Looking to make some changes to improve your health? Start with breakfast. Consider breakfast like the foundation of your house, it provides stability to your day. Choosing a balanced breakfast will ensure blood sugar stability and sustained energy levels throughout your busy work or school day.
As the name suggests, breakfast breaks the overnight fasting period. It replenishes your supply of glucose to boost your energy levels and increase alertness. Some feel skipping breakfast seems like a good way to reduce overall caloric intake. However, those that do skip breakfast tend to eat more than they planned to later on during the day and into the evening. As well, studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.
Do you feel you don’t have time to have a balanced breakfast before starting your work or school day? This is a common belief but the good news is there are plenty of ways to make a quick balanced breakfast fit into your morning routine. All it takes is a little planning ahead. Don’t feel hungry in the morning? This is because your body is not used to receiving nourishment at this time if you usually skip breakfast. Once you start eating breakfast, overtime your body will become attuned to this meal addition and your hunger cues will return.
When thinking about what to include in your breakfast, I recommend always including protein-rich choices like eggs, smoked salmon or greek yogurt. Protein-rich foods and healthy fats like nut butters, nuts, avocados and seeds take longer for your body to break down and digest than carbohydrates. These foods offer prolonged satiety and more energy throughout your morning than just eating carbohydrates alone. For a balanced breakfast meal, pairing protein and healthy fats with high fiber foods like fruit or veggies and or whole grains like oats or multigrain toast will provide satisfaction, fullness, sustained energy levels and blood sugar stability. Keeping your blood sugar stable will ensure less cravings and overeating later in your day.
My favorite balanced breakfast scenarios that I recommend to my clients are; oatmeal with added nuts/nut butters and fruit, cooked egg and avocado on multigrain toast with a side of fresh fruit, smoked salmon with a bit of cream cheese on a multigrain bagel with a side of fruit, or a greek yogurt parfait with added nutty granola and berries. Some quick grab breakfast prepping ideas are cooking up some hard boiled eggs, making overnight oatmeal jars, or make-ahead frittatas or breakfast burritos. Dice up your favorite fruit on the weekends before the busy work/school week to have it ready to add to your breakfast of choice for added fiber and fullness.
One of my favorite make ahead breakfast recipes is overnight oats. You can add to your oats any combination of fruits and nuts you prefer. This Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats recipe tastes like apple crisp and is perfect for fall. It will keep you full for your busy morning with about 15-20 grams of protein (depends on milk used) and 9 grams of fiber. I hope you try it!
Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats
Ingredients: (for each 2 cup mason jar or lidded container of choice)
½ cup old fashioned oats
½ cup milk of choice
¼ cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp. chia seeds
½ TBSP. pure maple syrup
One eighth tsp cinnamon
½ fresh apple, chopped
2 TBSP. walnuts, chopped
Add the oats to your container of choice then and add milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, yogurt and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Top with chopped apple and walnuts and a dash more of cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove the lid, heat for ~60-90 seconds in the microwave if you would like to enjoy the oatmeal warm. I like to prepare ~4 jars for quick, tasty, balanced breakfasts all week.
Gwen Johnson, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Owner of Sage Nutrition Solutions, a private nutrition counseling practice located in Pepperell, MA that serves clients in North Middlesex County in Massachusetts and Hillsborough County in Southern New Hampshire. For more information visit her website at https://www.sagenutritionsolutions.com/