We have always heard that breakfast is good for us, and that we should eat it every day. Two of the main benefits of eating breakfast are energy for the brain and controlling your weight. It can boost your brain power by providing your brain with needed fuel. After an overnight fast, your brain’s fuel is at an all time low. The brain cannot store its fuel so it is dependent on what the blood can provide. Breakfast provides your brain with an immediate and steady source of fuel for optimal performance. Eating breakfast enhances weight loss through many mechanisms: boosting metabolism, boosting energy and thus calorie burning, diminishing hunger (people that skip breakfast eat more throughout the rest of the day), and lowering insulin levels (elevated insulin levels are associated with a sluggish metabolism).
Kids who skip breakfast and eat low quality breakfast foods (high in sugar, processed, contain preservatives and colorings) are at a higher risk of gaining weight, earlier onset of diabetes and heart disease, and also can’t pay attention in class, are less alert, have difficulty with problem solving and exhibit behavior issues. The same goes with adults. Eating a healthy breakfast is a critical life skill that we need to reclaim and teach our children. People who eat a healthy breakfast are thinner, more focused and alert, and at lower risk of chronic diseases.
A healthy breakfast is a great opportunity to boost your metabolism and get the essential nutrients your body needs on a daily basis. Here are some tips on how to build a healthy breakfast:
- Focus on fat to keep you satiated. Fats slows down digestion in the stomach and helps keep you feeling full longer. Great choices are eggs from pasture raised hens, avocado, uncured bacon, coconut oil/butter, butter from grass-fed cows, nuts and seeds, whole milk yogurt and cheese (from grass-fed cows).
- Add a healthy protein package. Protein also helps keep you feeling full longer and typically are packaged with good fat sources too. Consider any of the following: milk or dairy, salmon, eggs, high protein cereals (naturally high in protein from nuts and seeds),
- Fresh produce. Fruits, especially brightly colored varieties like berries, citrus, red grapes, kiwi, and mango are a natural breakfast fit. But don’t forget your vegetables such as spinach, kale, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. Mix in your favorites in your omelet, make a tasty root roast, or a nice sauté of your favorite greens.
- Avoid a breakfast that is heavy on the carbohydrates. Whether it is whole grains, refined grains, or simple sugars, a meal high in carbohydrates quickly releases sugar into our blood stream and increases the release of insulin. This leads to blood sugar imbalances, slows down the metabolism, and encourages the storage of fat and weight gain. Try using fruits and vegetables as your carbohydrate source for breakfast for most days of the week.