There have been no arguments against the solid advice that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It rings as true today as it did a hundred years ago. Getting the first fueling-up of the day right is absolutely essential to achieve the best state of health and well-being, and to give peak performance through the day, whether it be work, school, or exercise.
Different food provide different benefits, but every breakfast should provide a substantial dose of protein and some healthy fats. Pairing a nutrient-rich carbohydrate with these adds fiber and antioxidants…
but that still leaves a bewildering array of choices to start the day. Happily enough, the best options are simple and accessible to most people, even those with special dietary requirements.
A classic breakfast food, eggs have risen beyond their shady past as a source of cholesterol and have now taken their place as a preferred protein source. Not only are eggs rich in vitamin D and lean protein, they also have a host of B vitamins, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Crowning the nutritional array available is the presence of chromium, which is vital for blood sugar regulation and the prevention of insulin fluctuations. It also contributes to a longer duration sense of fullness, leading to less impulsive food choices in between meals.
Eggs are incredibly versatile as a food and can be prepared in a host of ways- often combining with other marvelous food choices like peppers, onions, or whole wheat toast.
An easy, sweet, and delightful start to any day, berries are as healthful as they are delicious. Loaded with fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, berries pack an enormous nutritional punch for a very small caloric load. While they are a wonderful treat on their own, they also can add natural sweetness to other breakfast foods without resorting to adding excess refined sugars.
As a side note, berries also add a pleasing visual contrast to breakfast, which also contributes to a sense of overall satisfaction. This is an astonishingly broad group of fruits, so while you may think ‘raspberries’ or ‘blueberries’, keep in mind that this category also covers other brilliant treats like kiwi fruit and cantaloupe (even though they are large, they are still berries).
Another classic breakfast staple, oatmeal has been a morning favorite for very good reasons. While technically a carbohydrate, steel cut oatmeal contains a balance of protein and fat that help prevent the sudden hunger attacks that come with insulin spikes.
Naturally low in cholesterol, oatmeal is rich in folate, fiber, and potassium. Avoid processed, instant oatmeal as it is often over-processed and loaded with refined sugar.
4. Plain Greek Yogurt
This tangy, thick yogurt has been a breakfast staple for years now, mainly due to its easy accessibility and its high protein content (roughly double that of regular yogurt).
Another option that is best sweetened with fresh fruit or topped with nuts, Greek yogurt has the unique advantage of providing not just protein and calcium, but also probiotic factors to help with digestion. As a whole, Greek yogurt can rev your metabolism first thing in the morning and help with your sense of satisfaction all day long.
5. Almond Butter
Rich, slightly sweet, and creamy, almond butter is a wonderful addition to any morning, pairing well with whole wheat toast, apples, bananas, or even oatmeal. A viable option for those with peanut allergies and carrying a hefty dose of vegan-safe protein, almond butter can be part of a very satisfying breakfast.
Coffee seems to be the star performer of nutrition lately, assisting with metabolism, fighting cancer, and providing a solid reason to stop working at about 11am every morning. Quips aside, drinking coffee first thing in the morning (light on the cream and sugar) helps start up your metabolism and keeps it running through the day.
In particular, its combination of caffeine and antioxidants have been key in reducing symptoms of systemic inflammation.
Hydration, hydration, hydration. Appropriate water consumption has always been pivotal to any well thought out meal plan, but recent research has shown there is more value in your water than previously thought. In a study at Humboldt University, it was discovered that sipping on about 2 cups of water around breakfast time had an immense effect on metabolism.
Subjects who drank water with their first meal of the day had a 30% increase in their metabolic rate, compared to a control group. This might be the most effective and elegant solution to jack up your metabolism and still feel good all day long.
No matter what foods you choose to start the day with, the most vital thing to keep in mind is that breakfast is essential. Skipping breakfast might save you calories during the day but will make your metabolism run more slowly, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight over time.
Balancing that breakfast with lean protein, a flash of carbohydrate color, and some healthy fat is a delicious way to ensure your body runs at peak performance. All you have to do is make a yummy choice and dig in to the most important meal of the day.
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