The philosophy of 52 Weeks of Health is to first introduce good health habits into our routine that, as they begin to take hold, will help to naturally push aside our bad habits. The steps of weeks one and two, adding leafy greens, water, and plenty of sleep to our daily lives, were designed to increase our energy and health level. The step for Week Three serves to do the same thing.
Start every morning with a healthy breakfast. Your body has been fasting all night and during a fast your metabolism slows down. Eating breakfast signals your body that it is time to rev up its BMR (basal metabolic rate). When you skip breakfast your body keeps its BMR low in order to conserve energy. There are clinical studies that demonstrate breakfast skippers tend to gain more weight than those who eat breakfast and also exhibit a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Other studies (here for example) have shown the despite skipping breakfast calories, those who delay eating usually consume more calories later on in the day than people who eat breakfast.
Make your breakfast a healthy one. The best breakfast menu is one that will fuel you up and keep you satisfied all morning. The standard American breakfast of refined grain cereals and breads usually results in a sugar crash and hunger pangs a couple of hours later. Instead make sure you get some good quality protein, some vegetables or fruit, a little healthy fat, and only a small portion of whole-grained bread or cereal (if any at all). Whole foods are always better than processed foods and breakfast is a great time to get a head start on your consumption of leafy green vegetables and other healthy vegetables and fruits.
Your breakfast does not have to be large to be effective. Experiment to find out what menu will sustain you for the morning. Craving carbs halfway through the morning usually means you are eating too many carbs for breakfast. A bowl of ready to eat cereal will usually not sustain you for the morning.
- Crustless Quiche with Spinach and Broccoli (make it ahead and have breakfast ready to reheat each morning)
- Omelet with cheese and vegetables (prep the vegetables ahead of time and divide into individual packets ready to add to your omelet)
- Greek yogurt with fresh fruit (use plain Greek yogurt which is higher in protein than regular yogurt; add as little sugar as possible – I rarely add sugar) If one brand of greek yogurt seems too tangy for you don’t give up, keep trying until you find one you like as they are all different.
- Homemade oatmeal. (Not the instant, flavored stuff that is full of either sugar or artificial sweeteners. Make your own ahead of time in the crockpot and fill it full of fruit, nuts, and milk) Oat meal doesn’t sustain me – but for some people it works.
What quick but healthy breakfasts have you found? Share them in a comment below!