy foods like sugary snacks in response to low blood sugar later in the day. This increases our body’s insulin response and promotes fat storage.
In addition, breakfast skippers tend to concentrate the bulk of their calories to later in the day when they are less active and therefore less apt to burn them. Eating a healthy breakfast also jumpstarts our energy levels, allowing us to be more physically active all day long. Children who start the day with a healthy breakfast that fuels their bodies and brains also perform better in school.
Those who eat breakfast are also more likely to have an overall healthier diet and make better choices for other meals throughout the day.
A healthy breakfast includes protein, some low glycemic, high fiber carbohydrates, and healthy fats. They are also low in added sugars and processed ingredients. This will ensure that we supply some much-needed fuel to our brains relatively quickly while at the same time, we digest our meals slowly enough that our insulin levels remain steady throughout the morning and we can function for several hours without feeling hungry. Here are some good choices for breakfast:
- Cooked steel-cut oats with nut milk, walnuts, seeds, ground cinnamon, and a bit of dried fruit like raisins. Substitute cooked buckwheat/kasha or quinoa for an equally satisfying breakfast.
- Hard or soft-boiled eggs with whole-grain toast and some cantaloupe or apple slices
- Whole-grain or sprouted grains toast topped with nut butter and a side of fresh berries, or topped with hummus and sprouts. Here are recipes for pumpkin, apple, and chocolate hummus that can be eaten any time of the day.
- A vegetable omelet with chopped spinach, cilantro or parsley, chopped tomato, seasonings like tumeric and pepper, and sliced avocado
- Home-made granola with rolled oats, nuts, seeds, unsweetened coconut, and dried fruit. Eat it with milk or plain yogurt. Here’s a recipe for one I frequently make.
- A protein smoothie made in the blender with a scoop of whey or hemp protein powder, water or milk, frozen banana and blueberries, a teaspoon of coconut oil or ¼ of an avocado, a teaspoon of honey, and a handful of baby greens like spinach or lettuce. Here’s a recipe for a high-energy smoothie I like to drink to refuel after a workout.
For beverages, accompany your meals with green or herbal teas, fresh juices, nut milks (or organic low-fat cow’s milk), or water. Coffee is also best tolerated when drank with food.
What are some of your favorite breakfast meals that best fuel you for the day ahead? Share them here!