You’ve heard it before. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Is this really true? The simple answer is yes, but it is more than just eating something at any time in the morning. The timing of your meal, foods you eat, and the order you eat them all impact your metabolism which in turn influences your entire day. As we briefly touched on last week; a healthy, strong metabolism is key to fat loss so let me tell you about how to set yourself up for success.
Igniting the metabolism as soon as you wake up is the key benefit to breakfast. This means you will start burning calories and utilizing energy at the very beginning of the day. Consuming a healthy breakfast means higher energy throughout the day, more efficient utilization of calories consumed, stabilization of blood sugar and insulin levels, and makes it less likely to overeat later in the day.
A healthy breakfast consists of a balance of the three macronutrients; carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Also note that water is a macronutrient as well because it is needed in large amounts, but it does not contribute calories. Many people don't think about water due to that fact, but consuming adequate water should be the very first thing to make a habit! I will be going into much more detail on the macronutrients in a further series but I do want to cover a few basic facts for you on the calorie contributing macronutrients.
Carbohydrates are the main and most readily available source of energy for our body. The body needs adequate energy for brain and heart function, exercise as well as organ function. Examples of carbs are fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, and dairy products
Proteins are the basic building block of cells. When it comes to fat loss, proteins are responsible for stimulating muscle growth, keeping you feeling full longer, and promotes fat burning. Examples of proteins are meat, eggs, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and whole grains.
Fats are the backup source of energy when carbohydrates are not available. Their many functions include regulating body temperature, acting as insulation for internal organs, helping to absorb certain nutrients, and more. Examples of fats are oils, butters, nuts, nut butters, avocados, fish, eggs, and more.
An appropriate balance of these three is the goal for every meal but especially breakfast. When it comes to carbohydrates; focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as whole grain bread or oatmeal. For protein; try lean meats, eggs, and/or dairy. Much of the fat in your meal will come from the protein source but in addition; olive oil, avocado, and peanut butter are great options.
Some meal ideas are:
- Two egg omelet with vegetables and fruit on the side
- Overnight oats with nut butter, fruit, flax seeds, and honey
- Protein smoothie with dairy, fruit, greens, and protein powder
Try this fall favorite for a change in your normal routine!
Pumpkin Protein smoothie:
6-10 ice cubes
¾ cup lowfat milk or milk substitute (almond, coconut, soy, etc)
¼ cup pumpkin purree (I use organic pumpkin for mine)
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp cinnamon **this is optional, I personally just like the cinnamon to be the most powerful spice
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tsp honey or similar sweetener
1 small banana
¼ cup fresh or frozen peach slices
- Mix all ingredients in blender until you achieve desired consistency.
- Add ice or milk to change consistency.
*Recipe inspired by: http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/09/pumpkin-protein-shake/
So why again is this the most important meal of the day? Jumpstarting your metabolism and consuming the right types of food sets your body up for success. Whether your goal is fat loss or muscle growth, the trick is to start right and to start early. Some key ways to maximize this are to: eat within 30 minutes – an hour of waking, consume each of the three macronutrients, and consume plenty of water. Following these tips will ensure that your body is fueled to function as efficiently as possible throughout the entire day!
Try out the pumpkin smoothie and let us know what you think in the comments! Next week, we will discuss what makes a healthy lunch. Please visit our homepage for more information on our various programs and customized plans!
Happy eating, all!