Breakfast has been a controversial topic in the health industry, so many health specialists claim it the “most important meal of your day” while others claim you need to “skip it”.
What is a flexible solution to this?
Let’s understand this first: everyone has different bodies, and what works for you might not work for someone else.
But let’s also understand the science behind breakfast. Breakfast simply means breaking your fast after a 7 – 8 hour sleep.
Several studies have shown us that people who go big on breakfasts tend to have healthy body weight and are able to keep this alive for the longer term, compared to the ones who skip.
Skipping breakfast might look like a quick way to consume fewer calories, but it naturally leads to guilty snacking, and overeating later in the day.
Eating in the A.M can bring several changes to your daily lifestyle, it sure did change for me. Benefits such as faster metabolism, keeping you full until your next meal, increase your intake of healthier nutrients your body needs to function well throughout the day.
Okay, so Breakfast is important, but that doesn’t mean muffins and coffee only, having a healthy and wholesome breakfast is equally important. Actually, it makes all the difference.
It’s crucial to break your fast with a wholesome nutritious foods filled with vitamins, minerals, fibres like whole grains, lean protein, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies to keep you full and kickstart your morning.
So, what should you include in your breakfast?
A whole-food plant-based breakfast is more likely to give you all the healthy nutrients your body deserves. Here we are focusing more on skipping processed and refined foods and focusing on natural and hearty foods. Here are a few to name and that is super easy to include in your diet:
Whole grains add a great nutritious value to your breakfast. They not only keep you full for a longer period but are also important sources of nutrients like zinc, magnesium, B vitamins and fibre.
However, you need to be mindful while choosing your whole-grains, look for ingredients such as whole oats, whole-wheat flour, whole-grain, whole-grain brown rice, whole rye etc. Look out for foods that say “multi-grain,” “100% wheat,” “high fibre,” or are brown in colour may not be a whole-grain product.
Also, keep an eye out for food choices lower in sodium, saturated (solid) fat, and added sugar.
Whole grains are also found to reduce the risk of heart disease and help you manage your weight. That’s why I always recommend a whole food plant-based diet, it really does wonders to your body.
Protein is essential as it provides the body with energy, maintains your blood sugar and keeps you full and away from unnecessary snacking.
Sometimes, store-bought foods that claim to be ‘high’ in protein are also packed with artificial sugars, saturated fat and cholesterol. Opt for natural sources of protein like nuts, seeds which by the way are also full of healthy oils.
If you find yourself peaking in your cabinets or fridge for snacks after breakfast, you might not be eating enough protein.
Some examples of natural foods packed with protein are oats, tofu, chickpea pancakes, plant-based yogurt, and quinoa. Mix them up with a few veggies and a side of fruit to add vitamins and minerals.
More so, if you’re not consuming dairy, soy and oat milk are loaded with protein and have way less cholesterol than cows milk.
Everyone, even a 5-year-old knows that Calcium helps build stronger bones and teeth. It also keeps our nerves and muscles working fine.
Did you know? Better calcium actually comes from plants and is also easily absorbed into our bloodstreams than milk.
Dark leafy greens such as broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage and watercress are great sources of calcium, along with dried fruits, nuts, seeds and pulses.
A fibre-full meal is satisfying! Fibre is a type of carbohydrate, which when consumed early in the day can stop your blood sugar levels from increasing and decreasing throughout the day which can make you hungry more quickly.
Fibre also keeps your digestive system running smoothly for the whole day. By that I mean, it keeps your colon and bowels clean and regulated.
Whole plant-based foods are an excellent source of fibre and can be found in grains, legumes, citrus fruits, apples and veggies. They are also known to keep your cholesterol low.
Examples include oatmeal, which is high in fibre, or just by adding a few berries or chopping some veggies could not only help you get fibre but also boost your vitamins and minerals intake.
If you’ve been eating your English muffin and bacon for breakfast, it’s time to change. You’ve been eating the wrong kind of fat. Bacon is 14g of saturated fat, for which your arteries will not be happy.
Trust me, I thought all fat was bad. But I was wrong. Healthy fats make your meals more wholesome and nutritious, and also help to break down bad cholesterol.
Increase your intake of healthy fats by adding avocado to your breakfast (but let’s face it, avo toast can be part of any meal), cooking in a dash of olive oil instead of butter, adding some nuts to munch on.
Specific fat, omega-3 fatty acids are known to improve your mood, these are usually found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, seaweed, and edamame.
Be wary of foods that claim to be healthy
A lot of peoples’ daily breakfast would include cereal. But not all cereal is the same. 85% of all cereals in your grocery store are packed with sugar, saturated fat and cholesterol.
Yeah, fruit loops and reese’s puffs are delicious but they are also packed with sugar, and that sure might spike your energy level for a while but then leave you feeling drowsy. Also, so much sugar in cereal is not really ideal.
Always. Always. Always, look at the nutritional label while buying cereal.
– Look for at least 3–5mg of fibre per serving
– No added sugar or that the sugar is not mentioned at the top of the ingredient list or a list of multiple sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup, honey, brown sugar and dextrose.
– Look for any whole-grain added, such as whole oats, whole barley, whole wheat, whole rye, whole grain of any kind. You get what I mean.
– Look for ones with less or no saturated fat and a minimum of 160 calories per serving.
Also, cereal and granola bars that are processed claim to be ‘healthy’ but actually they aren’t, you can make your own granola at home. But I do understand that sometimes all of us are in a rush, but just look for bars that are made with wholesome ingredients, such as dried fruit, and whole grains like oats. And, don’t forget to read the nutritional label.
Remember to treat and listen to your body properly. Think about it this way: the first thing you want to put into your mouth should be beneficial to your body.
Load up on fibres, protein and low-carbs and on healthy fats to keep you fuller for longer and kick start your metabolism for the day.
With love and light,
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