You often hear the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” It was probably invented by some Mad Men-esque ad agency in order to sell more cornflakes, but it really is true. For probably a good 15+ years, I did not eat breakfast. Normally my day began with coffee, and nothing else until my belly was rumbling and I was eating whatever was in front of me (usually around 11am). If this was when I was working, that meant bagels or candy or whatever I could rustle up in my office kitchen. (None of these things happened to be healthy items, just so ya know). Then I’d eat a late lunch, usually something rushed, and then afternoon snack, and a late dinner… It was never those “3 meals and 2 small snacks”, as are recommended for healthy eating.
After my second child was born, I was really struggling with low energy. And since he was breastfeeding every 2 hours around the clock, I was very likely anaemic and vitamin deficient as well. I decided that I needed to start eating breakfast. But since I don’t really like to eat first thing in the morning, I started making smoothies. Green protein smoothies to be exact. I grew to love my smoothies. They really did give me more energy and I wasn’t always sneaking little snacks before lunch. I tried to stick to the “eating every 3 hours” recommendation. I didn’t feel ravenous anymore and my mood swings improved. (I definitely notice when my eating is inconsistent and I’m cranky all the time)
Eating a healthy and filling food gets your day off on the right foot! You are less likely to eat junk during the day if you’ve started out with a healthy breakfast!
I recently organized a fitness and breakfast event in Zürich. We did 45 minutes of circuit training and then had a light breakfast. During breakfast we all chatted about what we need to do to get our bodies healthy – a good breakfast is the best start you can get for your day. You’ll be more focused and energetic.
At our Fitness Breakfast we enjoyed Energy Bites (recipe here), Fruit-Yogurt-Granola Parfaits, Fresh Fruit Skewers, Berry-Avocado Smoothies, and hot tea (it was a chilly morning!) We talked about getting in shape through exercise — however, nutrition and balanced eating is the most essential part of any fitness plan.
If you are still skeptical about whether eating breakfast can make a difference to your health – I challenge you to eat a healthy nutritious breakfast each morning for a week. Whether that’s a bowl of oatmeal, a yogurt and fruit parfait, a smoothie, scrambled eggs with wholemeal toast, or something else — just make sure it’s a balance of protein and carbs and doesn’t contain much sugar. You don’t want to derail yourself with a sugar crash! You want a slow release of sugars into the blood through complex carbohydrates and protein.
I’m going to give you three recipes to try this week! Each morning, make this or another healthy recipe and eat it no more than an hour after waking up.
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- Plain, unsweetened yogurt (regular, Greek, coconut, or soy)
- Fresh or Frozen fruit (thawed), in bite size pieces (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc)
- MY SUPER GRANOLA (contains many healths seeds and nuts, with far less sugar that store brands)
- Layer yogurt, then fruit, than granola in a glass (two layers of each ingredient)
(Tip: If you are used to sweetened yogurt, you may add a bit of honey to the plain yogurt-but only a little!)
Hot Mama Protein Smoothie
- Handful fresh or frozen berries (no need to thaw)
- 1 large handful organic spinach or kale (optional)
- 1/2 cup reduced fat greek yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt)
- 1/4 cup milk (or non-dairy milk)
- 1/3 banana
- 1 scoop protein powder (I get mine from iHerb.com, the shipping to CH is very reasonable!)
- 1 tablespoon nut butter
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- cinnamon to taste (I like a lot! Learn more about the benefits of cinnamon here)
- Blend all ingredients in the blender.
(Tip: I find that with fresh greens they blend best if you put them on top of the liquid, and then the rest of the ingredients)
Oatmeal is one of the most filling foods that you can eat for breakfast. Oatmeal doesn’t have to take long, either – you can prepare it in the microwave in 3-4 minutes. Prepare a bowl of oatmeal, add a quarter-cup of fruit, a tablespoon of nut butter (or protein powder) and a dash of non-fat milk (or almond milk), and you’ve made a healthy meal without filling the sink with dishes. You can increase the fiber content by adding a tablespoon of freshly ground flax seeds (Leinsamen), which are also an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
“Apple Pie” Oatmeal:
- Half of a medium apple, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup of chopped or whole oats (Haferflocken/Haferflöckli)
- 1 cup of water (or a mixture of milk and water)
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Allspice -or- Nutmeg
(Allspice is called Jamaikapfeffer/Nelkenpfeffer/Piment and usually found in Turkish shops, Nutmeg is Muskatnuss)
- 1-1/12 Tablespoons pure Maple Syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Paste (to taste)
- Optional Topping: Chopped Walnuts or Pecans
- Mix all ingredients (except topping) in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until oats are soft (or microwave for 2:30 for chopped oats, 3-4 minutes for whole oats)
So that’s three recipes to get you started this week!
Do you eat breakfast every day? Why or why not, and what do you eat?