As clichéd as it may sound, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. We literally “break” the “fast” of the night when we eat in the morning. Whether you eat dinner at 6 or 9 pm and breakfast at 6 or 9 am, your body goes a very long period of time without eating anything. This is why our blood glucose levels (what gives us energy) are low first thing in the morning and will only continue to stay low until we give our body some nourishment.  The longer you wait to eat, the slower your whole body will be to get moving for the day. This also includes your metabolism; the longer the body starves the more likely your next meal will store as fat because of the slow down of your metabolism, while your energy levels will remain low. (Click here to read a great article Livestrong published on the positive effects on the body of eating breakfast).

Back before I realized how important breakfast is I used to wake up and drink a few cups of coffee on an empty stomach and not have breakfast for a couple of hours. I never felt hungry before then so I wouldn’t eat. I now understand that not only was my energy a lot lower than it could be throughout the day but that my metabolism wasn’t working up to its full potential, allowing me to burn more fuel (aka fat) all day long.

Now that I have changed my breakfast habits and eat a protein rich breakfast within an hour of waking up, I have realized just how much more energy I gain because of it. If you are like I used to be and your number one complaint about breakfast is that you just don’t feel hungry or ready to eat, I can tell you that once you start making yourself eat right away, your body will start demanding it. So, in this New Year give your body better health in the morning by waking up and eating a full, protein-rich breakfast. You will be amazed how it will change your energy levels and jump-start each day; your metabolism will work with you and not against you.

To help get you started here are some of my breakfast favorites that I make each day depending on how much time I have to prepare it and what I am in the mood for.  I hope you find some of my ideas helpful and even inspire some of your own! Please share your favorites with us all so we have even more variety in the morning.

HEALTHY BREAKFAST IDEAS

Fast and easy to prepare:

Protein Shake

There are a lot of not so good for you protein mixes out there with a lot of added sugar among other things and some of the healthy ones are really chalky and hard to drink. I love Jay Robb’s Whey protein in both chocolate and vanilla. Add any of the following to it:

  • Any frozen or fresh fruit you like – berries, mangos, bananas, etc…
  • Almond butter or the nut butter of your choice
  • Flax oil for some added omega 3’s
  • Ice

Bowl of Greek yogurt with any or all of the following:

  • Granola (my husband and I love Udi’s gluten-free granola not only because it’s gluten-free but also because it  is sweetened with honey instead of sugar. My local farmer’s market sells GF as well that is sweetened with agave so check to see if yours might have it, too!)
  • Slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, raisins or other chopped dried fruits.
  • Any fresh berries or pomegranate seeds are a favorite at our house
  • Raw cacao nibs if you’re looking for additional fiber
  • Sweeten with a touch of agave, coconut palm sugar or honey

Cottage Cheese with any of the following (or all by itself if that’s the way you like it!):

  • Chopped strawberries or pomegranate seeds, pineapple, or whatever fruit sounds good to you
  • I like it with a little strawberry jam on rice cakes or toast

 Instant hot cereal or oatmeal

  • I have recently fallen in love with EcoPlanet’s Gluten-free Instant Hot Cereal as it contains no sugar and all kinds of healthy grains such as quinoa, buckwheat flour, and flax seeds. Also great is Cream of Buckwheat, Quinoa or Brown Rice and I add the following to any of them:
  • A splash or two of whole milk or goat’s milk (or you can fully sub the water for milk for even creamier cereal with more protein)
  • Slivered almonds and/or walnuts
  • Dried fruits or fresh berries
  • Sweetened with agave, coconut palm sugar or honey

 Toast or instant waffles*

  • Spread on some almond, cashew, sunflower seed, peanut or any nut butter that tickles your fancy!
  • I love organic Nuttzo which is a combo of most nuts and flax seeds and has a great, salty taste! Add a little jam, agave, coconut palm sugar or honey to sweeten.

*(Make a batch of healthy waffles on a weekend and pop them in a freezer. They taste so much better than buying the pre-made ones and are better for you).

Breakfast sausages or patties

Sausages or patties are an easy and fast way to add protein in the morning and only take of minutes on the stove or even faster in the microwave if time is an issue (use the stove if you can!) We love Applegate naturals frozen ones at our house.

Smoked salmon on a bagel – probably the most favorite breakfast in our house!

  • Bagel of your choice (My favorite GF kind is Udis)
  • Wild smoked salmon – Coho or Alaskan
  • Red onions, cream cheese and capers
  • Can add more veggies to get even more nutrition in the morning such as tomato slices, cucumber slices or sprouts. So yummy!

Rice Cakes or Toast with Avocado and sea salt

  • To get the protein we need I add sausage on the side, melt cheese on top or add deli meat on top. Can also add more veggies.

A bit more of a time commitment:

Fried egg with or without avocado on Toast (I like to eat two eggs with two pieces of toast)

Soft-boiled eggs on buttered toast

  • Put eggs in boiling water for 5-6 minutes max and remove quickly.  Cool down in cold water, peel and place on the toast. Depending on your stove top and the way you like it to taste, you may have to figure out exactly what amount of time cooks the egg to your liking as a little too long will over cook them and too short will leave them a little too runny and raw.

Scrambled eggs or omelette with anything you like

  • Veggies such as peppers, onions, or spinach and cheese, ham, sausage etc…

Create a healthy breakfast burrito by using the scrambled eggs above and adding black beans and a touch of sour cream (Greek yogurt works great as a sub for sour cream, too!)

Add a side of nitrate-free bacon (turkey or pork) with any of these breakfasts for even a little extra protein.

If you really have absolutely ZERO time to prepare breakfast, buy individual Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or string cheese to take on the go with a piece of fruit. Stash healthy protein bars and nuts and seeds in your car or purse for days when you don’t have a quick breakfast to go (Check out a list of the protein bars I like the best and that are the healthiest by clicking here).

I hope your mornings this year are filled with a healthy breakfast and lots of energy!

Written by Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates

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