It’s hard to eat in the morning if you either simply don’t feel like it, or are too busy to bother. However if you skip breakfast, you are setting yourself up for nutritional failure on a few levels. First of all, breakfast is the breaking of the fast after sleeping and therefore not eating for about 12 hours for most people. Although while sleeping the body isn’t burning much overt energy, it is a crucial time for your metabolism to recover from the previous day.
If you’re exercising or have a lot of stress, the recovery of sleep is even more important to repair cells, maintain a healthy hormone balance and recover. This takes energy. Without adequate sleep your functionality quickly diminishes and puts the body into a survival mode of releasing stress hormones and metabolic function suffers. The body thinks you’re starving it, and in a way, you are! So breaking the fast is crucial to kick start your metabolism for the day and replenish energy and nutrition levels from the night’s recovery mode of sleep from all the busyness of life you throw at it on a daily basis.
The first thing I need in the morning is coffee! It is the elixir of life for me and definitely cannot survive without it. I tried to quit coffee once, but that did not work out very well.. We won’t talk about that. Coffee has its benefits and it is a nice part of my morning routine that quite frankly gets me out of bed. Mmmmm coffee. Along with my morning coffee, I always share a banana with Houdina. It’s the cutest part of my day!
I’m not a big muesli or cooked porridge fan, but once in a while I do have a bowl with rice or almond milk and find it quick and easy. But for the most part my go-to breakfast is wholegrain toast, like Bread Man mountain rye or Vogel’s with hummus or avocado with some sprigs of coriander from my garden. My next favourite is natural nut butter (Pic’s!) on toast for the extra protein kick and healthy dose of monounsaturated fat. It’s very quick, easy and I can even take it on the go.
Bread gets a pretty bad rap with the anti-carbohydrate brigade. As long as you choose heavy, hearty bread with at least 4g fibre and upwards of 10g protein per serving, bread is great. Don’t waste your time with mealy, anaemic bread, that is the stuff to avoid as Dr. Jim Mann from the University of Otago calls it a “bag of glucose”. A good test to determine if your bread is high quality is how long it takes to toast it; you should have to push it down a second time. Healthy bread takes longer because it’s denser due to the fibre and protein content. Fluffy, nutritionally devoid bread toasts very quickly. Bad sign. Don’t do it.
Another good option if you’re an on-the-go morning person is to have an Em’s Power Cookie and piece of fruit especially if you don’t like eating before leaving the house. Take it with you and have it in the car or once you get to work. Easy! Or if you’re training for a cycling or multisport race and bike commuting, use the ride to practice your skills eating on the bike. Boom!
I’m a big fan of fruit smoothies. I chuck in several pieces of fruit – usually banana, kiwi and pineapple with plant-milk, wheat grass powder or spirulina. You can add chia or hemp seeds for protein. This is a real treat but does take a little more time and effort.
On the weekends, I often whip up a Powergirl fry-up. Usually it’s a mix of garlic, veggies and some sort of bean (refried beans or a tin of chickpeas or black beans). Throw in some spice, sea salt and cracked pepper and serve on a wholemeal tortilla or wrap. Just use whatever you have on hand and get creative! I made one recently that was excellent. It was going to be a simple avocado wrap but evolved into a gourmet delight:
- Sauté garlic, onion and cabbage from the garden with a splash of olive oil
- Chuck in a tin of adzuki organic beans and ½ tin of diced tomatoes
- Spice it up with curry, turmeric, cayenne, coriander, or whatever you fancy, salt and pepper
Served on a wholemeal wrap with avocado and it was absolute bliss.
Eating breakfast does not have to be the traditional drudgery of making a big fuss. Just eat something. Work around your schedule and idiosyncrasies and get it in. Start the day right and your body will thank you for it. Your energy levels will be better, and the mid-morning cravings for sugary energy drinks, biscuits or that 5th cup of coffee will be left in the wake of your energy and healthy glow. There are many options for you and I hope this blog inspires you to make more conscious food choices 🙂