As I write this, I am thinking about how hard it is to stay healthy when life is always changing. Between keeping up with twin toddlers, running a full business, mentoring other women and girls, and simply trying to keep my house running, it is becoming more and more clear to me how important it is to live by a schedule and a set of standards that help be keep my health in focus. Our family loves breakfast. We go big for the first meal of the day. In fact, my kids can eat nearly as much as a full grown adult between the two of them. It’s awesome.
According to the Huffington Post, 31 million Americans don’t eat breakfast. That’s roughly 10 percent, which actually seems like a pretty low estimate compared to the majority of people when they first come to Restoration Fitness. Eating breakfast is a gold standard recommendation for all of our clients because of the multiple benefits it has beyond simply starting your day off on the right foot.
What you put in your mouth at the beginning of the day can make or break your energy, focus, hormones, and cravings for the entire day. There’s a few simple ways to make sure you are getting the best type and timing of food for this pillar meal.
- Your first meal of the day is literally breaking a mini-fast from the hours you didn’t eat while sleeping. This first meal is the best time (other than after your workout) to make the most of carbohydrate consumption. Consuming a large portion of your calories and carbohydrates, even if they are mostly in the form of vegetables or fruit, is ideal during this time because your metabolism and glucose tolerance are at their highest during at this first meal.
- Eating a full breakfast will help you stay satisfied throughout the day. The more full you feel and the more stable you can make your blood sugar as you start the day the less you will be reaching for caffeine and sugary foods to boost your energy.
- Consuming the majority of your calories at the beginning of the day allows you to spend the remaining part of the day burning off your biggest meal during your waking and active hours. Getting your biggest meal out of the way also means less dishes for later!
- Eating breakfast optimizes hormone balance by keeping your insulin levels lower at the next meal of the day. Recent studies have actually showed that eating 35 grams of protein or more can alter hunger hormones by reducing Ghrelin (a hunger stimulating hormone) and elevating PYY (a satiety-stimulating hormone) so that cravings and increased munching is reduced through the evening meal.
- Ideally breakfast should be eaten within 90 minutes of waking. Great options include eggs, fruit, legumes, veggies like spinach, pumpkin, artichoke, or yams, and oats. If you have a hard time fitting in a full breakfast, a great choice is a yummy protein smoothie.