“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” How many times have you heard that? And do you know why? Let’s take a look at the word breakfast and split it into it’s two components: break and fast. It’s the meal in which you are breaking your overnight fast that has lasted anywhere between 8 and 12 hours. During the time you spend sleeping, your body is getting some much-needed rest and repairing itself from any damage done during the day. Your muscles have time to heal from your workout. Your brain is assimilating new material learned during the waking hours. Your immune system has a chance to re-boot. That’s why sleep is so important.
When you wake up in the morning, hopefully feeling refreshed, your blood sugar is likely at the lowest point of the day, meaning your fuel tank is on empty. Imagine your body is like a car. If you want it to drive well and far distances, then you need to have a full tank of high-octane gas in it. Fueling up with breakfast does just that. And breakfast isn’t just important for energy. Research shows that breakfast eaters perform better on cognitive tasks in school and work and have improved memory.
What to Eat
What you eat for breakfast is just as important as the meal itself. A bagel and cream cheese and a cup of coffee aren’t exactly a prize-winning breakfast combination. Neither is the Denny’s Grand Slam. These foods are high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fat and low in fiber, smart carbs, and clean protein. So, what should the ideal breakfast look like?
- Smart Carbs: pick one whole grain item (oatmeal, quinoa, whole grain bread, sprouted grain bread, whole wheat English muffin or pita or tortilla, corn tortilla, high-fiber/low-sugar cereal, sweet potato)
- Clean Protein: 1 whole egg, 4 egg whites, 1/2 cup beans, 1 cup organic milk, plain Greek Yogurt, cottage cheese, turkey sausage (we like Applegate)
- Fruits & veggies: 1 piece or 1 cup fruit (organic if on the “dirty dozen” list), 1/2-1 cup cooked veggies (in an omelet), or salsa (great on eggs or in a breakfast burrito)
- Healthy fats: 1/8th-1/4th avocado, 2 tablespoon raw nuts, 1 tablespoon nut butters, 1/2-1 tablespoon virgin coconut or olive oil
- Hydrate: water, green tea, herbal tea, black tea, coffee (yes, it’s OK). Drink at least 8-16 oz. water first thing in the morning to wake up your body and brain.
- Breakfast tacos: cook 2 eggs or 4 egg whites with 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese and place in 2 organic corn tortillas and top with salsa (red or green) and 1/4th of an avocado
- Yogurt parfait:Mix 1 cup organic, plain Greek yogurt with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon raw honey, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 1/2 tablespoon chia or ground flax seeds. Layer 1/2 yogurt in a glass, top with 1/2 cup organic berries and 2 tablespoons chopped nuts; repeat layers.
- South of the border omelet: In a little olive oil, saute chopped onion, Ortega chiles, tomato, and mushrooms until soft; add 4 egg whites and cook until bottom is set. Flip and cook 1 minute longer. Serve with fresh fruit.
- Sunrise smoothie: Combine 4 oz. orange juice (or tart cherry juice or pomegranate juice), 4 oz water, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup frozen organic raspberries, 5 frozen organic strawberries, 1 tablespoon chia seed or ground flax seed, and 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder. Blend until smooth.