Time to Upgrade Your Breakfast!
By Wilfredo Benitez, MSN, M.Ed.
For many, there are certain times of the year when people start to give more thought to their health and their body. New Year’s is an obvious time for most people and I would argue that the first day of spring is another popular time. There is no wrong time to be thinking about your health which makes this moment, right now, as great a time as any! One positive and very helpful change might just be your breakfast.
We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is true! Eating breakfast prevents extra cortisol from being produced and gives a little bit of love to your adrenals. Breaking that overnight fast (unless you’re actually fasting) is also a great way to prevent overeating later in the day and to prevent making poor dietary decisions at lunchtime when you are beyond hungry. While breakfast may be the most important meal, what we choose to eat for breakfast is even more important.
High sugar foods cause a blood sugar spike and a subsequent blood sugar dip that will have you exhausted by 10am. The crash of the blood sugar spike affects mood, energy, and one’s ability to stay focused. The constant blood sugar spikes and crashes affects one’s metabolism, such as insulin function, and this can eventually lead to disease (e.g. prediabetes, diabetes) and other health issues such as obesity.
Foods and nutrients to focus on for your breakfast include low-sugar foods/complex carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber. That’s right, we’re looking at our macronutrients here. By keeping refined carbohydrates down and protein, fat, and fiber higher, you are getting more nutrients and energy that can be sustained throughout the morning; as a bonus, you will likely not experience a blood sugar spike if the meal is balanced properly. Simple meals that can be included in your repertoire of breakfast ideas may include: avocado toast (with toppings and even fruit slices!), breakfast quinoa, banana and a nut butter on whole grain toast, 3-ingredient pancakes (oats, banana, milk or nondairy milk), fruit and veggie smoothies, chia seed pudding with cacao powder and blueberries, or even a simple fruit salad with nuts. Another possibility is enjoying leftovers (healthy leftovers, that is) for dinner. Who said breakfast had to consist of breakfast food?
Want to boost your health with a plethora of micro and phytonutrients? Consider enjoying primarily plant-based foods that provide a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients that will promote health and healthy development.
Food is more than just about energy or flavor. It has the ability to help us reach our daily potential, but poor nutritional habits can hold us back from achieving our best selves. Working with a nutritionist can help empower you so that you can optimize your nutrition, improve your health, and help you get to your goals! Find out more about nutrition counseling by contacting one of our Me Fitness Nutritionists!
For more information on nutrition services at Me Fitness, check out our page on nutrition, here!
Ingredients: (serves 3-4)
- Quinoa- 1 cup, white & uncooked
- Organic coconut milk- 1 can
- Cinnamon- 1/2 tbsp
- Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
- Salt- 1/4 tsp
- Banana- ½, sliced
- Shredded coconut, unsweetened- 1 tbsp
- Pomegranate seeds- 2 tbsp
- Ground flax seeds- 1 tbsp
- Nuts- 1 tbsp, chopped (type based on preference)
- Maple syrup- 1 tsp, optional
1. Rinse quinoa with a fine-mesh strainer.
2. Add quinoa, coconut milk, cinnamon and vanilla into a pot and bring to a boil. When boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until quinoa is soft.
3. Remove quinoa from heat, serve in bowls, and add desired toppings to each bowl.
Note: Toppings can be easily swapped for other desired fruits, nuts, or seeds such as blueberries and pumpkin seeds. Additionally, you can add the banana and coconut a couple minutes before the quinoa is done cooking to add a creamier texture to the dish.