Friday, September 10, 2010
THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY
My mom always had pearls of wisdom for me. One of her biggest sayings was to remind me to eat breakfast, "it's the most important meal of the day." You know what? She was right. Most of us consider breakfast a cup of coffee and a muffin from the local coffee shop. Well, that is not going to cut it! There is nothing nutritionally sound in that breakfast. More than lacking in nutrients, that version of breakfast is ultimately going to give you a short burst of energy, but then leave you feeling tired, hungry, grouchy or another whole host of not good feelings.
I totally understand that everyone is in a rush in the morning. I've been there. As a result, we turn to convenience food to satisfy us. When I lived in NY, Pick-A-Bagel used to deliver to my office a large coffee and bagel for $2.25. I didn't have to leave my desk. Now, I know better. Look, I am not going to tell you to give up your morning coffee, but if you cannot even think about starting your day without it, it might be time to consider reducing the amount that you drink. Instead of that muffin or bagel, though, there are plenty of convenient and quick breakfasts that you can have.
The above picture is one of my normal breakfasts. I put all of that into a blender and in less than a minute I have a really healthy smoothie. Not all smoothies are the same! There are tons of juice bars and the like that will sell you a perfectly terrible smoothie under the pretense of it being "healthy." I like to use frozen fruit, but remember if using thin skinned fruit like peaches or berries get the organic. I also add a scoop of non GMO whey protein powder, flax seeds, nutritional yeast, 1/2 an avocado and some almond milk.
It is important to have balance in your meals, a little bit of good fat (avocado, nut butter), protein (eggs, whey powder) and complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables). The protein from the whey powder and the fat from the avocado in my smoothie prevent your blood sugar from quickly spiking and then dropping. They will also keep you satiated longer. The blood sugar spike is something that many of us experience when we eat simple carbs like muffins, bagels, cold cereals or many smoothies that consist of only fruit or fruit and frozen yogurt. Flax seeds and nutritional yeast are two "super" or "booster" foods, meaning that they pack a powerful nutritional punch in a small dose. The flax seeds are a good source of omega 3 fats and the nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins.
Smoothies may not be your thing, but there are tons of other quick options for you. Eggs of course are a good idea, they have both fat and protein add to them some vegetables and you have a nutritionally sound meal. Bagels are still a staple, certainly for many of my east coast friends. Rather than slathering on some butter or cream cheese, consider cutting the bagel in half, scooping out some of the middle (like we used to do in college following an article where it was revealed that's what Jennifer Aniston did) add some lettuce, tomato, avocado, sprouts, maybe some roasted turkey or feta cheese.
Whatever your preference, it is really important to eat breakfast everyday. Your body has gone hours without food and in order to function properly, it needs to be replenished. Remember to choose something that has some good fat and some protein rather than a simple carb which is nothing but empty calories. We are somewhat conditioned to want sweet things in the morning, but if we could break free from that, it would open a lot more healthy options.