YOU NEED TO EAT BREAKFAST
I’m sure we have all heard the saying at one time or another that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. We all know that food is fuel and energy for our bodies, right? Without food we would spend the day in a fog, fighting off a headache, feel tired and probably not in a very good mood.
Why is breakfast so important? When we wake up, our last meal was from the night before. Depending on what time your last meal was and what time you wake up there could be a 10 to 12 hours span of no food intake. While you are sleeping your body is busy being active, it’s a time for your muscles to recover and rebuild using the stored nutrients from the last meal you ate. Your brain is busy too, it’s using glucose (from glycogen stores from your liver) as a source of energy to keep the body functioning while you are sleeping – keeps your lungs breathing, heart pumping, etc. When you wake up in the morning, your body is in a caloric deficit, especially after 10 to 12 hours of fasting. It burned some fuel over night in the form of glucose (glycogen stores from liver that was broken down into glucose so your brain can use it as energy) but now your body is ready for food.
What happens when you skip breakfast? If you skip breakfast after a long time of not eating, a few things happen inside your body that will make losing weight more difficult. One of the things that happens is your blood sugar will drop. When this happens you might start to get a headache, feel irritable, can’t think clearly and feel grumpy. You are more likely to have out of control sugar cravings and feed your body the wrong foods. Bottom line, your body is telling you to feed it.
What happens after you over eat? Your hunger increases causing you to over eat at your next meal. Now your blood sugar rises as well as insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. It acts like a key to open up your cells to let glucose in for energy. However, high levels of insulin circulating in your body will cause your body to store more fat, making it harder for you to lose weight.
What if I’m not hungry for breakfast, what should I do? Your goal is to eat something within at least 2 hours of waking. So if you wake up at 6am, try to eat something by 8am. If you are not one to eat a large breakfast, start out small. Start out with eating one or two bites of breakfast in the morning. Think outside the box, if you do not like traditional breakfast foods, try eating left over’s from the night before.
What is considered a balanced breakfast? According to Idea Fit Journal, breakfast should account for about 25 to 30 percent of your daily calorie needs. For example, if you eat 1500 calories a day, multiply that by 0.25 and you get 375 to 400 calories. For breakfast your goal is to have about 375 to 400 calories with a mix of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats to make it a complete meal. Remember adding protein and fiber will make breakfast filling.
What are some grab and go options for those busy mornings? The best advice is to always plan ahead of time and prepare your meals to make things easier in the morning. Some breakfast grab and go ideas:
- Quiche muffins (see recipe below)
- Oatmeal (or other whole grain cereal) with your favorite toppings, such as berries, banana slices. To add some healthy fats and bump up the fiber add some nuts and/or seeds. Pair it with a hard-boiled egg or mix in a scoop of protein powder.
- Protein bars make a great gab and go meal. Some things to look for in a bar, 15 grams or more of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Look at the ingredient list and nutrition facts label, find bars that have no “added sugars.” A few brands that are good choices. Quest nutrition bars and Isagenix Bars
- Protein Smoothies or Green smoothie, make sure you add a protein to balance out the natural sugars from the vegetables and fruit – don’t want the blood sugars to spike!
- Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and other nutritional mix-ins: flax meal, hemp seeds, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg etc.), seeds and nuts.
- Leftovers from the day before
Servings: 6 Serving size: 1 quiche (made with one egg + one egg white per tin)
Weight Watcher Points Plus:3
Calories: 125 Protein: 13 g Fat: 7 g Carbs:3 Fiber: 1 g
- 1, dozen eggs ( 1 whole egg + egg white per tin or just use all whites)
- 1 cup of broccoli chopped into tiny pieces or veggies of your choice
- optional: cheese, I like to use 2% low fat cheddar or grated Parmesan cheese
- vegetable oil to coat muffin tin
equipment: 6cup popover pan – non stick
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly spray each popover tin with vegetable spray so they quiche will not stick. Crack one whole egg and one egg white into each cup, add about 1-2 tablespoons of chopped broccoli and 1 tablespoon of cheese. Take the end of a wooden spoon to mix and blend it all up.
- Place the popover pan filled with egg mixture into oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the eggs are fully cooked – insert a toothpick and make sure it’s clear.
- Let it cool a few minutes before removing from popover pan. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container for a few days.
- Note: make these with egg whites only if you want a lower fat quiche. I’d add an extra egg white per popover cup.
- Serving suggestions, eat as is or add a small side of oatmeal or cereal. Another idea, add whole grain sandwich thins, turkey breakfast patty, one egg quiche for your own version of Egg McMuffin!
Big thank you to Lisa Nocera for her valuable information and recipe! For more yummy recipes and tips visit her website at www.smartfoodandfit.com