You’ve heard it since grade school -- breakfast is the most important meal of the day! However, we are a society constantly on the go, making it not only difficult to have time for breakfast, but also to eat the foods that will benefit our active lifestyle the most. Breakfast could be the key to more success in your health and fitness goals! Let’s first discuss why breakfast is so important for the fitness-minded individual. Then, let’s discover the best foods to make part of your daily routine.
Why Should I Eat Breakfast?
The amount of research that points to the importance of eating breakfast over any other meal is overwhelming. In fact, I don’t think many experts would recommend that we should skip breakfast or a meal during the day. Breakfast can be the difference between having the energy to get through the day or not. For the fitness individual, it can also be the difference in achieving your health and fitness goals.
Increases Weight Loss
Some people skip breakfast with the thought that the reduced calorie intake will help with weight loss. However, this may not be wise. There is a misconception that lower calorie intake will assist you in losing weight, which actually isn’t true. When you want to lose weight, the keys are to increase your intake of healthy calories, increase movement, increase water intake and voila!, a lighter, healthier you! I may be one of the few people in your life to tell you to eat more to lose weight, but I assure you, it’s a thing. In fact, 78% of successful dieters, defined as those who have lost more than 10% of their body weight and kept it off for two years, reported eating breakfast every day.
Increases Memory and Focus
According to a review in 2005 by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, eating breakfast improves your cognitive function, the ability for reasoning and processing information, as well as its capacity to focus and remember information. Cognitive function improves after eating any food. Therefore, breakfast should contain a healthy blend of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to help your brain the most. With increased focus during your morning workout, your body can move more efficiently through dynamic exercises.
Boosts Energy Levels
Breakfast healthfully increases our metabolism at the start of each day. Blood sugar is required to maintain your muscles and brain function. When we are sleeping, our blood sugar levels drop. Just like a car cannot move with an empty gas tank, there is no fuel for your body to perform.
Eating breakfast raises your blood sugar levels and stabilizes your bodies normal rhythm. Breakfast gives your brain and muscles the necessary energy to tackle that morning workout and helps maintain your ability to make it through the rest of the day.
Keep Diseases Away
Lastly, research has shown that individuals who eat breakfast are less likely to develop heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
For people with Type 2 Diabetes, breakfast is a critical meal at the start of the day. The morning meal also plays a role in preventing diabetes. Eating breakfast helps to improve the bodies insulin sensitivity and maintain blood sugar levels. Breakfast foods that have a low glycemic index will assist in preventing a spike in blood sugar throughout the morning and possibly well into the afternoon.
When people do eat breakfast daily, they are also less likely to have risk factors associated with heart disease like high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure.
Simply put, a daily breakfast with the correct food choices reduces health risks, gives you the energy to keep working out in the gym, and progresses you toward your health and fitness goals.
What Should I Be Eating for Breakfast?
If you’re in a rush in the morning, you may be tempted to just grab a doughnut/granola bar/fast food and coffee on the way out the door. Sure, the extra sugar and caffeine will get you started, but eating these foods for breakfast will lead to almost the same effect as not eating breakfast at all! In less than a couple hours, you will be left feeling hungry and may experience a sugar crash. The result for many is resorting to foods that are higher in fats and sugars to try to fill themselves up the rest of the day.
Instead, start your day with a bottle of water and foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients. Foods with carbohydrates give you energy now. Protein rich foods give you energy later. Foods with fiber keep you feeling full throughout the day. That means you should be looking for breakfast from dairy, grains, and fruits, not from foods that are high in fat and sugar such as pancakes and waffles, toaster pastries, muffins and fried foods.
Here are a couple meal prep recipes I recommend for a grab and go option, if you’re like most of the population and on the run. If you’re not on the run, they work as well because they are made ahead of time. There isn’t that lull of trying to figure out what you’re going to eat. That’s where slip-ups happen, or you just skip altogether due to laziness (this was TOTALLY me).
Meal Prep Breakfast Sandwiches
Click on the photo for the recipe. This is super simple and will make it very easy to get a balanced breakfast in every day.
Breakfast Sandwich Tips:
*Use chicken sausage instead of bacon
*If you want cheese, use mozzarella
*Highly recommend adding smashed/sliced avocado if you have time in the morning (after heating), you wont regret it.
*Wrap individually and place in gallon zip lock in the freezer
*When reheating, wrap in paper towel to keep moisture in the sandwich
Meal Prep Overnight Oats
Click on the photo for the recipe. If you're not a big egg person and prefer something on the sweeter side, this is your answer. Play around with your favorite flavors but this gal has some pretty great recommendations to keep it fun.
Overnight Oats Tips:
*Grab mason jars from Jewel or Hobby Lobby, you'll thank me later
*Mix it up, don't do all jars the same
*Almond milk or coconut milk are my favorite liquids to use. They are healthy fats and they add a great flavor
*Don't be afraid to use mini chocolate chips in one or two, even on a diet. Remember it's all about balance.
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