We’ve all heard it—that skipping breakfast is bad for you, and it’s true! But what if you workout first thing in the morning? What if you can’t find anything you like? What if you don’t eat eggs, or dairy, or drink protein shakes? Each one of us is individual, and so each one of us will need to find something different that works for our bodies and our lifestyle. I’ve put together a guideline with examples that will hopefully allow you to build and better understand what you should be whipping up each morning for breakfast.
Why do we need breakfast? Well for one, after a full night of sleep your body is dehydrated and hungry, and so you can’t and should not be depriving yourself of nutrients you need when you have to get up and get moving. Eating breakfast can speed up your metabolism, stabilize blood sugar, and prevent crescendo eating. What is crescendo eating? Well, if you haven’t eaten all morning that means you will be setting yourself for an evening finale, but by spreading your calories throughout your day you help with keeping your metabolism in check.
I am often asked what I eat, and my go-to meal may not be everyone’s preference, which is fine! As I said before, we are all different, and that is a good thing. You should never force yourself to eat something you do not like because someone else tells you that it’s good for you, or that you should. Just because everyone’s eating kale salads does not mean you have to. Just because I like oatmeal does not mean everyone will! We all just have to take the time to find what works well for us and what we enjoy the most, so I tried to write up some different options for those of you out there looking for something new to try. The key components, however, are divided into 4 simple groups.
- Lean Protein. Your body needs proteins, plain and simple. They are the building blocks for our bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Your body uses them to build and repair damaged tissue, which is extremely important if you are working out consistently. Ways to get lean proteins into your breakfast include:
- Eggs and egg whites
- cottage cheese
- greek yogurt
- turkey sausage
- smoked salmon
- protein powder
- Whole Grains. This is where your nutrients come into play, as well as fiber. They can help to lower the risk of heart disease, and help to keep your ~flow~ regular as well. They are also filling! This can come in handy if you workout in the mornings and are in need of a burst of energy. I currently limit my grains to rolled oats, Ezekeil or sprouted breads, and quinoa. I have a quinoa breakfast bowl recipe here that is worth a try, but other ways to get whole grains into your breakfast include:
- Peanut butter or avocado toast
- Quinoa breakfast bowl
- Antioxidants. Ah, good ole’ fruits and veggies. Different antioxidants benefit different parts of the body, but one thing is for certain, our bodies need them fruits and veggies. Similarly to whole grains or proteins, our bodies need antioxidants in order to properly function and, lets face it, they are delicious. A few ways to incorporate fruits and veggies include:
- Veggie omelette
- Sweet potato hashbrowns
- Banana pancakes
- Fruity oatmeal
- Smoothie bowls
- Healthy Fats. This one is optional, but I incorporate it into my breakfast one way or another. Simple options include:
- All-Natural peanut butter
- Handful of nuts (almonds, peanuts, etc.)
If you are gluten free…
Keep it simple. Try omelettes or heartier egg dishes. Another great option are banana pancakes, all of which will help keep you full like a grain can without disrupting your digestive system. They also make great options for gluten free bread which work well for toast with poached eggs, or with peanut butter for a quick snack.
If you are dairy free…
Almond milk is your best friend. Not only does it also give you a healthy fat, but it works well in oatmeal and smoothies. I have also used it in my matcha latte’s recently and find it to be just as delicious as regular milk. There are also coconut milk based yogurts, which I prefer over soy based products that can be used in smoothies or as a snack with fruit.
If you workout in the morning…
Then eating a big, hearty breakfast comes after the workout, not before. Great snack options include all natural peanut butter toast (I use Ezekeil bread), bananas, protein shakes or smoothies, and hard boiled eggs. All of these foods will give you the energy you need to get through your workout without the stomach ache of eating a big meal.
Get creative tomorrow morning, try something you have never before, and be open to new foods! You might end up finding something that clicks for you.
As always, feel free to leave me a comment below if you found this post helpful!