Most days are too hectic to cook up an entire meal, but all it takes is a few key ingredients to get your day started off on the right foot! In the morning, we are literally breaking a fast from the night before, so it is important that we start our day with plenty of nutrition for the waking hours.
In the mornings, our bodies are ready to accept and absorb nutrients that will fuel our metabolism for the day. This sets the tone for our energy levels as well as hunger levels later in the day. But often, mornings are busy and it can be hard for many to even make breakfast, let alone sit down to eat.
“Most mornings are too hectic to cook up an entire meal, but all it takes is a few key ingredients to get your day started off on the right foot.”
Work smarter, not harder
A balanced meal has 3 components: carbohydrates, protein and fat. By combining these three macronutrients in adequate portion sizes, we can ensure optimal digestion, energy and blood sugar control i.e. no sugar cravings. Here are a few examples of a quick and filling breakfast that will fill you up while still getting you out the door on time.
1. Avocado and egg on toast.
You've heard it before, but this breakfast takes about 5 minutes to prepare and it has all the components of a balanced meal. Egg for protein, whole grain bread for carbs (energy) and avocado for healthy fat. I like to spice it up by adding hot sauce and a little butter or mayo to my bread for extra flavor. Also, sometimes I will throw in a handful of spinach or baby kale while cooking the egg to get a jump on my veggies for the day. 1/2 cup of raw greens cooks down to nothing and a perfect amount to fit on a piece of toast.
2. Greek yogurt with berries and granola and/or nuts/seeds
A very hearty, no-cook option. Greek yogurt is full of protein and you only need about 3/4 to 1 cup to fill you up. Add 1/2 cup of berries (for fiber, energy and vitamins) and about 1/4 cup of granola/nuts/seeds (healthy fats). Voilà, a hefty, nutrition packed breakfast that you can eat sitting down since you have saved time by not cooking anything!
3. Breakfast wrap
Sounds labor intensive, but it isn't. Remember that stir fry you made last night? Simply heat it up in a pan, cook an egg and wrap it up! Add some salsa, hot sauce or a little cheese (protein, fat) and you have a filling, hand-held meal to last you all the way to lunch. There are many options for whole grain wraps for added fiber.
4. Waffles/Pancakes and peanut butter
If you are going to have a carb heavy meal, then let it be breakfast. Whole grain carbs provide energy and fiber that we need to fuel our day and our digestion. Plus, when paired with protein (peanut butter, almond butter, etc) this optimizes digestion so that our bodies can use all the nutrients from the meal.
Once you recognize the components to a healthy meal (carbs, protein and fat) then you can be creative with more recipes such as a healthy breakfast smoothie! It's a myth that dietitians (at least me, anyway) cook an entire breakfast each morning, or even that it is healthy everyday! A sustainable meal plan is meant to include variety, even if that variety includes bagels and donuts every so often.
Take some time today to write down a few breakfast ideas you'd like to try. Pretty soon mornings will be more enjoyable and less stressful, at least in the food department!
And also, coffee. Let there always be coffee :-)
Here's to getting the day started on the right track!