I’m happy to say, I practice what I preach!
Every day (yes, every. single. day.), I start my day with breakfast. No, not only in September for Better Breakfast Month, but year-round.
Why? Aside from countless studies, which prove the importance of this AM meal (to improve focus, memory, and productivity), the first meal of the day sets me up for success, through proper nutrition!
Not only do I absolutely LOVE breakfast foods (I have breakfast for dinner at least once a week!), many breakfast favorites — eggs, fruit, oatmeal — provide a HUGE nutritional bang for your caloric buck. While I suggest straying from breakfast pastries, go ahead and start your day with complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Let’s take a look:
- FIBER in complex carbs lowers our risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, aids weight loss, keeps us full and (ahem) moving! This super nutrient is SO easy to include in your AM meal. Here are some of the most fiber-licious breakfast foods:
- PROTEIN satisfies and satiates our bodies in a plethora of delicious ways! An egg, for example, is the quintessential makeup of essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that our bodies require…and for just 70 calories each! Keep in mind that protein is found in foods other than the obvious eggs and meat. Nuts and seeds (and their butters) and grains (like quinoa!) are excellent plant-based forms of protein.
- To ease your fears about the eggs-travagant cholesterol levels, remember that although the yolk does contain cholesterol (along with tons of vitamins and minerals), it’s OK to consume in moderation, but try to lower other sources of dietary cholesterol (saturated fat, meat, processed foods, etc.) on days you eat eggs.
- Healthy FAT is a necessary component in our diets, not only because it makes our hair shiny and eyes bright, but because it helps us better absorb certain vitamins and minerals. Studies show that pairing avocado with tomatoes or carrots leads to greater absorption of lycopene or vitamin A, respectively. Here are some great breakfast ideas that contain healthy fats:
- Avocado (mashed) or nut/seed butter on whole grain toast
- Yogurt with chia and flax seeds
- Oatmeal topped with seeds and nuts
- Eggs made with high quality extra virgin olive oil
While these three nutrients are imperative to a healthy body, breakfast isn’t always such a simple meal for people — it’s early, mornings are hectic, it’s hard to get everyone fed as you’re running out the door.
Here are some tips on how you can make September (and beyond) a Better Breakfast Month:
- Nosh on SOMETHING. If you’re new to breakfast, just get in the habit of eating something (No, not just coffee; Yes, a turkey sandwich will even do!). A KIND bar or frozen whole grain waffle are both excellent, quick, breakfast-y choices.
- Preparation is the key to [breakfast] success! You’ve probably gotten bored of me saying this phrase, but being prepared cuts out the hard part — thinking of what to eat! Stock your kitchen with unflavored oatmeal packets, fresh fruit, nut/seed butter, and whole grain toast for the easiest breakfast on-the-go!
- Eat to fuel, not just fill, your body. If you grab a donut or bagel every morning you’re going to crash a couple of hours later. To reap the best benefits from your AM meal, choose the trifecta of nutrients mentioned above…Remember complex carbs + protein + fiber = healthier you! Try my protein pancakes (make the night before and re-heat in AM!) or smoothie for a well-rounded meal!
Still weighing the consequences of skipping breakfast? Look out for your waistline! Long term studies show “breakfast skippers are more likely to gain weight over time.” So on this week of back-to-school for you (or your kids) or a return to busy fall schedules, remember to include this early meal for a better breakfast month!
Cheers…with coffee, of course!