No matter what time you “break fast,” what you eat matters. Breakfast, or breaking your fast is simply referring to the fasting period from the last food you ate before you went to bed to the first food you eat the next day. Ideally, this is a period of 10-12 hours.
While you sleep, your body is in a state of recovery to promote better mental and physical health. While resting, your body is still working using the fuel you gave it the day before. So when you wake, how you fuel your body sets a precedent for the rest of the day. Breakfast helps to make it a healthy one.
Some of us couldn’t imagine sitting down for a big breakfast at 6 AM every morning while others may have the skillet fired up and eggs cracked before the sun is up. Honor your body and listen to the cues your body is giving you. Whether it is 6, 8, or 10 AM, what you eat to break your fast is important. Once you create the habit of eating breakfast, you can play around with when is the best time for you to eat. Here are some tips to break your fast and set you up for a terrific day.
So many people skip breakfast because they think it’s an easy way to cut calories. However, not eating breakfast disrupts your hormones and leads to overeating or overindulging later in the day. You end up eating too much too late in the day causing heartburn, indigestion, and poor sleep.
Creating a habit of eating breakfast is an easy way to boost your mood, kick-start your digestive tract and keep mental clarity throughout the day.
Coffee is not breakfast
A cup of coffee black is about 5 calories. Add 2 tablespoons of whole milk, 18 calories, or almond milk, 4 calories, and you still are nowhere near the number of calories the average person needs for a meal which is somewhere between 300-500 calories. You don’t need a huge breakfast; after all, some of us just aren’t “breakfast people”, but you do need some nutrients, more than you can get from just a cup of coffee.
Adding a protein source to your breakfast is such a game-changer. Why? Protein helps us stay fuller longer so you aren’t ravenous by lunchtime. Eating 20-30 grams of protein for breakfast gives your body a feeling of being satiated which helps you eat more evenly throughout the entire day. This can look like 2 eggs or 2 chicken sausage links. Or for a plant-based diet, smoothie bowls, yogurt, beans, or oats, all excellent protein options for breakfast. And for the coffee drinkers, you can always amp up your protein with a scoop of collagen protein in your coffee.
Plan to have 2-3 foods at breakfast. Beyond your protein, add carbohydrates rich in fiber and healthy fats.
Fiber prevents your blood glucose levels from spiking and then falling which stabilizes those hunger cues and benefits your bowels, helping to stay regular throughout the day. These carbs are found in plant-based foods, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Adding these to your breakfast not only gets you fiber but the added bonus of beneficial vitamins and minerals at the same time.
Ready to jump-start your productivity? Fat helps your body and brain get moving in the morning. Increasing your intake of healthy fats has been studied to show a decrease in belly fat, blood pressure, and depression. Simple steps to add healthy fat to your breakfast include adding avocado, cooking your eggs in olive oil, eating the whole egg (not just the white), or trying smoked salmon. And great additions to your smoothie or oats are walnuts, flaxseed, or chia seeds.
Keep it simple
You have enough to think about in the morning, there’s no need to overthink breakfast. Choose one option for breakfast and do that for the entire week, then switch to another option the following week. Here are some easy make-ahead breakfast ideas to start with.
- Pair a hard-boiled egg with hummus or avocado on toast.
- Overnight oats are all the rage and you can make several days at a time worth for a quick breakfast. Add nuts, berries, and seeds to your overnight oats for a satisfying flavor and balanced on-the-go breakfast.
- If you don’t mind running the blender in the morning, a protein smoothie is a delicious way to start your day. You can also prepare your ingredients days ahead in a cup and leave in the freezer. Take out, add your liquid, and blend. Breakfast in under 1 minute!
Most importantly, enjoy the process! Taking small steps every day will help you achieve your health goals.
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