Building a Better Breakfast

You've always heard breakfast was the most important meal of the day, and the research definitely supports it.  The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survery (NHANES) found that when compared to those who don't eat breakfast, those who did were less likely to be overweight or obese or have elevated blood pressure.  Other studies found that participants that ate breakfast were better able to control their appetites and had a greater intake of iron and folate, important micronutrients for cell function.

 Some people totally hate breakfast, and I get that.  Some people wake up feeling nauseous, or they wake up early to go workout and eating anything sounds like the worst idea in the world.  I get that.  I really do.  I wake up and the only thing I want for about an hour is a huge glass of water and some coffee.  Once, I've had my coffee, we can start talking about food.

I've also heard complaints that breakfast is boring.  They're tired of cereals, they're sick of oatmeal and they can't stand the thought of having another smoothie.  This one I also understand, although I find I go through cycles of breakfasts.  Like for a year I was obsessed with oatmeal with almond milk over fruit and then I got sick of that and started having scrambled eggs with spinach every morning for a year.  I'm in a phase now, and have been for about 3 years, where I have a smoothie every morning for breakfast, and I find this one is the most variable and the least likely that I'll get sick of.  You can put anything in a smoothie and sometimes you find out that it was a great idea, and other times (like combining maca powder and sunflower sprouts) you realize it's a terrible idea.

Here are a couple of ideas I put together for good breakfast options that you can change up every day by adding different fruits, nuts and greens:

Chia Breakfast Bowl

        Image from www.breakfastcriminals.com

        Image from www.breakfastcriminals.com

Chia seeds can hold up to 10 times their weight in water, and when soaked in fluid, they form a gel-like consistency similar to a pudding.  The flavor isn't overpowering, so you can feel free to make this a sweet or savory pudding depending on the mood you're in.

To prepare a chia breakfast bowl, you will need 1 cup almond milk (or any milk or milk alternative), 3 tablespoons of chia seeds, and any desired toppings such as berries, walnuts or dried fruits.  Mix the chia seeds and milk together in a glass jar, cover and let sit for 15 minutes or until it forms a gel-like consistency.  Stir in the toppings and enjoy!  

Time Saving Tip: You can let the chia seeds soak overnight and add the toppings in while you're getting ready in the morning to save time.

Breakfast Smoothies

Image from www.popsugar.com

Image from www.popsugar.com

This one is sort of self-explanatory.  All you need is a blender and some fruit, greens and some milk alternative.  Lately, I've been really into a mix of banana, papaya, spinach, frozen mango, pumpkin seeds and kefir.  I also really like adding in avocados for an unexpected creaminess.  The important thing with smoothies is to experiment until you find a texture and a flavor that you enjoy!

Overnight Oats

Image from hip2save.com

Image from hip2save.com

This is a great summer breakfast because its a chilled alternative to warm oatmeal. To prepare, measure 1/2 cup of rolled oats into a jar with a lid, and pour 1 cup of milk or a milk alternative over the oats.  Allow this to sit overnight.  In the morning, stir in fresh fruits (berries are a great option), nuts or seeds and take it with you out the door!  The fiber from the oats will help you stay fill longer and the fats in the nuts and milk will help you feel satiated, making it less likely you'll overeat later in the day.