It’s the morning meal that ‘breaks a fast’. Enjoying a nutritious breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, energizes your morning and fuels your body with a healthy dose of nutrients.
Busy mornings and tight schedules can result in some of us skipping breakfast entirely or opting for something unhealthy instead, leaving us fighting against a grumbling stomach, crashing energy levels and even mood swings!
Make the most of your morning meal by following these top nine tips. You’ll be amazed at the difference!
1. Add A Little Healthy Fat
Healthy fats from whole foods provide essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds, plus they help you to feel satisfied for longer as they’re slow to digest in the body.
What to add: Healthy fats with nut butters, tahini, mixed nuts and seeds, avocado or coconut butter. Slices of avocado, sautéed greens and mushrooms in olive or coconut oil are great for hot breakfasts.
2. Eat Enough Protein
You can enjoy a delicious breakfast low in protein, but we bet you’ll be hungry shortly after! Protein is similar to fat as it’s also a slow release energy source making it a powerful appetite suppressant! It also contains essential amino acids for the body to function optimally and repair itself, making it a necessary ingredient in the food you eat, especially post workout!
What to add: You will get a small amount from some cereal grains and milks, but sprinkle some extra nuts and seeds in your bowl, or top your smoothie with a nutty granola instead! Add nut butters, spirulina, goji berries, hemp seeds, or a vegan protein powder to your smoothie to bump up the protein power!
Prefer a cooked brekkie? Eggs, meat, fish, beans, legumes and mushrooms all contain protein!
3. Fill Up On Fiber
A gut health and weight maintenance essential. Having a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet helps your bowels to function properly, feeds your healthy gut bacteria and supports natural detoxification.
What to add: Add plenty of greens and berries to your smoothie. Avocado is also a good source of fiber, and will make your smoothie extra creamy!
Or if you’re after something savory, mash some avocado with some wilted greens, add some beans or legumes, and make sure if you’re having toast, that it’s a high fiber variety such as rye, multi-grain or whole wheat.
If opting for cereal, swap the chemical-laden, commercial ones for high fiber whole grains such as oats, buckwheat and quinoa. You’ll cut out a tonne of unnecessary sugar and additives!
4. Choose Good Quality Carbohydrates
Choosing the wrong kinds of carbohydrates can have you feeling flat and hungry in no time! All carbohydrates turn to sugar in the body, but how quickly the sugar is released in the bloodstream depends on what else they’re consumed with! Protein, fats and fiber help to slow down digestion of your overall meal, so having some of each with a source of carbohydrates helps to prevent blood sugar crashes!
What to do: Avoid highly refined sugars, added sugars, processed sugars, white bread and baked goods made of refined flours. Opt for low GI, unrefined carbohydrates including whole grains such as almond flour, oats, buckwheat and quinoa, as well as sweet potato, beans, legumes and lentils. Add some extra protein or healthy fats to sweet dishes, and don’t be afraid to go savory for breakfast!
5. Aim For Nutrients, Not Calories
The front of food packets love to trick us by promoting how few calories their food contains, and that this is a good thing! The problem is that real food ingredients contain calories. They provide us with energy to thrive! When a manufacturer reduces the calories of a food, they alter the mix by removing real, nourishing foods, and replacing them with chemicals and artificial ingredients that our bodies don’t recognise and can do us harm. Avoid falling into the trap of eating to fit a daily calorie count, and stick to food in it’s most natural state instead! Your weight and your health will flourish!
What to add: Plenty of real, wholesome foods - fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, full fat milks, and other nutrient rich, minimally processed ingredients!
6. Avoid Refined Sugars
Most commercial cereals, granola and baked breakfast goods are loaded with added sugars. High fructose corn syrup, glucose, dextrose, cane sugar, beet sugar, the list is endless! Start your day with slow-releasing carbohydrates instead such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Having processed sugars at breakfast can cause you to crave sweet foods for the rest of the day, as you search for ‘quick fixes’ to energize your body!
What to add: Stick to fruit to naturally sweeten your breakfast. If you do desire a little drizzle of sweetness, use a small amount of low GI, natural sweeteners such as raw honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar.
7. Get Enough Variety
It’s so easy to get caught up in the same old breakfast routine, but mixing things up not only gives your taste buds a welcome change, research shows an increase in food variety is actually linked to a longer lifespan!
What to add: Mix it up! If you’re short on time in the mornings, prepare a few different breakfast meals on the weekend in bulk. Store in the fridge, or freeze for later. Try these delicious ideas to get you started:
- Chia Pudding with Granola and Mixed Berries - Make the pudding in advance, then top with granola and berries at breakfast time!
- Corn Fritters with Avocado Salsa - Make a big batch of fritters and freeze. Defrost the night before and serve with your favorite topping!
- Chia Flaxseed Loaf - Slice and freeze this loaf, then simply toast and add your toppings each morning.
- Powerhouse Overnight Oats - Make the night before, or prepare in bulk and store in the fridge.
8. Size Matters
Racing out the door with a piece of fruit is better than nothing, but it’s not enough to provide your body with all the energy it needs. Consuming a healthy breakfast can help control blood sugar levels and assist in weight management, helping to prevent and manage Type 2 Diabetes.
What to do: Try eating like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner. After all, you need more energy to get you through the day than to sleep!
9. Focus On Your Food
Mindfully focusing on the food you eat by sitting and limiting distractions will help you avoid overeating and aid proper digestion. It takes around 20 minutes for your stomach to register if you’ve eaten enough and send that message to your brain. Give your stomach some time, and really enjoy your meal!
What to do: Avoid eating on the run, in the car, or at your office desk. Take at least 15 minutes to sit down and focus just on eating (and cherish a little family time if possible!).
Take the time to treat your body with a nourishing breakfast. All it takes is a little forward planning, and a list of choices to whip up! Enjoy!