If you’re looking to make simple and consistent changes in your lifestyle, a healthy + filling breakfast is a fantastic place to start.
Last week, we talked about why breakfast is important. If you missed that post, click here.
Now that you know why your body relies on this important meal, you have to figure out how to incorporate it into your day.
After four pregnancies filled with morning all-day sickness, I am no longer a breakfast eater. Trying to chew anything in the morning brings back all those feelings of nausea. So for me, I stick with smoothies. Maybe you are like me, you need something super fast to prepare and simple to drink.
My kids don’t feel like a smoothie is a meal. They need silverware and something to chew. While they don’t care if it is hot or cold, it must be filling and delicious. Is this you?
Whether you like your breakfast in a cup, bowl, or on a plate, I’ve got you covered. Most of these are even easy to prep days in advance—because I know you are short on time.
Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day, though. So don’t skip it. Find a way to fit it in. Do you need a bit of inspiration to start eating breakfast again? Keep reading.
Balance is Key
Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism, and weight loss. This is because protein helps you feel fuller longer. It also uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize. So, I’m going to show you how to get that protein as well as veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favorite new “go-to” breakfasts. Overall balance in your breakfast is key. Protein, healthy fats, and low-glycemic carbs are all a healthy part of a perfect breakfast.
Breakfast Food #1: Eggs
Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food. And for good reason!
No, I’m not talking about processed egg whites in a carton. I mean actual whole eggs.
Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses. Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. While all eggs are awesome, if you can buy some that are free-range, those will be the healthiest.
Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.
Of course, I have to mention how easy it is to boil/pressure cook a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast when you’re running short on time.
Last week we discussed how the experts are constantly confusing us by reporting things that are opposite of each other. Eggs are a fabulous example. Even though they have been vilified in the past, the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases. Whole eggs are good for you.
One thing to consider is to try to prevent cooking the yolks at too high of a temperature because that can cause some of the cholesterol to become oxidized. It’s the oxidized cholesterol that’s heart unhealthy.
Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds
Don’t be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butters, or chia “cereals” with added sugars — I’m talking about the real, whole, unsweetened food here.
Nuts and seeds are also the ultimate fast food if you’re running late in the mornings. Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds as you’re running out the door; you can nosh on them while you’re commuting.
A spoonful of nut/seed butter is a simple snack and it is just as easy to add a spoonful into your morning breakfast smoothie. Have you tried a cacao-banana-PB smoothie yet? Yum!
Tip: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings try making one with nut or seed butter. Just add your regular hot tea and a tablespoon or two of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy.
Breakfast Food #3: Veggies
Yes, you already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast; but this also applies to veggies. You know I would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right?
Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water. You can’t go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don’t already you should definitely try them for breakfast!
No, you don’t need to have a salad or roasted veggies for breakfast if you don’t want to but you totally can! You wouldn’t be breaking any “official” breakfast rules or anything like that.
One of my favorite seasons is fall. The air is crisp, the leaves are incredible, and the pumpkins and squash are in season. While a lot of the pumpkin-spice products promoted in the fall are highly processed and loaded with sugar, you can’t go wrong adding ½ – 1 cup of this bright orange veggie to your breakfast smoothie! Add a dash of pumpkin pie spice (and a little extra cinnamon) and you have a healthy, vegetable-rich breakfast. (I topped the one pictured with a sprinkle of chia seeds. So delicious!)
Adding some protein to leftover veggies is a great combination for any meal. Including breakfast. One simple way to do this is with eggs! Yes, that #1 breakfast food pairs very well with veggies.
Breakfast Food #4: Yogurt
Confession: I used to hate yogurt. I have successfully used the tips I shared with you in the “I hate veggies” post to learn to like yogurt. It’s taken about 2-years of frequent exposure and I am happy to say that I enjoy getting this probiotic-rich food into my belly now.
One of the main reasons to love yogurt for breakfast is all the gut-friendly probiotics. Research has shown us that eating a daily cup of low-fat yogurt can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25 percent.
Don’t go running off and buying any sweet yogurt you can find. Most of the flavored yogurts on the shelves are full of added sugars which destroy the low-glycemic rating of natural yogurt. I usually opt for the greek-style yogurts, because when you look at the ingredients, they have more strains of probiotics than the others.
I have also used this starter kit from Cultures for Health and made my own yogurt. It is super easy to do. AND, when you make your own, you’ll save so much money on the yogurt that you can buy organic, grass-fed milk to use!
There are many varieties of yogurt on the shelves. You can select from dairy products or any of the nut-versions if you don’t eat dairy.
Yogurt and fruit parfaits are simple to meal-prep so you have a nutritious, quick, and healthy breakfast on the run. This only takes a minute or so to prepare and can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.
I like to prep these parfaits in three-day batches for my 4-year-old. I layer chopped up frozen fruit on the bottom and a layer of yogurt on top. For an adult, you could do alternating layers, but a 4-year-old doesn’t eat a lot.) I put them in a small glass bowl with a lid. Mr. Independent selects one from the fridge in the morning, adds a bit of granola to the top, and enjoys his favorite breakfast.
Breakfast Food #5: Cinnamon
Ok, so cinnamon isn’t exactly its own breakfast food. However, it pairs with many of the ideal breakfast foods found above. And this spice has many health benefits. It can minimize cravings and also stabilize blood sugar.
When you start your day with balanced blood sugar and fewer cravings, you won’t be as likely to jump on the GI rollercoaster that can quickly add pounds to your figure.
Breakfast Food #6: Whole Grains
Starting your body with low-glycemic whole grains prepares you to better process your next meal as well! This is referred to as the second meal effect. So, eat some good grains with your breakfast.
One simple and delicious way to incorporate grains with your breakfast is a fruit and hot-cereal parfait. Once a week, cook up a batch of whole grains (old-fashioned rolled oats, quinoa, farro, or a mix like Bob’s Red Mill’s 7-grain and layer one serving of these with about a cup of fruit and 1-2 tablespoons of a seed/nut butter. You can eat these cold or warm them up first.
You know your body best. While some people do better avoiding wheat and gluten, others can eat it without problems. If you avoid gluten, then make these without.
Breakfast Food #7: Nutrimeal Shake
If like me, you occasionally want something to shake and go, Nutrimeal is a winner! This low-glycemic formula is rich in dietary fiber and protein, can give you all the nutrients you need to have a satisfying meal on the go. It is available in both delicious chocolate and vanilla flavors. Both flavors are gluten-free, low glycemic, and contain 15g of GMO-free protein! Best of all, unlike some packaged shakes, this one has a smooth mouth-feel.
When I have one of these shake-and-go breakfasts, I add water, the nutrimeal, and a shake of cinnamon. That’s it! It is my I-hit-snooze-too-many-times-to-do-anything-else rescue meal.
Recipe to Try: Hannah’s Overnight Oatmeal
This recipe was provided by a member of The Whole Health Community. She tried a variety of overnight oat recipes and come up with her own customized favorite. It incorporates whole grains, healthy fats, and good protein. It’s low glycemic, filling, delicious, and FAST! Try it out and then pop over to the group to thank her for it.
Makes one serving
¼ c. old-fashioned oats
1½ tsp. chia seeds
1½ tsp. flaxseed meal
½ tsp. cinnamon
⅓ c. milk
¼ c. plain Greek yogurt
¼ tsp. vanilla
¼ c. blueberries
a few raspberry bits
a few dried cranberries
- Combine ingredients in jar.
- Close lid and shake until mixed.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Enjoy within three days.
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