September is National Breakfast Month. I think it’s safe to say that breakfast is my favorite meal. There are so many things you can eat for breakfast, and breakfast can really be had at any time of the day. Who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner every once in a while? Breakfast is also touted as being the most important meal of the day, not just by moms, but by professionals too.
Breakfast = breaking the fast. After sleeping through the night and not eating for several hours our brains and bodies need fuel. This fuel is provided in the form of glucose from food. Feeding your brain and body first thing in the morning allows you to concentrate and focus, jump starts your metabolism and puts you in a better mood.
Eating breakfast reduces cravings and the amount of food you eat throughout the rest of the day. When you skip breakfast your blood sugar remains low and your body goes into starvation mode which can cause cravings, shakiness, mood swings and headaches to name a few symptoms.
A healthy breakfast should be eaten within an hour of waking and should be a mix of carbohydrates and protein.
My favorite everyday breakfasts:
~1 cup Greek yogurt + 1/2-1 cup fruit + handful cereal/granola + sprinkle of chia seeds
Smoothie = ~3/4 cup yogurt + ~1 cup fruit + splash of milk + peanut butter or protein powder
Healthy breakfast sandwich = English muffin/bagel thin + 1 egg + slice of cheese and/or deli ham with fruit on the side
High protein cereal like Kashi Go Lean + low-fat milk + a banana or berries
Frozen waffles with peanut butter
Feel like you don’t have time for breakfast? Easy, quick ideas:
Put all the ingredients for a smoothie together in a plastic bag and freeze it so all you have to do it throw it in the blender and go (idea from Vitamin G)
Grab an energy bar or high protein granola bar and a piece of fruit
Take 45 seconds to microwave an instant oatmeal packet then add some dried fruit and nuts
Make a peanut butter and jelly to go
A breakfast higher in protein and fiber (like greek yogurt and fruit or oatmeal and nuts) will keep you feeling fuller longer.
Choose cereals and breads made with whole grains.
Try to avoid cereals with more than 5 grams of sugar per serving. If you really like sugary cereals try mixing one with a whole grain, high fiber cereal. You can also find healthier cereals that taste similar to the sugary ones. For example, Total Cinnamon Crunch tastes much like Cinnamon Toast Crunch but has 4g of fiber and 4g of protein (vs 1g fiber and 2g protein).
Pay attention to the serving size of cereal. Most people eat a lot more than the serving size of 1/2 to 1 cup.
If having granola, aim for a 1/4 cup or less as it can be high in sugar and fat.
If you’re not used to eating breakfast, start out small. Have a granola bar and a cup of orange juice or something else light. Remember that something is better than nothing and eating breakfast will help you concentrate, be more productive and aid in weight control.