Have you ever found yourself asking this question, scratching your head, or staring blankly into the fridge each morning?
We get this question from many of our clients when they start to make lifestyle changes with us.
Breakfast can be one of the biggest struggles when changing your lifestyle. The standardized American breakfast is full of refined carbs & sugar and if you’ve been eating this for breakfast your entire life, it can be difficult to change – but that’s why we’re here!
Once you get the breakfast equation down, you’ll start your day off right and improve your chances of staying on track for the rest of the day.
When we think of breakfast, we make sure it hits the 3 following things:
- Quick (10 min or less)
- Delicious / satisfying
- Controls blood sugar
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had time to create a gourmet breakfast (think: drool worthy brunch at your favorite spot)? But the reality of your life is that you’re often rushing out the door and just grabbing something as a last minute thought or hitting the staff break room for a doughnut (or 3).
That’s why we stress the importance of focusing on quick breakfasts for not only our clients, but ourselves.
Your ideal breakfast should take less than 10 minutes to prepare from start to finish to ensure a speedy exit from the house in the morning.
1. Make a Game plan
Know what you’re going to have for breakfast each morning at least the night before, if not on a weekly rotating schedule (e.g. Monday = eggs, Tuesday = smoothie, Wednesday = bone broth, etc.).
2. Take shortcuts
Prep anything you can the night before.
- Prepare morning veggies by cutting them with your dinner veggies and storing them in the fridge.
- Set out or place together the ingredients you need to use before you go to bed (e.g. Place the protein powder & blender on the counter together).
- Pre-portion a serving of leftovers for breakfast so you can just grab and heat (if needed).
Delicious / satisfying
Just because you’re eating healthier doesn’t mean food doesn’t have to taste good. In fact, if you make things delicious then you’re more likely to continue the new changes.
Try out this exercise to replace the standard American breakfast with scrumptious healthy ones without sacrificing anything.
Step 1: Ask yourself: What’s your ideal quick breakfast right now? (It doesn’t have to be “healthy”–just think of the thing you would make yourself over and over right now if you could).
Got it in mind? Good. Now here comes the fun part.
Step 2: Describe the food as if you’re telling someone from a different planet (write this down – it’s important for the next step — don’t be tempted to skip it)
Step 3: What keywords are jumping out at you? Crunchy? Savory? Sweet? Silky smooth? Refreshing? Circle those words.
Step 4: Brainstorm how you can recreate this within the parameters of your lifestyle. (This doesn’t mean substituting a “paleo pancake” for a regular pancake – see why below).
- Sweet: Toss a handful of berries into your smoothie (they have a lower glycemic index)
- Savory: Bone broth w/some sauteed veggies or an egg & veggie stir fry
- Creamy: Add a few nuts or avocado to a smoothie to make it luxuriously rich.
- Crunchy: Paleo granola over a smoothie bowl (create your smoothie as usual but put less liquid in it – pour in a bowl and top with a little granola).
Control Blood Sugar
What do these all have in common?
- Fluffy pancakes oozing syrup
- French toast liberally sprinkled with powdered sugar
- An overflowing bowl of your favorite crunchy cereal
- Starbucks caramel frappuccino
- oversized, crumbly muffin
- Typical American breakfast
- All max out (and most dramatically go over) the amount of sugar you should consume in a day
- They take you on the blood-sugar roller coaster
After sleeping and not eating anything for typically 8-12 hours you don’t want to break the fast (where breakfast gets its name) with sugar. Your body needs consistent energy for your brain to be firing on all cylinders.
If you break the fast with one of the above examples (or something similar) you may find that your tummy starts grumbling and your energy plunges soon after eating.
It’s your body’s response to sugar that follows a spike-then-crash pattern aka: Blood Sugar Roller Coaster.
Your pancreas releases insulin to regulate incoming energy (food) and to turn it into a form of fuel that your body can use.
Different foods require different amounts of insulin and break down times to process it into fuel. Sugary foods, or food that quickly convert to sugar (think carbs such as bread, pastries, cereal, etc), quickly hit the system and require a big spike of insulin. It’s quickly processed and then your body says, “What’s next? Feed me more.”
If you do this day after day, your body gets tired and it struggles to process all the sugar. It can’t handle being on a roller coaster every day; it wants to be on a flat boring road with gentle sloping hills that gives you consistent energy.
Healthy fats and proteins on the other hand aren’t processed as quickly and the pancreas slowly releases insulin to convert the food to energy. This means the energy uptake for your body is more consistent and spread out; not in huge bursts.
To achieve this steady flow of energy to start your day off right, a good equation to remember when building your breakfast is:
Protein + Good Fat + Veggie
- Scrambled eggs + leftover dinner veggies
- Smoothie with Collagen Protein, spinach, berries
- Bone broth with sauteed veggies
- 1/2 Avocado w/leftover meat from dinner
- Dinner Leftovers
- Grass-fed meat patty with suteed spinach drizzled with olive oil
We know changes can be difficult to make. below are three steps to make it a sustainable change for you.
1. Change your definition of breakfast foods
This is perhaps the biggest piece of advice. At first it may seem strange not to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast.
But by broadening your definition of what constitutes as breakfast — it will open a whole new realm of possibilities. Savory leftovers for breakfast may seem weird, but in time you may start craving the oven roasted chicken and sweet potatoes you had the night before.
How we perceive things can either make or break a habit change.
2. Have a set of 2-3 go-to breakfast combinations
Even if you don’t want to eat the same thing everyday, it’s good to have 2-3 go-to breakfast combos you enjoy but can easily change the ingredients slightly to make it a completely different meal.
- Eggs + veggies+ spices
- Use leftover veggies, frozen veggies, or other veggies you have laying around
- Change things up with different spices!
- Bone broth + sauteed veggies
- Use leftover veggies, frozen veggies or other veggies you have laying around
- Add different spices to change up the flavor
- Dinner leftovers
- Smoothie + berries + greens
- Change up the different greens (spinach, kale, etc)
- Use different types of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc)
3. Try new foods for breakfast instead of making paleo substitutes for traditional high carb breakfasts
Simply substituting Paleo versions of pancakes, muffins, etc isn’t the best choice as they are often still full of sugar and don’t have much nutritional value.
These substitutions are great as occasional treats, but shouldn’t be consumed daily.
Share with us on Facebook your favorite go-to breakfast made up of the Good Fat + Protein + Veggie equation!