We’ve heard it time and time again -breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But knowing it and living it are two totally different things. Before we can start eating the way we know we should, we first have to get real with ourselves. We have identify those pesky excuses that stop us in our tracks and determine how to overcome them each and every single day. Its not always easy, but progress never is.
When it comes to breakfast, many obstacles come to mind. We may not wake up early enough to squeeze breakfast in between waking and work; we may not have the right assemblage of ingredients on hand or, if we do, know how they go together; or perhaps hunger doesn’t strike before the sun rises. Whatever the reason, odds are you can work around it. You simply have to make the decision to do so over and over again.
From my experience, keeping meals in the morning simple is a necessity when you’re first learning to overcome these sorts of obstacles. Why? Because the simpler the meal is, the less likely you are to talk your way out of it. Plus, simple meals tend to make the most sense when a hectic schedule stands in the way between you and good health. Planning simple meals can also ensure that you have the right ingredients on hand and, if your using fresh ingredients, even more likely to prepare and eat them despite a lack of hunger. Now if you’re truly not hungry in the morning, its okay to wait a bit before noshing. Consider packing your breakfast to go and eat it after you arrive at work. This can still be a great way to maximize all the opportunities you have to incorporate enough nutrients into your day.
So what does a simple breakfast look like?
A simple breakfast should consist of foods that are going to provide you with some protein, fiber, and even a little bit of healthy fat. These nutrients are going to help you feel satisfied longer so you can make it to your next meal or snack without getting to a point of desperate hunger.
A few of my favorites include:
Old Fashioned Oats. Oatmeal is a great starting point for any early meal. Its got your fiber needs covered. For a protein boost, consider adding your favorite nut butter to the mix or, for added texture, a handful of almonds, pistachios, or walnuts. These nut varieties will also provide you with some healthy fats and fiber too, resulting in a very filling dish. Add in some of your favorite fresh fruits and maybe a dash of cinnamon or a drizzle of honey to take the flavor up a notch and you’ve got one fantastic breakfast waiting for you!
Not an oatmeal fan? You can also dress up your cold cereal with many of these same ingredients to improve its overall health profile. When searching for your best cold cereal option, consider the following:
- Make sure the first ingredient listed on the label is a whole grain and actually has the word “whole” in the title. “Whole grain” “Whole wheat flour” “Whole oats” – you get the idea.
- Calories should be at 200 or less per serving. Why? Because we often fail to pour just a serving into a bowl and those servings can add up quickly. Plus, you want to make sure you leave a little room for all the tasty stuff – like all that fresh fruit you’ll be adding in!
- There are at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Again, this will help with the fullness factor. Fiber also has a lot of additional health benefits associated with and most people don’t get enough.
- There isn’t too much sugar in each bite – look for 10 grams or less per serving.
Another great, more-savory breakfast starter worth considering are eggs! This protein-rich food option is super quick and easy to whip up and has proven to be very versatile. Of course, eggs are always the center of debate when it comes to weight loss, but if you are keeping portions in check, eggs can actually be a very filling, nutritious option. In a recent study, women who were given two eggs, toast and jelly for breakfast versus a bagel with cream cheese and yogurt reported feeling fuller at breakfast and throughout the day. This resulted in eating less not only at lunch, but the rest of the day as well. So even though whole eggs do contain cholesterol and saturated fat, they can be a part of well balanced diet. And if you are really worried that you’re going to go overboard on fat and cholesterol, no worries! Simply swap out one or two of your eggs with egg whites. If you’re using a recipe, two egg whites will substitute well for one whole egg. You’ll also get the best of both worlds – enhanced flavor from the yolk and a heavy dose of protein from all the egg whites.
Eggs can be whipped up omelette style, scrambled, poached, hard-boiled or even cooked inside an avocado! Add in some fiber (think veggies and beans!) and maybe a little extra healthy fat (you all checked out that inside an avocado link above, right?), and you’ll be good to go. And if you’re looking to keep your egg dish super quick and easy, be sure to keep any leftover veggies you have within easy reach. Not only will this save you time, but it will help you minimize food waste and make nutritious eating more affordable because your not using your veggies for just one dish anymore.
Pair up your egg and veggie combo with a side of whole grain toast or wrap it up in a whole wheat tortilla and you’ll be ready to head out the door will a satisfied tummy and appetite.
What’s your favorite quick and easy breakfast option?