Making healthier choices can be challenging any time of the day but breakfast time is NO exception. In fact, breakfast is so commonly associated with sugary cereals, sticky buns, greasy fast food breakfast burritos, danishes, donuts, and other sweet do-hickies that getting your morning intake to be a life-giving one can be difficult!
Essentially, having traditional “breakfast” means starting your day off with dessert. A stack of pancakes, soaked in syrup, with powdered sugar… “oh but the three strawberry slices on top make it healthy!” I wish.
Breakfast has often been called the most important meal of the day. I can definitely agree with that as long as we realize one thing: breakfast is essentially “breaking your fast”. You shouldn’t necessarily eat a big hearty one as soon as you pop out of bed. The best thing you can do for yourself is to pay attention to your body and eat whenever you feel ready for food.
The first thing that hits your completely empty stomach is very important as whatever it is will get absorbed into your bloodstream pretty quickly. Feed yourself something that will give you energy and set the tone for the day.
What counts as a healthy breakfast?
This can be a controversial subject in the nutrition world. There are a lot of opposing views on what’s the best way to break your fast. Without getting into the nitty gritty let’s just state that, (obviously) the goal is to start your day with foods that will boost your body and give it the energy it needs. I think we all know that eating danish and donuts are a great way not to do that.
To give you some ideas, here’s my morning food routine:
- Get up. (haha)
- Drink filtered water (amount depends on how I feel and how thirsty I am).
- Depending on if I’m feeling full or ravenous I will either:
1. Drink a glass of power juice
2. Eat a grapefruit or a small bowl of blueberries (both are quick exit foods and aid in cleansing)
3. Make up a smoothie or shake (a treat for me – too much fruit can still be too much sugar!)
4. Have a bowl of raw oat cereal or cook up an egg breakfast – keep reading for recipe!
Often times I will go for a combo – power juice and grapefruit or power juice and oat cereal. Sometimes I throw in some nuts too. You get the idea. Also, depending on your metabolism and blood sugar levels, you may feel better having several mini snacks throughout the morning.
Hopefully you’re seeing a trend – the amount depends on how you feel.
Overeating Vs. Eating for health
There is a common concern with this approach for people who struggle with overeating (we’ve all been there at one point or another!). So, “how much is enough”? Here’s a rough guideline to keep in mind:
- Eat the amount of food that would fill both of your slightly cupped hands.
- Chew slowly, savoring every bite, letting your taste buds come alive to the flavor. Enjoy your food!
- Stop eating a little before you feel full. The stomach sends a signal to the brain that says “stop – we’re full down here!” but it can take a little while for it to register in the mind – especially if it’s being ignored. No one likes to feel stuffed at the end of the meal, food is supposed to give energy – not steal it! So back off a bit when you see how much you’ve eaten and in a few minutes if your body still needs more, go back and take a few more bites.
Here’s a quick and nutritious selection that I love to cook up in the morning! It’s super fast and yummy and healthy. This breakfast was first cooked up out in the country and I must thank Joanie for it’s inspiration!
A Country Morning Breakfast
2 teaspoons extra-virgin coconut oil, separated
2 handfuls fresh spinach (it’ll wilt down considerably)
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cage-free eggs
sea salt, to taste
In a frying pan over low to medium heat, melt 1 teaspoon coconut oil. Add spinach and grape tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until spinach is slightly wilted and the skin on the tomatoes starts to peel. Transfer onto a warmed plate.
Next, melt another teaspoon of coconut oil over low to medium heat. Cook the eggs your favorite way. I like mine over easy, with a nice, runny yolk. When done, slide the eggs over the spinach and tomatoes. Lightly salt to taste. A great way to start the day!
Yes, there are guidelines to eating a healthier breakfast but there are no strict rules that everyone must adhere to in order to “be healthy”. Our bodies are all different and need varying amounts of protein, fresh veggies and fruits, and other items to start the day off right. What’s not different, however, is that we each respond in a positive way to healthy food.
You can’t go wrong starting your day off with a healthy breakfast – when and how much depends on your personal health and metabolism. Listen to your body – it will tell you what it needs!
Also seen on Allergy-Free Wednesdays.