You don’t need to be told again. You’ve been hearing about the importance of breakfast all your life. You must eat a healthy meal when you rise to shine through your day. The food you choose to break your fast powers your body and your brain. With a bit of knowledge, you can tailor your breakfast to align with your health goals.
Breaking the Fast
Your first meal of the day replenishes stores your body has used the night before. Regardless of your activity level, your body goes into repair mode while you sleep. When you train hard, your body works hard fixing all the damage you’ve caused.
Without breakfast, you’re missing out on the vital nutrients your body needs to make it through the day. This can result in permanent tissue and bone damage, especially if you’re extremely active.
If you’re a hard trainer, your goal is probably to shred muscle during your routine, so your body builds them back bigger and better. It is essential to provide all the nutrients your body requires for this intense repair. Your body is not all that suffers either.
When you don’t replenish your body’s vital nutrients your brain and mental health can suffer as well. Lethargy, anxiety, depression, and brain fog are just a few examples. Simply eating something first thing in the morning helps, but you can boost your efforts by opting for fresher ingredients as opposed to processed.
Fortified & Enriched Grains
Most everyone has a go-to cereal for quick no hassle breakfast on the run. While something is generally better than nothing, making wise grain choices can help you achieve your fitness goals much faster. Many types of grains and cereals made from them are labeled with words like enriched and fortified. They are also highly processed with preservatives and additives, so they can sit on warehouse shelves for an indefinite amount of time.
Manufacturers say fortifying and enriching increases the nutrients in their products. The problem is that this process also destroys the naturally occurring nutrients. You should try to choose grains with the least amount of processing and throw in your own flavor. This method is not only more nutritious but often cheaper as well. Flavored, prepackaged cereals also generally contain large amounts of high fructose corn syrup.
There are also many options now that weren’t available just a short time ago. You have a wide variety to choose from which can help you meet a few of your more difficult health goals. Some have fewer carbs, higher levels of protein, and are 100% gluten-free.
Tip: Wheat free doesn’t necessarily mean something is gluten-free. Be a label reader and check out the specific ingredients.
Grab a Grain
A large number of homes have some sort of oatmeal in its kitchen cabinets. This ranges from individual flavored packets to plain instant for Wednesday night meatloaf. You can actually create your own flavored packets if you have the time to invest.
You might also prepare several spice jars with the ones you eat most. You can just sprinkle in what and the amount you like at breakfast. Steel cut oats are said to be the best in this department.
You get 150 calories from a one-half cup serving of steel cut oats. It also offers 5 grams of protein and 27 grams of carbohydrates. Rolled oats are a good second choice over the prepackaged packets. You get about 50 fewer calories, 19 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of protein. Both contain very little fat and offer a bit of healthy fiber to boot.
Note: Oats do not contain the type of gluten that other culprits do. Some celiac patients may still have sensitivities or intolerances.
Granola, nuts, and Greek yogurt are a pretty popular breakfast option. Be careful when you’re picking your granola. The types in the aisle with boxed cereals sometimes contain a few unwanted surprises.
Check the ingredients to see what you’ll be fueling your body with. Those in the whole foods section may be a bit safer. Target brands that use less than 8 grams of sugar in each serving.
Pseudograins have become a popular breakfast item. Some of them are classified as whole grains. There is a large selection of tastes and textures available.
Quinoa is excellent for those looking for a gluten-free program. A 3 ½ ounce serving provides 4.5 grams of protein and about 21 grams of carbs. It also offers 120 calories with just under 2 grams of fat.
Amaranth is another ancient whole grain that is naturally gluten-free. It delivers 4.7 grams of protein and 23 grams of carbohydrates. Amaranth is also under 2 grams of fat at about 126 calories for a half cup serving.
While protein benefits of pseudo grains are classified as complete, you need to boost a few of the nine aminos. You don’t have to do this in the same meal. Consider eating beans with your lunch.
You could also try throwing in your favorite protein powder supplement to spice things up. Nuts add some protein as well as healthy fats and omega 3s. If you’re on the vegan path, try some pea protein isolate. Keep your fitness and building goals in mind during your breakfast prep.
Microwave a ½ cup each of steel cut oats, 1% milk, and water for four minutes. Stir then cook for another two minutes. Add one of your favorites from above. Try blending raw steel oats, a spoon of nut butter, mashed banana, and egg whites for power packed pancakes.
Whatever you choose, ensure you provide the vital nutrients your body requires to replenish your stores. Consider incorporating whole grains into your go-to morning fast-breaking routine.