Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! I wake up stoked to eat breakfast – is that weird?
When we’re busy, breakfast often gets skipped or, because we’re told to eat something, we reach for packaged, convenient foods. This is how NOT to do breakfast!
Breakfast is a very important meal because you’re setting yourself up for the rest of your day! Start the day with sugary cereal and you’re way more likely to get (and cave into) sugar cravings later on in the afternoon. Start your day right, however, and you will more easily stick to your meal plans, avoid cravings and feel way more energetic throughout the day.
So, toss the Honeycomb cereal or processed, sweetened oatmeal packets (husband of mine – I’m talking to you here)! Instead, add these 3 amazing foods to your morning to feel more alert and manage your weight!
Breakfast Food #1: Eggs
Eggs are your breakfast powerhouse – and I don’t mean those processed ‘eggs’ in a carton! (Seriously, have you ever cracked a real egg and left it in the fridge for a day or two?!?! Gross! You know those cartons are full of preservatives, right?)
Eggs are basically a nutritional godsend – they are a complete protein and contain some of the most important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats. But, if you skip the egg yolk, you’ll be missing out on the benefits of eggs.
Whole eggs are a great protein source, which will help balance blood sugar right from the get-go! And what does balanced blood sugar mean? WAY fewer cravings! Protein also helps keep you feeling full for much longer which is important for people who want to manage weight.
Are you thinking, what about cholesterol? Well, cholesterol from foods is not associated with increased risk of arterial or heart disease (find out more here) – your liver manufacturers all the cholesterol your body needs, so if you eat cholesterol, the liver just won’t make as much. Problems arise when your liver can’t balance out your HDL and LDL cholesterol in the blood. To address high cholesterol, you need to address lifestyle and your liver health.
So, don’t blame eggs!
Eggs are super easy to cook too – you can hard-boil a bunch on the weekend for a quick snack or breakfast when you’re short on time (they’ll stay good in the fridge for 4-5 days). Eggs are a great base for using up leftover protein and veggies too – just scramble it all together (it’s technically called a ‘hash’).
Make sure not to overcook your eggs because high temperatures can oxidize the cholesterol, which is what makes it unhealthy.
Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds
Just like protein can help stabilize blood sugar and set your day up right, nutritionally anyway, nuts and seeds provide great sources of both protein and fats to keep you full, provide fiber and improve insulin sensitivity.
Have you never thought to have nuts or seeds at breakfast? One great way for women to get healthy seeds at breakfast is to practice seed cycling. Or, try adding 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your oatmeal, scrambled eggs, or other breakfast food to help the liver breakdown excess estrogen (a great habit for pre- and post-menopausal women to get into – hint hint).
Now, don’t think I’m telling you to go out and buy a bunch of salted, candied, sugary and/or processed nuts, seeds, cereals or nut butters, okay?
Raw nuts – almonds, walnuts, macadamia, Brazil, hazelnuts – and raw seeds – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, flax, hemp, chia – have not been roasted, processed, sweetened or otherwise altered and give you the nutrients I’m talking about. And, you can easily find these raw versions in the bulk section of your favorite grocery store. For even more nutritional punch, soak your nuts and seeds in water for a minimum of 4 hours before eating them.
You can grab a small handful of nuts when you’re busy to eat on the way to the gym or work each morning. You can add a bit of natural nut butter to your morning tea or coffee to make a latte: Add your regular hot tea or coffee and a tablespoon of nut butter to a blender (be careful not to overfill) and blend until frothy.
For a delicious breakfast, soak ½ cup raw almonds, 2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds, and 1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds in a closed container overnight. In the morning, drain the water, chop the nuts and seeds up, and top with a chopped apple, peach or other fruit. I like to sprinkle cinnamon over top when I use an apple or nutmeg with a peach, but feel free to experiment!
Breakfast Food #3: Veggies
Traditionally lacking from most breakfasts, veggies in the morning is something I’ve been experimenting with a lot over the past year. One of my favorite breakfasts is 1 ½ cups of cubed, cooked sweet potato with ½ an avocado – this combination of vitamin A and healthy fat will ensure your body is able to use the nutrients from these foods more efficiently. Plus the fiber and fat keeps me full right up until lunch.
Along with protein at every meal, you need to add more vegetables to your diet! Veggies are nutrition powerhouses too – they are some of the best sources of important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber and water! Vegetables keep you healthy!!
While a leafy green salad for breakfast is totally acceptable (don’t forget a drizzle of olive or flaxseed oil), I’m not suggesting this. You can easily add veggies to scrambled eggs or make a whole foods bowl of leftover chicken or turkey, a cup or two of chopped veggies, a tablespoon of raw seeds or nuts, some oil, or even avocado.
If veggies at breakfast are new to you, start by adding them to eggs (or scrambled tofu if eggs aren’t your thing). Get used to ‘hash’ bowls – they’re so easy and delicious, plus no two hashes are ever the same.
Some vegetables that I like at breakfast are: spinach, tomatoes (salsa too), sweet potato, white potato, broccoli, onion, peppers, mushrooms and bok choy.
Incorporate these 3 foods into your regular breakfasts and you’ll soon see fewer sugar cravings, less hunger and even a wee bit of weight loss! How awesome is that???