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Eat a Hearty Breakfast

Egg Muffin Sandwich Americans love to eat! Well, at least they do for lunch, dinner and snacks! Breakfast, however, can be a different story. Whatever happened to that age-old advice to "start the day with a hearty breakfast?" These days, many of us either don't eat at all or we grab 'n' go: a bagel, donut or a muffin and wash it all down with a hit of caffeine. If we have the time, we may swing by the local fast food joint for a breakfast "whatever." Is this what our bodies really need to get us going in the morning? Breakfast is really just that: breaking - the - fast. When you wake up, you've been without food for 10-12 hours so you need to power up your body to meet the day. Tempted to skip breakfast? Don't! You'll miss out on important nutrients that your body needs to keep you healthy and maintain steady energy and blood sugar. That means you may be setting yourself up for a crash by mid-morning and even late afternoon. And without breakfast, you may be depending on caffeine to fuel your body, which just doesn't do it! You'll be running off adrenaline - not the sustained nutrition of a balanced breakfast - and that puts stress on your body. Want one more good reason? Studies have shown that if you skip breakfast, you may be more likely to make up those missed calories by over-eating later in the day. Not very desirable, right? Okay, so assuming that I've convinced you that breakfast is important, why not grab a pastry or pancakes? Several reasons:
  • Eating sweets and refined carbohydrates in the morning can quickly raise and subsequently drop your blood sugar, making you crave more sweets later in the day.
  • When you eat sugary foods, you're not getting the proteins, fiber and nutrients you need to fuel your body efficiently.
  • Since our bodies are particularly sensitive to sugars, they should be minimized at breakfast unless buffered by sufficient amounts of protein, fiber and fat.
About now you may be wondering what you should be eating for breakfast. Healthy meals in general need to be balanced with proteins, good carbs and healthy fats - and breakfast is no exception. Here are some ideas for delicious breakfasts, from out-the-door quick to weekend fare, that deliver all the good stuff you need to get going in the morning.
  • Go for high fiber, low sugar cereal with chopped nuts, dried fruits and your favorite milk - try coconut or almond for a twist.
  • Breakfast Blast
  • Blend up a fresh fruit smoothie with yogurt or kefir. Great with a side of whole grain toast and natural peanut butter. Or give this Whey Protein Breakfast Blast a try.
  • Cook up some whole grain oatmeal or other whole grain hot cereal and serve with nuts (I love walnuts) and fruit (try raisins or sliced banana).
  • Spread natural nut butters on a variety of whole grain breads, crackers or bagels.
  • Toast some whole grain waffles and top with nut butter and fresh fruit. Turkey or tempeh bacon is a great side.
  • Breakfast Pita
  • Try eggs and veggies in this Better Breakfast Pita Pocket.
  • Dress up your favorite yogurt or cottage cheese with almonds and chopped apple, blueberries or dried apricots. Add a whole grain English muffin with cream cheese, if you like.
  • Scramble up some tofu or eggs with breakfast-style veggies, fresh fruit and whole grain crackers.
  • Prepare a homemade version of the famous egg and Canadian bacon sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin.
  • Make a vegan wrap of tempeh "bacon," tofu scrambled "eggs" and sliced avocado rolled in a whole wheat flour tortilla.
  • Make "cheese toast" by melting cheddar on sprouted wheat bread and serve with an apple or a pear.
Got a favorite tip or some healthy motivation for eating breakfast? Let me hear about it!

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GourmetOnADiet says …

I love a whole-wheat English muffin toasted with tomato, melted cheese and a few slices of fresh avocado. You're covering all your bases with the whole grains, protein, veggies and healthy fats, and it's super delicious all melty and gooey. Can't beat it!

Evan says …

I love breakfast. it's my favorite meal and I always try to have it be my most substantial. I run first thing in the morning and all I can think about usually is what I'm going to have. Overall, I follow something of a formula and make sure that my breakfast has 1)yogurt for probiotics 2)fruit for nutrients 3) whole grains for overall health and 4) nut butter for sustained energy and healthy fats.

Alisa - Go Dairy Free says …

Smoothies are definitely a favorite breakfast around here, since you can pack so much good stuff in them and they taste like dessert. Just make sure your fruit is nice and ripe so that you don't need added sweetener. Sneak some spinach in too, no one will ever know it is there! We also enjoy poached eggs (only organic, can't stomach conventional; amazing the difference - medium-sized organic are quite affordable) with roasted root vegetables or homemade turkey sausage - http://www.onefrugalfoodie.com/2009/05/14/quick-lean-and-flavor-packed-turkey-breakfast-sausage/ As you noted, I love making hearty homemade waffles and topping them with nut butter and cinnamon, but on the fly, I use Lundberg's unsalted brown rice cakes - even my husband has become addicted to them (with some honey or jam of course)!

gina says …

Great tips!

Jeff says …

Wow! The egg and greens looks great, I'm always trying to stuff more spinach down the hatch!

cooking4carnivores says …

breakfast food is probably my favorite. i like trying to make classically unhealthy things - like an egg and cheese biscuit (say from mcdonald's) - and make it healthier. i have a great vegetarian version here - http://www.cooking4carnivores.com/2009/07/better-than-mcdonalds.html

Health blog says …

hum.. i just like the idea of the pita bread with egg and veggies :)

Jon says …

I am a huge fan of starting my breakfast with a smoothie. Beginning of this year I was doing P90X and afterwards would make a breakfast smoothie consisting of frozen strawberries, a banana, organic yogurt, protein powder, ice, water, and almond milk. Definitely a great way to start your day!

Kristine Socall says …

Any good recipes you'd suggest on making sprouted grain bread? Do you have to dry out the sprouts before grinding them to a flour?

Kari says …

Do you have any good vegan breakfast ideas?