Breakfast, the best way to start your day
For many people breakfast is an afterthought. A cup of coffee and a bagel on the way out the door. Or possibly nothing at all. But it seems that conventional wisdom about breakfast being the most important meal of the day may be true. Studies show that eating breakfast, and what you eat, impacts your blood sugar and tends to have an effect on food choices throughout the rest of the day. After all, when we examine the word, it means breaking the fast. For most of us, it has been at least 10 hours if not more since we last ate. We deserve to support our bodies well by choosing a real food breakfast.
What not to eat for breakfast
The cereal aisle at the grocery store is huge and cereal manufacturers would like you to believe their overprocessed, often high sugar, offerings are a healthy choice. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the milk you eat the cereal with may provide a small amount of protein, it’s certainly not enough to get your metabolism going. What you are getting is an over-processed, sugary product. While cereal is debatably better than not eating I’m here to tell you that it is not better by much. Your body will still feel the effects metabolically and it will not be supportive of your blood sugar.
Grab-and-go fast food options are another no-no. I have never been a fan of that idea because the food is fatty, over-processed, chemically-laden and very few of these places offer a truly healthy start to your day.
Breakfast bars are another common, highly processed, item put forth as a potentially good idea. Unfortunately, these tend to be candy bars in disguise. So while the front-of-package labeling may try to convince you that this is the perfect portable option, when you read the label you’ll see that they are often high in sugar and don’t have very much protein.
Good rules to follow
- First and foremost it is important to start your day with breakfast. Don’t skip.
- Eat protein, your body needs to refuel after the “fast” of sleeping.
- Get fiber, supportive to your digestive system it also helps sustain you as your blood sugar balances out with this first meal of the day.
- Limit sugar. Too much sugar (think cereals, syrups, muffins, etc) will cause a spike in insulin and then your body begins the blood sugar roller-coaster.
- Avoid simple carbohydrates (pancakes, toast, boxed cereal) your body will digest them too quickly and they are not supportive of blood sugar stability.
Break away from the box
Because of the excellent marketing job by cereal manufacturers, we often think of breakfast as coming in a box. Or there’s an association with certain foods for breakfast like bagels, pancakes or waffles. But you don’t have to have what is considered “breakfast” food for breakfast if you don’t want to. It’s interesting how many people are fans of breakfast for dinner. But what about having dinner for breakfast instead? Of course, if that’s something you’re not ready for yet, below are some easy to make, tasty, and nutritious breakfast recipes to start your day.
- A Mediterranean style breakfast would include olives and avocados which provide healthy fat, fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs for protein, cucumber and tomato salad with olive oil and fresh herbs. While this meal would typically come with bread or pita and either butter or labneh (a thickened yogurt cheese), you can simply skip that or serve the cheese by itself.
- Sauteed greens, like kale, collards, or cabbage, with mushrooms, red onion and pine nuts sauteed in coconut oil is a fabulous veggie-rich start to the day. Add protein, either lentils, a chicken breast, or some eggs and some sauerkraut for a delicious start to the day.
- Many people who don’t like to eat breakfast find that smoothies can be a good way to start their day. Either by having a smoothie bowl 0r one of these superfood smoothies.
- If you’re looking for a really easy way to start your day there’s always this crockpot breakfast casserole. Let your crockpot do all the work while you’re sleeping. You wake up to a healthy breakfast.
Starting with a real food breakfast is one of the first steps towards a healthy life. In fact, it’s one of the #IngredientsForAHealthyLife. If you’re looking to do even more and clean up not just your diet but your lifestyle, be sure to check out the Lean Clean Green subscription box.
Bauer, LB, et al. A pilot study examining the effects of consuming a high-protein vs normal-protein breakfast on free-living glycemic control in overweight/obese ‘breakfast skipping‘ adolescents. Int J Obes (Lond). 2015 Sep;39(9):1421-4.
Kobayashi, F, et al. Effect of breakfast skipping on diurnal variation of energy metabolism and blood glucose. Obes Res Clin Pract. 2014 May-Jun;8(3):e201-98.