Breakfast…it's the most important meal of the day, right? While that may be true, it can be hard to get cooking as soon as your feet hit the floor. Evaluate your normal morning routine and determine if you may have one of the following ‘first meal diagnoses’ -- and then read about how to solve them.
Ticking Clock Twitch
The thought of cooking first thing in the morning can be daunting -- washing and chopping fruits and veggies, then cleaning up the dishes, all while trying to get ready and get out the door. Don’t worry. A lot of prep work for your first meal could be done the evening before, or even days before, when your schedule is a little less hectic. Try these simple strategies to get ahead of the game:
- Wash and cut fruit and veggies then place them in portion controlled containers or sealed bags for quick, healthy options that can be added to eggs, omelets, smoothies, etc. (with little clean up!).
- Combine the ingredients for your eggs or omelet in a sealable container in the refrigerator to save time in the morning. An egg mixture like this can be kept for about three days in the fridge.
- Simply combine your favorite yogurt with fresh fruit and granola, flax seeds or chia seeds, cover and place in the fridge for convenience when you need it.
- As a general tip, set out the ingredients and equipment you will need ahead of time and arrange everything so it is within easy reach.
Sleeping Stomach Syndrome
Does your stomach seem to take longer to wake up than the rest of you? That can be a big reason why people shy away from a full breakfast meal. No worries -- even a light breakfast can help you start the day right. The important thing is to select foods that will supply protein, complex carbohydrates and a small amount of fat. This helps you avoid 10 a.m. stomach growls. And don’t feel like you have to each food right away, either. Starting to munch within 90 minutes of waking up still counts as breakfast!
Here are some combinations to try:
- Piece of fruit + small yogurt with granola + chia seeds or flaxseeds
- A smoothie with chia seeds and whey protein powder or soaked cashews
- Toast with nut butter and sliced bananas or strawberries
Boring Breakfast Blahs
Breakfast doesn't have to be tied to only traditional foods like cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, eggs and bacon. It can be thought of as simply another meal in your day-- one that just happens to be in the very beginning! Break outside the box to better your nutrition.
- Think outside the (cereal) box: whole wheat bread, English muffins, whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat/grain frozen waffles, pita pockets, can all be a good starting point to make your own breakfast sandwiches or grab-and-go options.
- Don’t let a diagnosis or lifestyle stop you: you can still find quick and easy breakfast options if you are diabetic, gluten intolerant or have heart disease. You need to be aware of the restrictions of your disease and find options that will work for you.
- Diabetics: focus more on protein in your morning meals and be aware of the carbohydrate content that can add up quickly with grains, fruit and dairy.
- Celiac/gluten-free diets: center your breakfast around naturally gluten-free eggs, fruits and veggies or homemade smoothies.
- Heart-healthy options: opt for seasonings other than salt, focus on fiber and choose lower fat dairy and lean proteins.
- Vegetarian or vegan: select a non-dairy milk and pair it with your favorite cereal, or focus on fresh foods paired with other protein sources such as nut butters, leafy greens, beans/legumes or tofu.