As a future dietitian I get asked A LOT of questions…
One topic that seems to always come up is breakfast – is it really necessary? what should it include? what if I’m not hungry? and so on.
So let’s break it down. Breakfast is literally breaking the fast that you’ve had all night while you were catching zzzz’s. It is the first step to starting your metabolism for the day and notifying your body that it will not be in starvation mode (aka storing fat)! So yes, you need to eat at some point relatively close to when you wake up. That being said, there are days that I roll out of bed and it feels like I slept in the kitchen because I’m in there so quickly. However, there are other days when I want to do a short or easy workout (e.g. 2 mile run, yoga) before I get in my first bite.
*Important note: your body will not perform as efficiently when it hasn’t been fueled. If this morning workout is going to be your only physical activity for the day, please eat a little something first so that you can kick butt.
So on to the good stuff – your first meal of the day should for sure contain protein. Eggs, milk, yogurt, peanut butter…something to keep you full past the time you’re done swallowing. If you stick with just that one rule, it’s pretty easy to create a balanced and delicious meal.
This morning I did old fashioned oatmeal and added PB2 (chocolate flavor) and strawberries. Top it off with a glass of skim milk and I’m set with my protein, fiber, whole grains, a serving of fruit, shall I continue?
However, sometimes I like to challenge myself and get veggies at EVERY MEAL OF THE DAY!!! Breakfast used to be a vegetable free zone, but now it’s one of my favorite places to incorporate the greens.
-Veggie omelets are a fabulous way to kick start your morning. Spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, jalapenos, squash (you name it, I’ve probably put it in an omelet).
– Green smoothies (fruit of choice, low-fat milk, ice, and lots of greens) make you feel super energized and refreshed. You can also throw in protein powder or Greek yogurt to give it a little more power.
For breakfast out-the-door, try a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a banana, or a cup of low-fat plain Greek yogurt with blueberries and a pinch of granola.
Have fun at breakfast and think of it as your first healthy move of the day. Enjoy!