Photo by Nico Alary
Disclaimer: I am not a Registered Dietitian (yet!) and am not aiming to tell you what you ‘should’ and ‘should not’ eat. In the words of Wayne Dyer, “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” I truly believe that you must follow your own advice in order to give it, and I am absolutely guilty of indulgences. However, I believe in the power of knowledge – and sharing that knowledge – because it empowers you to make informed choices. The nutrition/diet information that I share on this blog is a combination of information I’ve learned in my nutrition classes and of positive experiences I’ve had since making improvements to my own diet.
When it comes to starting the day, we’ve all heard it before: eat breakfast! It’s the most important meal! Right?
My mom was my #1 advocate for making sure I ate something healthy (thanks mom!) She instilled a life-long habit into my routine and I am very thankful for that. I know a lot of people who can’t handle eating in the morning, or who ‘aren’t hungry.’ To you I say: suck it up 🙂 because breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
But it’s not just important to eat in the morning, what you eat is really what matters. Because as tempting as that donut is, it’s bad news.
Let me give you a scenario: You’re running late in the morning (I am notorious for being late in the mornings) and don’t have time to eat before rushing out the door. On your way to work, you stop by a Starbucks and order a non-fat latte and a muffin (or pumpkin bread.) You add a packet of sugar into your coffee and continue on to work. Come 10AM, you’re hungry and your stomach is starting to hurt. You’re also tired – more coffee! You head into the break room and see a box of donuts that someone left. Do you take one? Absolutely (I probably would.)
Does this sound familiar?
SUGAR. It’s not what’s for breakfast, but it’s in a lot of breakfast foods. It’s hidden in cereals, instant oatmeal packets, muffins, flavored yogurts and more. So why is sugar a no-no?
Basically, when we eat something with sugar, the glucose levels in our blood rise (the body breaks sugar down to glucose) and this signals our pancreas to release insulin. Insulin turns the glucose into glycogen for the liver and our muscles. After the release of insulin, our blood sugar levels drop dramatically, often resulting in that tired and sluggish feeling that we’ve all experienced. Typically, our ‘fatigue’ spurs a craving for coffee or another pick-me-up, which more often than not, is another sugary substitute.
From personal experience, when I eat sugar in the mornings, my stomach hurts. I almost always get a headache and a feeling that I’ve termed ‘gut rut,’ (a feeling like my stomach is eating itself.) My energy levels are low and I find it incredibly difficult to exercise at night.
I’ve learned that my best mornings start with a protein-filled breakfast (and very little sugar.) My go-to breakfast is old fashioned oats, skim milk, fresh fruit, and nuts (I like sliced almonds and pecans.) If I have time and am feeling extra ambitious, I will whip up 3 eggs with cooked spinach (can also use kale) and a chicken sausage (if I’m starving.) A fun option I’ve tried recently is making overnight oats. I haven’t perfected the recipe (something about that mushy oat taste gets to me,) but I am always full for a few hours after eating it.
I am going to put together a post with healthy breakfast meal ideas in the next few weeks, but hopefully this information is helpful for now.
Happy Wednesday, Friends! And if you find yourself a little sluggish this afternoon – could it be your breakfast? 🙂
Let’s chat: what is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?