As I noted earlier this month, I’ve been posting a lot of breakfast tips and tricks to my Facebook page. I love breakfast. It is by far my favorite meal of the day and always has been. I’ve never really understood the people who don’t wake up ready to eat. Sometimes when I go to bed I’m already wondering what I might make for my first meal of the next day!
Why is breakfast the most important meal of the day? For starters, you’ve been fasting all night long. If you think of your body like a car, you are waking up on empty or pretty close to empty. Breakfast gives you the fuel you need to get started for the day. Skipping this meal causes you to run on fumes, which eventually leads to getting stuck, whether it be mentally or physically. Breakfast should also be your biggest meal of the day. Think about this: you wake up with a whole day ahead of you. Depending on your lifestyle that might entail being on your feet, moving around, or it might entail sitting at a desk. Everyone is different but most people will be most active in the hours immediately after breakfast, not dinner. For so long we’ve had it backwards – we eat the biggest meal at the end of the day, when we have just a couple hours before we turn in for the night. Usually those hours between dinner and bedtime, at least for me, involve reading, watching TV, or just hanging out. I’m not very active after 7 PM but I’m very active between 7 AM and 7 PM.
Let’s start with the basics – what does a healthy breakfast look like? Over the years I’ve really changed my morning eating habits. I used to be a cereal and toast kind of gal but that is no longer the case. I try to get essential macronutrients in my first meal of the day: carbohydrates, protein, fat, and water. I also try to avoid added sugars during my first meal of the day.
Protein – Eggs are my biggest source of protein in the morning. They usually come from the Iowa Food Cooperative or better yet, my neighbor Ed’s backyard! I also eat natural (no-sugar added, peanuts-only) peanut butter with buckwheat pancakes or toast, which keeps me pretty full. I am planning to make my own sunflower seed butter and almond butter this month so stay tuned!
Fat – Occasionally I’ll put a piece of cheese on an egg or will have an avocado as a side. Plain Greek yogurt and even the peanut butter would be good sources of fat as well! Sometimes I get fancy on the weekends and make alligator eggs, aka an egg baked inside an avocado. I’ll post the recipe for this in a few days!
Carbohydrates – Fruits and vegetables are great carbohydrate options for your first meal of the day. I also eat steel cut oats and occasionally have toast. I know some people swear off bread but I still eat bread in moderation. I love making buckwheat waffles and pancakes as well. Buckwheat, which I’ll post more about later, is not even a grain but rather a fruit seed so it’s naturally gluten-free!
Added Sugars – If I have any added sugar it’s in the form of honey. In the photo above I added honey to my buckwheat pancakes. Be careful when purchasing honey at the store as so much of it is not 100% natural honey. There have been studies done that show many commercial brand honeys contain no pollen.
Water – I try to have at least a glass or two of water before I head out of the house in the morning. Not only do we wake up on empty from an energy standpoint, but we also wake up dehydrated. If you are a tea or coffee drinker, I encourage you to have a glass of water before your caffeinated beverage!
So do I only eat the foods listed above for breakfast? Absolutley not but I try to eat those foods five or six mornings a week. Occasionally I’ll find myself out for breakfast and will indulge in a doughnut or ham and cheese croissant but I try to make those occasions far and few between. On the weekends one of my favorite recipes is for lemon poppyseed waffles which call for sugar and taste really good with raspberry compote. So I’m not eating perfect 100% of the time and it’s ok if you aren’t either. What’s important is that we make healthy choices 90% of the time give permission to indulge just once in a while. If you’re going to be a wellness champion, you should eat like one! Get started today!