“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” How many times did you hear that from your mom or grandma when you were growing up? Well, they were right! Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
Let’s break down the word into its parts – Break the fast. While you sleep, your body is fasting and when you wake up in the morning, chances are it’s been at least 8-10 hours since you’ve eaten anything. You’re hungry and need to fuel your body and brain for the coming day. The choices that you make at your first meal can set the stage for a day filled with energy or leave you dragging. And think about your kids in school. Research has shown that kids who eat breakfast perform better on cognitive tasks and have more focus and better behavior than kids who do not eat breakfast.
What you eat is just as important as the fact that you eat. A typical breakfast of cereal, bagel and cream cheese, or muffin is full of refined carbohydrates and low in protein. Such a meal will give you a temporary boost in energy but quickly exit your system, crashing your blood sugar level , energy, and ability to focus. The ideal breakfast has a balance of healthy carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat. A meal like this keeps your blood sugar and energy level steady for three to four hours.
- breakfast burrito
- eggs (cooked in coconut oil), fruit, sweet potato hash
- oatmeal with nuts or seeds and fruit
- high-protein pancakes
That’s why I wrote the breakfast cookbook, “No Excuses! 50 Healthy Ways to ROCK Breakfast!” After 20 years in private practice, I have heard every excuse as to why my clients couldn’t or wouldn’t eat breakfast. “I don’t have the time.” “I don’t want to be a short-order cook!” Yet, they struggle with their energy, immunity, and weight. And kids will follow what their parents model. If you want your kids to eat a healthy breakfast, then parents have to set the example. Unfortunately, most kids tend towards foods that are low in nutritional value – high in refined carbs and low in protein, fiber, and healthy fat. Food like pancakes, waffles, bagels, and cereal.
In my desire to “healthify” favorite recipes, I’ve changed around the ingredient list to include more protein, change the type of grain (higher fiber), and add some healthy fat, all of which work together to keep you fuller for longer. Plus, all of my recipes are kid-approved. Even better – you and your children can continue to enjoy favorite breakfast foods. Have them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Just don’t tell them that they’re nutritious. All they will taste is that they’re delicious!
Erin Macdonald, RDN is a nutrition, fitness, and wellness coach in private practice in Mission Viejo. She is also the co-founder of U Rock Girl!, a website devoted to nourishing the mind, body, and spirit, and the co-author of the cookbook, “No Excuses! 50 Healthy Ways to ROCK Breakfast!” available on www.URockGirl.com as well as numerous other delicious recipes for every meal of the day.