Monday, July 19, 2010


Poached eggs over sauteed kale with guacamole and asparagus

My mom always said breakfast is the most important meal of the day. She used to drive me crazy saying that, but she was right. The reason is that the body has been fasting for presumably 6-8 hours (hopefully closer to 8), without replenishing nutrients, it will not function properly. Ideally, you should eat within an hour of waking up. Now, for many of us, this is tricky because we like to work out first thing in the morning and the last thing we need is one more obstacle (making breakfast) in our way. For others, they say that they just aren't hungry when they first wake up. Both groups still have to eat, even something small and even if you don't feel like it.

In addition to the skipping breakfast altogether, the mistakes that I see with breakfast tend to involve eating the wrong thing. Baked goods are never the answer, I don't care if they are sugar free, fat free, low fat, high fiber. It's really not a good balance of macronutrients. In other words, baked goods (muffins, croissants, etc) are generally sugar bombs with little healthy fat and very little protein to keep your blood sugar stable. From time to time, it is ok to have your favorite muffin (hopefully homemade by someone, rather than from a package at the convenience store) but it should not be part of your routine. Another common breakfast-cereal with skim milk, is on my list of not great breakfasts. Let's just assume that we are talking about some sort of "whole grain" variety and not the sugar loops kind. First of all, the "whole grains" label on many of the packages is misleading. There may be other grains, beside wheat or corn but most of them are not in the "whole" form, but no one monitors the accuracy of that claim, so it can slide. More than the false claims of health on the box is the simple fact that many cereals are not enough calories to keep you going through the day. Again, there is not enough protein and coupling it with non fat milk, there's not enough fat to keep you satiated for very long.

The key to maintaining good health and to losing weight is to keep blood sugar levels even and the way to do that is to eat often and to include protein and healthy fat at every meal-in addition of course to all the vegetables that you should be eating too. Make breakfast part of your routine and mix it up-don't have the same thing everyday. Prepare some hard boiled eggs when you have some time and they will be ready for you as you head out the door. Smoothies are another quick fix. You can use fresh or frozen fruit, almond milk or full fat coconut milk or coconut water throw in some flax seeds, maybe a little spirulina (a seaweed that is packed with nutrients), half of an avocado (for some healthy fat) and a scoop of organic protein powder for a completely satisfying meal. The addition of the fat and protein will keep you going until lunch.

I already have my breakfast planned for the morning, how about you?

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