So what makes a good breakfast?
I was coaching a client recently who wants to get back into shape and lose some weight. She is doing great in her new workout routine, but she is not doing so well with her eating routine. I was explaining to her that it’s really 20% exercise and 80% what you put in your mouth. Don’t get me wrong, daily exercise is one of your best ways to stay healthy and in shape. Take it from me, I did Dailey Method in Fairfax over the weekend and boy, am I sore. I hadn’t been to a class there in weeks so I knew it would whip my butt into shape. I love the feeling of having worked out my body. But having a good breakfast is an important part of losing weight.
What is bad breakfast?
So, it’s often about the food you eat. So I asked her if she could give up wheat. She said no. It is just too much a part of her daily food intake. So, I asked, “Could you just eat 1 meal a day with wheat and the rest wheat-free?” She said, yes. So that’s where you start. Figure out how to make a small change that will have a big impact in the long range.
Next, I asked her what she was eating for breakfast. First, she told me she did this 1-day diet cleanse thing and ate fruit all day. Yikes! I explained how that is just eating too much sugar in the form of fructose. All that fructose has to be processed by the liver and is one of the causes of fatty liver disease. I encouraged her not to try that one again.
Ok, so she was eating instant oatmeal for breakfast. Yikes again! I explained that oatmeal, especially instant, is a high glycemic food. That means it raises your blood sugar levels and then you crash, feeling hungrier than before you ate. Yes, oats are considered a healthy breakfast, but you might as well be eating a bowl of sugar. And, after eating such a high glycemic meal, your body is going to take that sugar and store it as fat around your middle. Now, who wants more fat there? I certainly don’t!
Good breakfast examples
My suggestions for good breakfasts are ones that include protein. You can make it as simple as whole milk, organic, Greek yogurt and some berries and nuts sprinkled on top. Or, if you do like oats or a warm breakfast, then you can cook up some steel cut oats or quinoa porridge. Just cook the quinoa like you would oats using your favorite milk product. If you don’t have 30 minutes to cook up the steel cut oats, just set it up in a pan to soak the night before. Get up and turn on the stove and your oats will be ready in about 10 minutes or less.
The other trick I like with oats or quinoa is to sprinkle in some protein powder at the end of cooking it. When you serve it, you can add almond, coconut or cow’s milk with some nuts and berries, rather than sugar. What about breakfast cereals? I don’t like them. They are filled with wheat and highly processed. They usually have loads of added sugars, even the “healthy” ones. If you must have cereal, then make sure the total carbs per servings is less than 25grams. And that’s a great rule of thumb for all processed, packaged foods.
Here are 3 of my go-to breakfasts:
First, toad in a hole. You remember that one from childhood where you cut the hole in the bread and then cook the egg in the hole, don’t you? I use gluten free bread. Canyon Bakehouse makes a good one for this purpose. Get good eggs too. Cage free, roaming, happy chickens are the best. Unless you have chickens in the backyard like I do.
Protein shake. This is super quick and easy and can be done the night before. Here is my new favorite recipe. Put all of this in the blender and enjoy.
- ½ ripe organic banana (room-temp or frozen)
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 1 cup milk of your choice
- USANA protein powder
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Optional: ½ avocado and frozen spinach
Lastly, Chia pudding.
This one makes me laugh as I’ve been doing this for years and now I see it at Urban Remedy for about $5 a serving. That’s a bit pricey for my liking. Take a mason jar and fill it with these ingredients. Shake really well and put in the fridge overnight.
- 1 cup milk of your choice
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- handful of nuts of your choice
- handful of frozen berries of your choice
Breakfast for the family
If you have kids, it’s so important to send them off to school with a full tummy of nutrition that will keep them going until snack time. At the very least, you could scramble an egg and have them eat it on an organic corn tortilla. A good breakfast is especially important for children who need brain fuel to learn at school.
Take time to eat a good breakfast and your body will love you for it. Did you know that people who eat a protein breakfast end up eating about 80% fewer calories through the day than those who don’t? Now, that alone should get you going. Not to mention, if you get that 3 pm slump in energy, it most likely ties back to what you did or didn’t have for breakfast.
So breakfast is the most important meal of the day, make the most of it. I’d like to leave you with this quote: