I’m stuck at home after a snowstorm, so I had to take advantage and post this because I’ve been talking about it forEVER. Breakfast is my favorite meal of all time, and I’ve been saving up tons of pictures for this post. Most of these I’ve made up, but if it is a recipe and I have online access to it, I will provide the link or at least tell you where it came from. Why should you eat breakfast? What should a healthy breakfast contain? Your burning questions answered and your taste buds tantalized!
Vegan oatmeal-banana pancakes with figs and strawberries – recipe from Moosewood Collective Cookbook and is in an earlier blog post 🙂
Now, the FAQs:
Does it really matter if you eat breakfast?
In a word, yes!! Think about it — you’ve been sleeping for (hopefully at least eight) hours, and your body is ready to replenish. If you don’t eat breakfast, your metabolism still thinks you’re asleep and therefore conserves any energy it would release to your cells. Breakfast — BREAK the FAST — is meant to give you that kick start so you will start using energy, and therefore, burning calories. Studies have shown people who eat breakfast are leaner for this very reason. In addition, breakfast eaters have improved mood, increased concentration, and get fewer headaches than those who skip it. If you’re stomach isn’t growling, you can focus on what you’re supposed to be doing at work/school/whatever it is you do all day 🙂 With children, all of the above benefits are shown as well as better test performance. It’s a win-win, really!
What should I be eating?
Breakfast should contain 2-3 food groups, two of which should be carbohydrates and lean proteins or healthy fats. The third is usually fruit or a dairy/dairy equivalent. Carbohydrates provide that cell energy, protein/fat keeps you full, and fruit gets some vitamins and fiber into your system. Choose from the following foods to maximize the benefits. Avoid greasy meats, large quantities of cheese, pastries, donuts, biscuits, or anything else with a high fat or sugar content. This will just cause a blood sugar crash and subsequent sleepiness, which is definitely counterproductive!
I’m not hungry in the morning. Do I still need to eat?
Again, yes! For some people, it takes a little training to get your stomach used to it. Start with something small, like a fruit & almond milk smoothie or a slice of toast with peanut butter. After about a week, you will start waking up hungry and ready to take on something bigger. Remember, you’re not trying to pack in a whole day’s worth of calories. 300-350 is plenty for more people, but if you exercise early in the day, go up to around 500 calories.
Build your Breakfast!
Carbs: Oatmeal, high-fiber cereal (5 g fiber or more), sprouted grain bread (like Ezekiel), whole-grain bagel or English muffin, stone-ground grits (NOT instant), whole-grain waffles or pancakes (such as Kashi), flatbread, wrap.
Proteins: Eggs (free range for better cholesterol content), egg whites, tofu, quinoa, organic cheese, low fat organic milk, soy milk, Greek yogurt, soy yogurt.
Healthy fats: Nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, avocado, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut shreds or oil
The combinations are almost endless. Get creative, and feel free to veer away from traditional breakfast foods. As long as it meets the above criteria, you can basically eat anything. I know people who don’t like breakfast food, and end up eating last night’s leftovers instead. Again, the rules are yours to make, but make sure to get your 3 food groups!
All of the following meals take less than 5 minutes to prepare, making them perfect for busy weekday mornings! All pictures are mine. I’m getting better at food photography, I think!
Gluten-free rolled oats with chunky almond butter, hempseeds, and pomegranate stewed apples
Mashed avocado on Ezekiel bread with a clementine
Blueberry soy yogurt with muesli, dried cherries, and pomegranate arils
Half a whole-grain bagel with peanut butter and sliced apple
A less traditional route: Mashed sweet potato with raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup.
Smoothie bowl: Beets, banana, strawberries, hemp, and chia seeds. Sprinkled with granola for some crunch.
Kashi waffle sandwich with almond butter and banana
Peach-mango soy yogurt, chia/hemp seeds, dried persimmons and oat clusters
If you have a little more time or can prepare ahead, you can make some more fun stuff like pancakes and breakfast breads. I absolutely LOVE these two recipes from Ceara’s Kitchen:
Flourless Pumpkin Pancakes with almond butter, pumpkin butter, and chocolate chips. On the side – a beet, berry, and chia smoothie. These pancakes are made in the blender and are SO easy and SO amazingly delicious. This picture actually made me a pseudo-celebrity on Instagram, and was reposted by Ceara herself!
Vegan Banana Oat Breakfast Cake. I baked this last night and we ate half of it immediately! Great by itself or with a smear of vegan cream cheese or almond butter.
Links to recipes:
With awesome foods like this, fast food is COMPLETELY unnecessary and obsolete. If you don’t even have five minutes to make something, keep low-sugar, high-protein bars like Clif, Larabar, Kind, or your other preferred brand in the pantry. Also have plenty of fresh fruit, so you can grab a bar and a banana on your way out the door. This way, your belly is happy and you can confidently drive right past that drive-thru!
That’s all, folks. Happy breakfast-ing!!