What pops into mind when we say “breakfast”?
Honestly though, we know a lot of people who don’t even eat breakfast. There are some that can actually go all the way until dinner without eating, just by using coffee as fuel (we couldn’t imagine). Alternatively, there are some people who ‘eat’ breakfast: on-the-go, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, cereals, sugar laced parfaits, sugar laced granola, white toast…And then there are those who love a good dirty fry up- you know, bacon, potatoes, eggs, ketchup, sausage…etc.
When you conjure up the image of breakfast, if one of the first two options as stated above is the picture in your head then we have some bad news: these may be to blame for your sluggish metabolism, energy and constant food cravings. And guess what, the third option, you know that greasy, sloppy mess of a breakfast- yeah that is probably the best option out of the 3 (we’re not saying it’s healthy, so don’t go running for the meat aisle quite yet, we’re just saying it may be a better option)-let us tell you why.
Breakfast is meant to nourish you, to start your day, get your metabolism up to speed, get your gut functioning properly, break the fast, and provide satiety so you can go another couple of hours without food and not feel extremely hungry by the time lunch rolls around.
The healthiest breakfast.
Let’s go back to that image of breakfast, now consider a healthy breakfast; there might be fruit, veggies, eggs, sprouted bread, sauerkraut, oats, beans etc. It’s definitely a vegetarian dish (sorry for you bacon lovers), and it is something that is loaded with nutrients and is going to keep you full.
Having a breakfast that is high in protein, complex carbs, healthy fats (whole food form) and fiber is the best way there is to get you started right. This usually means cutting the sugar (most breakfast cereals are high in sugar- even if the advertising promises otherwise), cutting the simple carbs such as white flour and cutting the ‘no breakfast’ method.
Remember that good old fashioned fry up- guess what it is usually high in: protein. That’s why eggs are an amazing go-to for breakfast. They are high in protein, which helps balance blood sugars and creates a feeling of fullness. An example of an incredibly balanced breakfast looks something like: eggs with sautéed vegetables and a slice of sprouted whole grain toast as opposed to a dirty fry up.
Large meals and snack attacks
For a lot of people skipping breakfast can end up equating to loading your entire daily caloric intake into one big meal, and this is very hard on your digestive system as it tries to process everything all at once. Basically, food can sit in the stomach for a long period of time, nutrients might not be properly assimilated, and not to mention you’re most likely to overdo it because you’re starving. On the contrary, eating a breakfast high in simple sugars in the morning will cause a spike in blood sugars, followed by a dip, which usually results in a need for something high in simple sugars again, a couple of hours later. Snack attacks in the afternoon and evening can affect your energy levels, mood and digestion, and just like skipping breakfast, wreak havoc on your metabolism.
More meals for weight loss?
We often recommend adding more meals to the diet in order to lose weight and heal metabolism. The idea of 5-6 meals a day for a lot of people is a weird notion. Eating more to lose weight? Well yes and no.
For some, just 3 main meals may be enough and that is great. But, for many of us or anyone active/exercising 5-6 mini meals, or small meals/ snacks throughout the day containing whole foods, plenty of nutrient dense foods, healthy proteins, slow release carbs and healthy fats will help control the dreaded sugar or salt cravings. If you wake up and choose a healthy high protein breakfast to start your day, have a healthy mini snack before lunch, a small lunch etc. the chances of you making healthier choices, reaching for better meals and low sugar snacks are greater. This means your blood sugar won’t go all haywire and you won’t end up starving during your main meals, resulting in less food eaten. This also keeps your metabolism running smoothly. Pair your mini meals with plenty of water and fiber and your day is set up for healthy choices.
The Naughty Nutritionists 10 easy mini meal ideas to help fix a sluggish metabolism:
1) Chia pudding
Mix 1 cup almond milk with ¼ cup chia seeds in an air tight container- shake well and let it sit either overnight or for a couple of hours. Add cinnamon, fruit, nut butters, cacao powder, dates, etc.
2) Whole grain toast (Sprouted, Ezekiel, Sourdough etc.)
with natural nut butter, banana and cinnamon.
Justin’s nut butters have some amazing options, from cashew, to sunflower, organic peanuts to almond, they also come in single packets, making them an amazing grab-and-go option.
3) High protein smoothie
Blend 1 cup dairy free milk with 1 cup fruit of choice, a handful of greens, 1 frozen banana, 1-2 Tbsp nut butters, 1 Tbsp hemp seeds, 1 tsp chia seeds, ½ avocado, 2-3 dates, cinnamon.
4) Scrambled veggie eggs
Paired with a slice of whole grain, sprouted toast is a quick and simple breakfast. Sautee onion, tomato, spinach and some garlic, then pour 2 eggs over the veggies and mix until thoroughly cooked. Don’t be afraid to butter your toast, just remember to use pasture raised butter as opposed to conventional.
With whole grain crackers and chopped veggies, this also makes a wonderful, high protein lunch. We love sliced red peppers, carrots and cucumber.
6) Vegetable soups
Or, want to cook your own? Check out this recipe for a light and delicious Winter Squash & Vegetable Soup.
7) Sweet potato
Bake one small sweet potato at 425F, for approximately 25-30 minutes. Pair with black beans, salsa and guacamole.
8) Brown rice cakes
Can be topped with anything you might top a sandwich with. We like to add hummus, nutritional yeast and cucumbers to ours, but get creative- some rice cake toppers could include: roasted red peppers, tzatziki, arugula, goat cheese, caramelized onion, sauerkraut, scrambled eggs etc. The world is really your oyster with this one.
9) Full fat greek yogurt
Topped with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey. Not only is this a high protein snack or breakfast, but it can also combat your sweet tooth, so replace your afternoon muffin for a small bowl of this (1/2 to 1 cup of yogurt is all you need), and you will be completely satisfied.
A handful of nuts and seeds is a great way to get rid of hunger pangs. Try to steer clear from prepackaged ‘seasoned’ trailmix, as artificial flavours and a lot of sugar and salt is usually added. Try raw nuts in bulk and add dark chocolate chips, or unsweetened dried fruit. Alternatively you could toss your nuts in tamari sauce and roast them yourself for more flavour punch.
Don’t want the hassle? Prana Organic make amazing trailmixes that are free of artificial flavours. Fuji Premium Salty Trail Mix, Organic Almond-Goji-Cranberry Trail Mix or Kilimanjaro Organic Deluxe Chocolate Trail Mix – just take your pick!