An Optimal Start: Breakfast is Key!

Food is meant to provide us with energy and nourishment, hence it’s essential to start your day with a well-balanced, hearty breakfast.  If you don’t know where to begin your gradual diet and lifestyle make-over, this important meal should be the first place to look!  Not only will eating breakfast nip your hunger in the bud, but it can also improve your mind clarity and concentration.  Aiming for a balance between protein, healthy fats, and complex grains instead of hyper-concentrations of sugar is key.  This may mean passing on the banana nut muffin or the decadent butter croissant if you frequent Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.People often argue that they’re not hungry when they wake up in the morning.  In this case, a banana in a pinch is certainly better than nothing at all, but it feeds into the potential cycle of overeating.  By skipping breakfast and waiting until noon or so to eat, we are famished by the time we get home, which leads to going overboard at night.  This evening overload of food contributes to the skip-breakfast cycle by leaving us satiated when we wake.

Below is a list of healthy, well-balanced breakfast ideas.  As you read through the list, think of the common denominator of all the suggestions.  And for the “I’m-still-full-when-I-wake” individuals, I have also provided light breakfast ideas!

  • Bowl of whole grain cereal, milk (or milk alternative), walnuts (or another nut of choice), and dried fruit.  My favorite go-to whole grain cereal is Trader Joe’s Organic O’s cereal.  At 1 1/4 cup per serving, this product has an ingre
    dient list with words you can actually pronounce AND a whopping 9g of fiber.  I often add walnuts, craisins, and cinnamon, but experiment with your favorite fruit and nut combinations.
  • Vegetable omelet/scramble, whole wheat toast, and a slice of avocado.  Get creative with the vegetables and herbs you use depending on what’s in your refrigerator.  If you don’t have time to make an omelet on the weekdays (my hand is raised), make a veggie scramble and cut up the veggies the night before.  Onions, spinach, tomato, green pepper–you name it!  Bored of the same taste, try adding salsa to give your omelet a Tex-Mex feel.  Want to switch it up even more and avoid the cholesterol in eggs, try tofu scrambled eggs.
  • Oatmeal, fruit and nut of choice, and cinnamon.  Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts, especially on a cold winter’s morning.  The great thing about this fiber-rich breakfast classic is that it goes well with a variety of fruits.  Get creative and add a chopped apple or banana and throw in some walnuts or almonds.  Don’t skip on the protein-rich milk, which will help avoid a late morning tummy grumble.
  • Boiled eggs, whole wheat toast, and a slice of avocado.  Boiling eggs the night before work is a great time-saver.  In fact, when living in NYC, I even boiled up a half dozen at a time, marking the boiled ones with a magic marker.  The addition of the healthy fat in avocado (use about 1/4 of a typical avocado) along with fiber-rich, whole wheat toast will help you feel fuller longer into the morning.  And don’t forget your pepper (and salt if you must!) or better yet, an un-salted seasoning of your choice.

If you don’t like eating anything heavy, below are a few lighter breakfast suggestions so that you won’t be famished by the time noon rolls around.

  • Grapefruit, whole wheat toast, and almond or peanut butter
  • Fruit and/or vegetable smoothie made with plain yogurt
  • Plain yogurt, fruit, and granola
  • Whole wheat toast, peanut or almond butter, and banana
  • Cottage cheese and fruit

I hope you find these breakfast ideas helpful. If you guessed fruit or vegetables as a commonality between all of the suggestions, you guessed correctly. It’s best to start your day with REAL, nutrient-dense foods to get you through the day.  Change starts at the grocery store, so keep these ideas in mind on your next grocery store visit.  If you don’t already, it’s time to begin your day optimally with a well balanced breakfast!

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