We have all heard it time and time again "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day". Don't brush this off as a wives-tale, breakfast can help increase concentration and mood and jumpstarts our metabolism. A 2003 study done by The American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who skip breakfast are 4.5x more likely to be obese. If that's not enough, 90% those who have been successful with weight loss and keep it off say they eat breakfast. A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that men who skipped breakfast had a 27% high risk of heart disease. Further research is needed, but it is possible that eating in the morning helps keep our hunger at bay and make better choices later in the day.
For those with Diabetes it can be even more beneficial, especially for blood sugar control. While sleeping, we are fasting (for many 7-9 hours). Many may stop eating a few hours before bed, and if we skip breakfast you may be fasting for 12-14 hours... almost half a day! During this time our liver has to regulate our blood sugar, and sometimes it produces too much glucose and our blood sugars will actually be higher than if we ate. Aim for breakfast within 2 hours of waking.
The quality of the breakfast is extremely important for blood sugar and satiety (feeling full). If you go for a donut or bagel and a sugar-ladden coffee, you will spike your blood sugar and likely be hunrgy in an hour or so. Depending on your medications you may have different needs, but in general the perfect breakfast would have a good source of protein, healthy fats, and a complex carbohydrate. Breakfast can be a great time to squeeze some fruit into your day as well!
Many of us fall short on protein at breakfast. Aim for at least 15g for blood sugar control and to stay full. Some good choices: eggs, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt (plain, greek, light), nuts, milk. For fiber I go for: whole wheat bread/wraps, oatmeal, high fiber cereal, and fruits. For healthy fats you may add nuts, seeds, avocado to your meal.
-Cup of Greek yogurt with 2 Tbsp slivered almonds, 1/2 cup berries
-Cup of high fiber cereal (aim for 5g/serving, less than 5g sugar) and sliced berries/banana
-Whole grain english muffin with egg, canadian bacon, low-fat cheese
-1/2 whole grain bagel or mini bagel w/ peanut butter or low fat cream cheese
-Cup of oatmeal w/ fresh fruit and 2 Tbsp nuts
-Whole grain frozen waffle w/ Peanut Butter and 1/2 banana
-1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese with 2 Tbsp seeds, 1 cup melon
- Breakfast wrap: 100 calorie wrap with scrambled egg, beans, low fat cheese, salsa, and avocado
-1-2 slices of whole wheat bread with natural peanut butter
-High protein/fiber breakfast bar
-Small homemade muffin (high fiber) plus hard boiled egg
-1-2 Hard boiled eggs (or make egg salad w/ greek yogurt) with whole grain toast
-Smoothie: 6 oz yogurt or milk/milk alternative and 1 cup fruit (protein powder optional)
The Time Crunch: Often I hear people say "I dont have time for beakfast". I often have clients study their morning and plan ahead. Maybe it means getting things together the night before, a grab-and-go option, waking up 5 minutes earlier, or eating at work. Sometimes we need to change our priorities to make positive lifestyle changes.