Leaving home without eating is perhaps the biggest mistake one can do, something that can affect your waist line due to overeating later on (read about the science behind this claim here). The only case when leaving home without a breakfast is when we go to the gym early – working out in a fasted state helps weight loss . But there’s a difference between breakfast and breakfast, so it’s not the same what foods we cram into our mouths after (ideally) seven hours of sleep. In this article I will try to give you a few hints on what to include into – and what to banish from – your first meal of the day.
The Basic Ingredients
The four main ingredients for any healthy meal are proteins, fiber, carbohydrates and fats. This doesn’t mean, though, that you should start your day with a mix of oats, bacon and sugar – far from it. The goal is to give your body what it needs to provide you with energy for the first half of the day, but keep the balance between these ingredients. Nutritionists say that the perfect breakfast plate has to be divided between protein based foods (one third), starchy carbs (one quarter) and fresh fruits and vegetables (all the rest).
- Protein based foods balance blood sugar levels and regulate the function of our body’s organs and systems.
- Carbohydrates provide us with energy
- Fresh fruits and vegetables contain fiber, vitamins and minerals – I guess I don’t have to explain why these are important
What foods to choose for breakfast?
While many of the foods we love contain all the necessary ingredients to start our day right, some of them do more bad than good.
The best sources for protein
Eggs are the perfect choice for your breakfast’s protein content. Add one or two, hard boiled or poached, to your morning meal. Dairy is also a good choice – think unsweetened yogurt or a small piece of cheese.
The best sources for carbs
Nothing refined, mind you. Forget about white bread or foods high in added sugar. You’ll need foods that will raise your glycaemic index gradually, like whole grain bread, cereals or porridge made from oats – these will also add a good bit of dietary fiber to the mix.
The best source for fats
Fats are not your enemy. Well, some of them are, but they are easy to avoid. You can add a handful of mixed nuts to your cereal, making it not just tastier, but also adding to the protein and fat content of your perfect breakfast. Avocado is also a great choice – it has a high content of good fats, plus a lot of vitamins and minerals.
The best source for vitamins and minerals
In short: fresh fruits and veggies. These are also complex foods, with contents of carbs, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. This can take a lot of forms – fresh green leaves in your sandwich, a handful of mushrooms (which are technically not veggies, but we’ll include them here anyway), or a nice, colorful – and tasty – cup of fruit salad (a banana, a handful of berries and some diced grapefruit work best for me) can boost your day from the start.
Did you say “skip breakfast when working out”?
The only time skipping breakfast is recommended is when you go to the gym in the morning with the goal of losing weight. Most specialists agree that working out in a fasted state makes losing weight more efficient. Your body needs energy to work, and if you don’t provide it with a refill, it will reach out to its fat deposits for it. But the same specialists also say that your workout should be followed by breakfast, replenishing your energy supplies for the rest of the day (I will return to this topic at a later time).
Don’t skip breakfast – instead turn it into a healthy meal that will make your day better.