It is often said that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I can also add that Breakfast is the easiest-to-skip meal of the day.
Often we are not hungry when we wake up. If we are trying to lose some weight we decide “I’ll just skip my breakfast. This way I will avoid at least 300 calories which will get me closer to my ideal weight.” (I know I made this mistake in the past.)
Unfortunately this diet strategy works completely against you. It makes you eat more during lunch and later that day, it also makes you crave high-energy (read: high in fat and refined carbs) foods. It also makes you moody and irritated.
Even those who are not trying to lose weight are still losing out when they skip breakfast. In the morning our bodies are getting out of the nighttime fast (just think about it, night is the longest period of starving for our body.) By afternoon glycogen supplies (molecules that work as primary energy sources for the body) start to deplete. By lunch you start feeling fatigued, you lose your focus and the ability to think fast and make decisions. Usually in this state you reach for a cup of coffee with a high-carb treat which makes your blood sugar levels shoot out of the roof only making you even more fatigued in an hour or so.
Here are just a few quick facts why a balanced breakfast is so important:
Children and adults who eat breakfast perform better on tests, have better focus and concentration, they are also able to think faster and make faster decisions (Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital study)
Eating breakfast improves your late-morning mood as well as has advantageous effects on satiety and cognitive performance (University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School)
Eating breakfast keeps you thin. Not only a low-fat breakfast helps you lose weight but it keeps the scale from creeping up with years (National Weight Control Registry)
Breakfast jump-starts your metabolism so that you can start metabolizing fat stored in your body (Duke University Medical School)
Eating breakfast keeps the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol lower protecting your ticker for years to come (October 2010 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
People who typically eat breakfast also get more fiber, calcium, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, zinc and ironand less fat and dietary cholesterol. Perhaps it’s because they often eat cereal, which is fortified with vitamins and minerals, and fruit, which is naturally nutrient-rich.
Breakfast as any other meal should be a balanced combination of nutrients that will give your body enough energy to go through the entire day. It’s important to include whole grains, fruits or vegetables, protein and healthy fats in your breakfast, but combining any two of these ingredients will still be a great choice.
One of the main reasons why people skip breakfast in the morning is because they do not have time to cook it. Most of us have more important things to do in the morning than cooking breakfast for 30 minutes. In the table below you can find examples of healthy breakfast foods. Combine ingredients from different columns to create a wholesome and balanced breakfast.
Low-fat protein:low-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, eggs or egg whites (if you are watching your cholesterol you can mix 1 full egg with 2-3 egg whites or substitute for egg beaters), cottage cheese, peanut butter, skim milk or soy milk, smoked salmon, lean slices of meat and poultry.
Whole-grains:whole grain cereal (choose types that have at least 3 g of fiber per serving and not more than 9g of sugar), oatmeal, whole-grain bagel or piece of toast, whole-grain waffles, whole-grain pancakes.
Healthy fat:natural peanut butter (natural varieties do not have added hydrogenated oils or sugar), any nuts, avocado, ground flax seeds.
Produce:dried and fresh berries, (choose varieties with no added sugar) fruit, freshly squeezed juices, vegetables that you can add to your omelets.
Most of us are used to drinking a big mug of coffee in the morning to wake up and start the day. I‘ve been a coffee drinker for many years but lately I’ve switched to a healthier alternative.
Coffee is not necessarily a bad thing in the morning. After all it is packed with fiber, it has a nice taste, it helps you to wake up and according to some research it is even a heart healthy drink. I like coffee myself and usually drink it a few times a week.
However, if you start your day with coffee, then continue your mid-morning with another cup from Starbucks and order a few espressos during lunch then we have a problem. Instead of energizing you coffee starts robbing you of energy, it gives you a headache, constant feeling of nervous anxiety and agitation as well as makes you lose your focus at work and at home. Coffee is also a diuretic and it robs your body of vital water.
If you like to start your day with coffee then limit this drink to only 2 cups a day. This way you will get all the benefits without any negatives. Also for each cup of coffee that you drink you need to drink a glass of water double the size of your coffee cup to stay well-hydrated.
The first thing when you wake up, drink a big glass of water with lemon squeezed from a half lemon. It is recommended that the water should be warm but I personally can drink only cold water. This drink helps take a load off your lymphatic system, help cleanse your system and detoxify your liver cells.
The citrus smell is also very energizing so it will help you wake up in just a few minutes.
Lemon juice is also full off vitamin C which can boost your immune system and ward off stress (constant stress depletes your body’s supply of this essential vitamin.)
You can also rely on this drink during the day to keep your energy levels high.
Green tea has high levels of caffeine so it can be used instead of your morning mug of java.
According to various recent studies drinking green tea was reputed to be helpful in preventing or fighting cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, infection and impaired immune function.
If you drink decaffeinated green tea then you still get all the health benefits. However decaf is 50% less potent than original varieties.
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