Start your day off right
One thing many people who are trying to lose weight do is skip breakfast. The mindset is that there are less calories eaten throughout the day. But people who skip breakfast have a tendency to actually eat more throughout the day, on average 100 calories more than those who do eat breakfast!
But there are many other issues with skipping breakfast:
- Slowed metabolism
- Binge eating before lunch
- Low energy throughout the day
- Side effects like – lethargy, dizziness, irritability, poor immune system function and nutrient deficiencies
So basically, skipping breakfast can lead to weight gain and health issues.
I’ve shared previously about how the typical “American” breakfast also leads to weight gain in my post Why Americans are Overweight – or – How to Fatten up a Pig. Basically, not all breakfasts are created equal.
The typical american breakfast consists of:
- Grains – cereal, toaster pastries, granola bars
- Low-fat dairy
A breakfast like this gives a sugar high, provides little fiber, and contains little to no protein and fat (both provide longer lasting energy).
How to start your day off right
Start your day with a great source of protein, like eggs!
There are many benefits of eating eggs daily: protein, good fats, vitamin D, and many other vitamins and minerals. If you can find locally sourced pastured eggs (from chickens able to scratch in dirt, nest comfortably and eat their natural diet of weeds and bugs), you will get even more nutritional benefit.
My day starts off with 2 eggs, scrambled in a little cream, and then topped with cheese and often an assortment of veggies (mushrooms, peppers, etc). Not only is my breakfast right around 300 calories (with my coffee sweetened with real cream and maple syrup), but I am not hungry again for 4-5 hours. I’m able to then plan a healthy lunch instead of grabbing whatever I can get my hands on!
Oh, and speaking of coffee, it’s not all bad! 1-2 daily cups of coffee can help improve your memory, cut your diabetes risk, and decrease the chance of developing certain cancers. Coffee contains antioxidants and is a mood booster. There are of course issues with high caffeine consumption: it can affect your heart, increase anxiety and cause sleep issues. The key is moderation and unless you’re immune to the negative sleep effects (like my husband), try to avoid caffeine after lunch.
There are things you can do to improve your coffee habit to better benefit your body and the world around you:
- Buy fair trade – it provides a fair wage for workers, it prohibits child labor, and is better for the environment
- Grind your beans fresh daily – there are often extras mixed in with pre-ground beans (yes, that may actually be dirt you are tasting), you can finely grind the beans and get more coffee flavor with less beans, avoid stale grounds which can also lose their antioxidant levels, and the coffee tastes better!
- Use real cream and maple syrup to flavor your coffee – most store bought creamers have many unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives. Or they cost too much. Plus, refined sugars are not good for you. There are many options for homemade creamers if you prefer more flavor in your coffee.
What if you don’t have time to fix a hot breakfast?
My favorite breakfast on the go is a mixture of full-fat yogurt, granola cereal, and frozen berries (raspberries are my favorite). I put it all in a tall cup, grab a spoon and go (just make sure to mix it up first if you are driving)!
There are also several options for on the go if you have time to prep beforehand:
- Fruit salad with a piece of buttered toast
- A breakfast sandwich – (you can pre-cook eggs and bacon) and put them on toast or an english muffin
- Smoothies – blend up some milk or yogurt with fruit and veggies (easy to hide spinach or kale in a smoothie!), and maybe add some flax (or other variety) seeds. There are lots of options out there, but don’t forget to use full-fat dairy or almond milk!
- Make a sandwich with peanut butter and banana on toast. For added yumminess, fry it on a skillet with lots of butter! (I saw this on the news this morning, so yummy looking!)
If you do honestly prefer cereal, make sure that you limit yourself to the actual serving size. Skip the juice and use dairy with fat in it to give you some lasting energy. The key is to limit the simple carbs that will not sustain you until lunch. Find a way to add some protein and fat. And add some complex, real food carbs that are high in fiber (like fruit).
But the most important thing to remember is: Don’t ever skip breakfast!