Breakfast blues? Time to convert!

Breakfast blues have you leaving the house on empty?

Do you tend to skip breakfast because you are crunched for time, or do you think skipping breakfast will help you shed a few extra pounds?  Eating after an overnight fast kick starts your metabolism in the morning.  Skipping breakfast causes your body to go into ‘starvation mode’, conserving more energy, or in other words, choosing to store calories as fat.

Skipping breakfast is bad, but could what you choose to eat make it worse?  Yes!  Sugary, highly processed foods, like donuts or baked sweets, will cause a spike in your blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling starving shortly after indulging.  Protein and high fiber foods are ideal choices for breakfast, as they are digested slowly, preventing blood sugar levels from roller coasting!

Does skipping breakfast affect your concentration?

In short, yes!  The glucose from yesterday’s meals has been used up over-night.  If you don’t eat the right foods or you completely skip breakfast, your blood sugar will drop (or in the case of a high sugary breakfast, dip up and down), and your memory and concentration will feel quite foggy.  If you want to avoid the mental fuzz, fuel up with good nutrition to start your day.

What if I am not hungry in the morning?

This could relate to what time you stop eating the night before.  Do you eat right before you go to bed at 11 pm, or do you stop eating by 7:30?  I would recommend to stop eating by 8 pm in the evenings to give your body a break and allow it to thoroughly digest, breakdown, and absorb all food consumed during the day.  If you are starving in the evenings, you are likely not eating much during the day!

What are some good snack ideas?

Try taking fiber and protein rich snacks to work that are convenient and easily transportable.  Fresh fruit, sliced veggies and hummus (snap peas, cucumbers, carrots, peppers are great), nuts, seeds, organic beef jerky, kale or veggie chips, mung bean crackers (high in protein), sweet potato chips, smoked salmon on seed crackers, hard boiled eggs, high quality, full fat yogurt (coconut, sheep, or goat), sweet potato chips, or homemade energy balls, paleo cookies, or omelette muffins.

Get creative, pick a day to prep and plan, even a few hours in the morning or afternoon will do.  Once it becomes routine, you won’t even have to think about it.

Here are some delicious breakfast recipes that are quick to make for the time-poor person, yet still incredibly nutrient dense to power start your day!

Banana, Walnut, and Fig Oatmeal

Serves 6

  • 3 cups dry rolled oats (gluten free)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 cups of almond milk
  • 6 small bananas (1 banana per person, chopped)
  • 1 cups walnuts, chopped into small pieces
  • 11 dried figs, chopped
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of ginger

Bring the almond milk and water to boil in a large steel pot.  Once comes to a boil, add in oats and reduce to simmer.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until oats soften.  Remove from heat and stir in crushed walnuts, maple syrup, and spices.  Portion oatmeal out in bowls, and top with chopped bananas and figs.

Benefits of ingredients:

  • Bananas are high in potassium and magnesium, important nutrients for the maintenance of blood pressure
  • Bananas are a source of fiber to help regulate bowel movements and maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Bananas contain B6, an important vitamin to help regulate mood, energy levels, and protein metabolism
  • Walnuts are a fantastic source of essential fatty acids, including the heart healthy omega 3 fatty acid
  • Figs are high in fiber, lower in sugar compared to dates, and dried figs are a source of calcium

Avocado, Chia, Blueberry, Pineapple Smoothie

Serves 6

  • 5 ripe small avocados
  • 3 cups frozen blueberries
  • 5 cups almond milk or coconut water
  • 6 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 4 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey

Blend all ingredients together in blender (may need to separate into two batches).  Pulse until smooth.  Makes 1.5 cups per person.  Option to top with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut flakes (E.g. Pumpkin seeds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, cacao nibs, dried figs, almonds, etc.).

Benefits of ingredients:

  • Avocados are source of essential fatty acids, as well as vitamin E; EFAs are anti-inflammatory, important for the formation of healthy cellular membranes, essential for brain and nervous system health, hormone production, and support healthy skin and hair. Vitamin E helps to protect cells against free radical damage, support eye health, as well as nervous system health.
  • Blueberries are full of polyphenol rich compounds, which aid in cellular protection and detoxification. Blueberries are a source of fiber, and high in potassium, folate, B6, and vitamin C.
  • Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, a critical essential fatty acid.
  • Papaya is a source of vitamin C and contains the enzyme papain, which aids in the digestive process.
  • Spinach is rich in magnesium, iron, manganese, potassium, zinc, and a source of protein.
  • Cinnamon and ginger and beautiful warming spices, having calming digestive properties and aiding in circulation—perfect for the winter months.

Happy cooking!

Amanda Harasym

Naturopath, Nutritionist, Herbalist

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