In your busy life, do you take the time for breakfast every day? Breakfast is important for many reasons: it fuels your body for the day getting your body’s engine (your metabolism) revved up, it prevents overeating later in the day, and with the right choices it can help keep your head clear for a productive day.

Breakfast may not have to look like you expect. It can be any number of options. But there are some key components that will help you to feel good and enjoy breakfast each and every day.

    1. Add protein. Skipping protein is one of the more common problems I see in individual’s breakfasts. When we start the day with just carbohydrates (i.e. cereal or toast) it only gives energy for a short period of time leaving you feeling hungry soon and perhaps making your brain feel a bit foggy. Try scrambled eggs or hard boil eggs to have ready to grab and eat. Add walnuts or almonds to cereal or oatmeal or add pumpkin seed, whey or pea protein to a smoothie. Spread peanut or other nut butter on an apple or banana.
    2. Drink water. Juice isn’t a necessary part of your breakfast. Though it can be a good source of vitamins, it is not comparable to the nutrition you get in fresh fruits or vegetables. Skip the juice and have a whole piece of fruit. Proper hydration is necessary for healthy functioning of organs and muscles in addition to keeping skin healthy and helping to control calories. Simply drink water to start out the day hydrating yourself well.
    3. Fill up with fiber. Fiber is beneficial for digestive health as well as having a positive impact on blood sugar and cholesterol. Consider ways to add more fiber – fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as oatmeal or whole wheat, nuts and seeds.
    4. Start with fruits and vegetables. The goal is 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. To get those in, starting with breakfast can be a great start. Try sautéing onions, greens or other vegetables with scrambled eggs or make an omelette. Keep frozen fruit on hand so options will always be available whether eating whole or adding to a smoothie. Spinach and kale work great in a smoothie too.
    5. Make it delicious. If you don’t enjoy your meals then you will not be satisfied throughout the day, leaving you more tempted by vending machine or lunchroom snacks. Find ways to make breakfast something you can really look forward to so you can start out the day feeling happy with your meal.
    6. Consider alternatives. Breakfast does not have to look like what you think of for breakfast. If you don’t enjoy breakfast-type foods try something different. Finish leftovers from last night’s dinner, make a turkey tortilla wrap or simply choose nuts and a piece of fruit.
    7. Plan ahead. With all meals, you are more likely to be successful if you have given it some thought ahead of time. There are many options of breakfast foods you can prepare ahead of time so you can simply grab and go if your mornings are hurried. Refrigerator oatmeal or muesli, hard boiled eggs or trail mix are some easy options.

Make Ahead Muesli
Combine in a small bowl 3 TB rolled oats and 6 TB kefir or yogurt. Put in refrigerator and let sit overnight. In the morning stir in 1 piece of fruit (sliced apple or pear), 2 TB nuts (slivered almonds, chopped walnuts) and 2 TB dried fruits (raisins, dried apricots). Add additional seasonings to taste – cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla.

I find great improvements in individual’s success in weight loss or improved energy when adding a high nutrient breakfast to the day. Make a list of just 3 breakfasts that you really enjoy and will work into your lifestyle. Then be sure your kitchen is always stocked with these staples. Post the list on your refrigerator so when morning comes you don’t have to think about it, you know what you will eat to start your day out right.

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