We’ve all heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is that saying just another well-worn phrase or bit of conventional wisdom?
Where did the idea of breakfast being the superior meal come from? In the late 1800’s James Jackson and John Kellogg pushed the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day in order to sell their new breakfast cereal. Since then, breakfast has become big business.
Michael Gregor, M.D. says “Breakfast is big business, powerful corporate interests such as the breakfast cereal lobby are blamed for perpetuated myths about the importance of breakfast.”
There have been lots of research studies on breakfast, many of them focused on the effects of breakfast with regard to weight loss or gain. Most randomized experiments have shown limited evidence in weight loss between those participants who eat breakfast versus those who skip it. However, other studies do show calories consumed earlier in the day may be better for weight loss than the same number of calories consumed in the evening.
So, what are we supposed to do then, eat it, or skip it? When making wise health choices, we need to listen to our own bodies and perhaps question some of the conventional thinking.
Since no two people are the same, we are all having our own experiences with hunger and food in the morning. Some people are not hungry till noon, while others wake up ravenous. Listening to our bodies and responding accordingly seems to be the most intuitive thing to do. So that being said here are a few tips.
Eat real food. Remember, if you eat crap you are going to feel like crap. Stay away from sugary, processed, high glycemic index foods. They will leave you feeling hungry and sluggish.
Start the day with nutrient-dense food. Breakfast is a great time to have a few servings of fruits. Most people don't get enough fruit because they mistakenly avoid it due to concerns over "carbs". But fruits such as berries are loaded with phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. Greens can be incorporated in a smoothy.
Eat more Fiber. We need breakfast to keep us going for several hours and the best way to regulate blood sugar and feel full is by eating fiber-rich foods. Fiber helps control appetite and keeps you full longer. One study showed that eating an extra 14 grams of fiber per day can decrease your calorie intake by as much as 10%.
Add Omega-3s. Breakfast is a great time to include omega-3 into a meal. Flax meal, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts can easily be included in a breakfast bowl, smoothie, or cereal.
Be prepared. If you aren’t hungry before you leave the house in the morning, bring something with you to eat when you are. When you aren’t prepared it is likely you will make bad choices when your stomach rumbles.
One of our favorites is a breakfast bowl that incorporates all of the recommendations above.
It starts with both granola and rolled oats!
Why both granola and oats? The granola has some oats in it after all. But granola is pretty high in calories due to the added sugars from things like honey or agave. So we split the difference and use some granola and some oats, which are super high in fiber.
Then we add banana! Our first serving of fruit for the day. Bananas are great because of their potassium, which increases nitric-oxide release and improves arterial function. Potassium also helps offset the negative effects of sodium!
Next we add our omega-3s! Here comes help seed, flax seed, chia seed, and finally crushed walnuts. All to help keep your brain humming along like it's supposed to!
You may be thinking that all of that ground-up flax is going to make breakfast taste like sawdust, but trust us, it doesn't. In fact, by the time you splash the plant-based milk of your choice on this breakfast, you won't even notice the ground flax and other seeds.
Next comes the berries! We load our bowl with a mixture of frozen berries (nothing fancy here). Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries thawed quickly under running water. Cold berries on this bowl seem better somehow, so we aren't shy about how many we use!
Next, we drench it all in our amazing homemade almond milk. You can use the plant-based milk of your choice of course — oat milk is a great option as well!
Finally, give it a stir to mix in the flax, hemp, and chia seeds and let the milk turn purple from the berries — it's awesome! Enjoy!