Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Breakfast: To Eat It or Not To Eat It?

I would say the answer would be both! Eat it, but don't eat it!

When I say it it, I mean that you should eat something within a half hour of waking up. Studies have shown that eating within that time frame boosts your metabolism and it gives you the energy you need to get through your day. It also means that you won't be starving yourself after your fast (sleeping), so when you do decide to eat, you won't pounce on anything that crosses your path.

Eating breakfast isn't just important for adults though. Kids need that boost in the morning too. Studies show that people who eat breakfast in the morning are better-able to perform the required tasks of the day, but also children who eat breakfast are less likely to be absent from school.

I have noticed that you kind of train your body to get used to this. I used to skip breakfast, which is bad, I know now. And I was also very heavy during that time (which is also very common for people who skip breakfast). But when I skipped breakfast, I noticed I wasn't as hungry in the morning. Once I started eating breakfast, I'd hear my belly groaning each morning within minutes of getting out of bed. Just like most other animals, it gets on a schedule and likes to stick to it! I can't vouch for others, but that was my experience, so even if you think you aren't hungry in the mornings, try it for a week or two and see if that changes.

Ok, now, when I say "don't eat breakfast!", I mean do not eat the foods we have all come to know, and love, as breakfast foods. This means waffles, pancakes, french toast, donuts, muffins, bagels, and cereals! I don't care if it says "Nutri" or "Natural" or "Fiber" or "Gluten-free" on the box/bag/can ... check the labels. Check the ingredients. If you can't pronounce the ingredients on the list, then you should put it down and go find something that wasn't created in a laboratory. The food industry has got a sneaky way of marketing their products. They can get away with "less sugar" and "natural" because there aren't very good guidelines for what they have to take into account. For example, sugar is hard to track because there are many different types of sugars and they aren't required to include all of them on the nutritional guide. So here is my solution to that:

grams of carbohydrates / 4 = tsp of sugar that you consume with each serving

ex: 20 g of carbs / 4 = 5 tsp of sugar

Ok, so that is just one serving. How many of you eat just one serving of cereal? Anyone? I know most cereal serving sizes are 1/2 c to 3/4 c and I know that I used to fill that bowl to the top! And sometimes I would even go back for a second bowl. That is a lot of sugar, which we know is very bad for you.

So now that I've told you what not to eat, what should you eat?
I would recommend getting in the 3 key food groups: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. And by "carbohydrates" I mean veggies! So a plate of eggs (protein/fat), veggies (carbs), and half of a sweet potato (carbs) with real butter (fats) will not only fill you up and be a great balanced breakfast, but it also is super delicious!

If you insist on finding something prepackaged, due to lack of time or resources, just check the ingredients list and see exactly what they are putting in the product. I can't say I have checked every label, but it is easier, for me, to just shop the perimeter and stick to real foods without the boxes or bags.

Another great option is to make breakfast foods ahead of time so you can just grab them and go. Casseroles are great, quiches are delicious. One of my new favorites is making meat muffins. That doesn't exactly sound the best, I know, but I'm talking like meatloaf in a cupcake tin. You can throw just about anything into some eggs, whip it up, pour it in muffin/cupcake tins ... 20 minutes later you have got meat muffins to last you all week that you can grab, heat, and go! It's also nice because you can include the 3 key food groups in them and get the balance all in one item.

Below is one of the recipes that I tried recently and thought was pretty good. I made them last night, breakfast for dinner, but my husband will be saving the rest for his breakfasts this week (he doesn't enjoy cooking and doesn't like waking up early to do it, lol).

Southwestern Omelet Muffins
 (found on Fast Paleo)

  • 6 ounces breakfast sausage links, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, assorted colors, chopped small
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped small
  • ¾ cups kale, chopped small
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves chopped fresh garlic)
  • 4 ounce can green chiles, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (I omitted due to not liking cilantro)
  • 1 dozen eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat large skillet on medium high heat. Add sausage and brown all around.
Add peppers and kale and cook to soften, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with remaining ingredients.
Add sausage and veggies.
Line muffin tins with papers and divide egg mixture among them, filling about ¾ full.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch.

So, eat your breakfast, but don't eat breakfast! ; )

Mayo Clinic
Fast Paleo

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