Breakfast: The Great Divide
Breakfast is a topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on. Some hate it; some love it. Most want it but don’t have the time to properly enjoy it. There are many out there that believe in intermitted fasting and others that just don't have the time in the mornings to make anything. But what everyone can seem to agree on is that if you’re going to eat breakfast, it should contain complex carbs, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Carbs provide energy right away, protein is saved for later, and fiber will keep you feeling full. So, skip the processed foods that lack nutritional value and are filled with unhealthy fats and added sugar and try sticking with whole foods and grains.
Why It's Important
The benefits of eating breakfast instead of skipping out on it are heavily debated in the world of diets. But diets shouldn’t be the norm anyway and instead of getting caught up in this disordered way of thinking, considering food as a lifestyle choice is such a better way to approach it. Listen to your body; it knows when it's time for more food. It's not about restriction, it's about balance. Think of our bodies as cars. We need fuel to run. If we don’t have it, we won’t have the energy to function. And if we put the incorrect fuel into our tank, we won’t run properly, and it could cause lasting damage. In this simile, our food is the fuel—obviously. Processed foods are the wrong fuel that can cause weight gain and diseases that make our bodies not run to the best of their ability. Don't you want your body to run as effectively as possible? After all, it's the only one we'll get.
Even if we don't always abide by it, everyone knows that the more natural foods we eat, the healthier our bodies will be. Eating a well-balance breakfast aids in increased energy, minimized brain-fog and helps us stay full until our next meal. Skipping breakfast in turn can lead to overeating and making less healthy choices throughout the rest of the day, resulting in a lack of important vitamins. So one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting all your vitamins in for the day is to start off strong with a vitamin-rich breakfast.
The Best Foods To Eat For Breakfast And Their Benefits
- Fruits/Berries: healthy carbs, fiber, antioxidants, low calorie, potassium, vitamins A/C and folate
- Leafy Greens: rich in vitamins like K, A, C, calcium, fiber, folate, antioxidants, potassium and iron
- Nuts/Seeds: Nuts- monounsaturated fats (healthy), omega 3-fatty acids, selenium, folate, vitamin E. Seeds- omega 3-fatty acids, protein and fiber. It's best to stick to raw or dry roasted.
- 100% Whole Wheat/Whole Grain Bread: fiber, B vitamins, protein, selenium, potassium and magnesium
- Eggs/Tofu: Eggs- vitamin D, calcium, protein, B6, B12, vitamin A. Tofu-iron, calcium, protein, and less saturated fat than eggs
- Greek/Non-dairy Yogurt: protein, calcium, probiotics. Stick to brands that have little to no added sugar.
- Oats: fiber, antioxidants, protein, manganese, phosphorus, copper, thiamine, iron, selenium, magnesium, zinc and low in sugar
- Ground Flaxseed: fiber, antioxidants, protein and omega 3-fatty acids
Whole wheat toast topped with peanut/almond butter and bananas.
This is a personal favorite that I eat at anytime of day. It's a great choice when craving something sweet but also filling. It provides healthy carbs from the bananas and whole wheat bread, along with potassium and omega 3s from the nut butter. Sprinkle with flax to add an extra dose of fiber and antioxidants.
Egg/tofu scramble with either kale or spinach, tomatoes, and any other vegetable.
Whether you eat eggs or prefer tofu, either can be scrambled into a hearty breakfast. They both provide a great amount of protein and calcium and any vegetable can be added to make even better. Spinach and tomatoes are a delicious addition. I like to flavor my scrambled tofu with nutritional yeast for a cheesy kick that is a great source of B12s.
Greek/soy yogurt with granola and berries.
Yogurt—specifically Greek and Soy— are a fantastic source of calcium and probiotics. Make sure to buy unsweetened varieties to avoid unnecessary added sugars. Instead use fruits and granola for sweetness and a satisfying crunch.
Whole wheat toast topped with avocado, tomato, egg/tofu and sprinkled with flax and even nutritional yeast.
Avocado toast can be anything you want it to be. That's the beauty of it. The avocado adds healthy fats and can be topped with a variety of vegetables. Stick to whole wheat bread for maximum benefits like fiber, B vitamins, selenium and others. It can even be topped with eggs or tofu if that's your thing.
Smoothie made from frozen fruit, leafy greens, milk, almond butter and/or flaxseed.
Frozen fruit makes for a perfectly creamy smoothie and is an easy way to guarantee your fruit won't go bad. I have a habit of buying way too much fresh fruit and if it starts to turn before I can use it up, I just freeze it. And to go a step further, freeze all your ingredients in containers so everything is ready to go, and voila, a quick and nutritious breakfast. The best part is that you can add anything. Like almond butter for healthy fats, flax for antioxidants and fiber or milk for calcium. The combinations are endless!
Oatmeal topped with nuts, fruits and milk
Oats are a fantastic source of fiber, antioxidants, iron, zinc and much more. As long as you're sticking to the kinds that have no added sugars, then this is a great option for a healthy breakfast. Steel cut oats are best but they do take longer. Add nuts for a dose of omega 3s and fruit for potassium and folate. Overnight oats are great for those who have to grab and go in the morning.