Even with a late night snack, your body starts the day in a state of energy depletion. When you start your morning without refueling, it’s a race against the clock until you either crash, stuff whatever is closest in your face, or have a mental breakdown. OK, that last one was a bit extreme, but it’s true that without adequate glucose, your brain isn’t able to function at it’s best, meaning your cognitive functions are dulled and leave you in a fog. Needless to say; breakfast is a pretty big deal.
If you’re thinking, “Yeah, I get it. Breakfast is important”, you’re not alone. There are 93% of us who believe breakfast to be the most important meal of the day. But believing is only half the battle. Only 44% of us actually eat breakfast, citing time and convenience as the top reason for skipping. (statisticsbrain.com)
It’s also understandable to be confused over what you “should” eat in the AM. Look up “best breakfast” and you’ll get a wide range of opinions, leaving you more confused than you were!
I don’t believe there is one breakfast that beats all others, but I do believe there are 3 pillars that make a breakfast best: 1) Mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fat 2) Convenience 3) Taste. You need the components of complex carbs, protein, and fat to fuel all of your mental and physical functions, you need to be able to prepare and eat it, and – arguably most important – you need to enjoy it!
Here are 5 breakfasts to fuel your morning:
Gourmet English Muffins
When you dine out, English muffins are always a side item. Something that comes along with your meal and is either spread with butter or jam. Give them the starring role tomorrow morning by dressing them up with healthy filling toppings!
Starting with a whole grain muffin gives you the complex carbs and dietary fiber you need, and the possibilities are nearly endless from there. The PB & J is a favorite of mine!
Try it yourself:
Whole grain English muffin
Natural crunchy peanut butter
Fresh strawberries, sliced
Top your muffin with peanut butter and toast if you have the time. Place sliced berries (I love strawberries, but often use raspberries or blueberries when in season) on top and enjoy!
Other topping ideas to mix and match: Low fat cheese spread, honey, avocado, ricotta cheese, pumpkin puree, sliced banana.
Diner parfait’s can be loaded with sugar, and that’s just the stuff in the yogurt! Candy-like granola may taste good, but the sugar rush to your bloodstream can have you crashing before you clear your inbox. Stock up on large containers of plain low-fat Greek yogurt and make your own!
Try it yourself:
Plain Greek yogurt
Fresh or frozen blueberries
Mix together based on your preferences; maybe you like a berry and nut heavy parfait, while your partner prefers lots of yogurt with the occasional flavor burst. Other mix-in ideas: low-fat granola, cottage cheese (in place of yogurt), toasted almonds, coconut, dates.
Smoothies are the most widespread breakfast option out there, and with kitchen accessories like the Vitamix and Ninja, it’s easier than ever to quickly make your own. You can control the consistency by experimenting with different portions of ice, liquid, fruits, veggies, or even peanut butter.
Try it yourself:
1 C almond milk
1 small banana
½ C natural peanut butter
1 C ice
Mix with standard blender or smoothie maker
Knowing the basics of smoothies allows you to get super creative. Here are the elements: Ice, liquid (milk, water, juice, etc.), fruit and or veggies, protein boost (optional, but filling; peanut butter, protein powder, nuts, flax or hemp seeds, tofu), extra flavor (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, coconut).
The pita is not just for lunch anymore. What’s a more practical breakfast-on-the-go than something stuffed with delicious things you can hold in your hand?
Try it yourself:
Whole grain pita
Hard boiled egg, sliced
The above recipe is savory, but if you prefer a little more sweetness in the morning, go the route of the English muffin recipes by stuffing it with ricotta cheese, honey and fruit, or peanut butter and honey!
There are those mornings you don’t have time to even spread peanut butter on a pita, and need something you can toss into your bag in hopes there will be time to toss it in your face. I’ve had many of those mornings, and will have many more. Here is what I do; I prioritize the balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fat, whether it’s in one item like a protein bar, or a variety like an apple, string cheese and handful of almonds.
My top choices to try yourself:
Protein/energy bar brands (low sugar and fat, high protein): KIND, Lara, Go Macro, Kate’s
All of these recipes can be made in a few minutes in the morning, or the night before so you can grab it and get out the door.
Do you eat breakfast most mornings?
What’s your go-to morning meal?
Dan Chabert, writing from Copenhagen, Denmark, Dan is an entrepreneur, husband and ultramarathon distance runner. He spends most of his time on runnerclick.com, monicashealthmag.com and nicershoes.com. He has been featured on runner blogs all over the world. Check out my site at Runners101.com