Perhaps you can relate...working out at the gym has been quite the challenge as of late. Granted it’s a community center, limited in the number of machines/equipment it has, but my gawd…I never had to fight for them before! The Hungryman reassures me that the madness shall pass soon. And I know he’s right.
As we embark on a new year, many of us, I'm sure, have made resolutions/goals to take better care of ourselves. Perhaps you've decided to eat healthier, which is a very broad goal. So what does this look like to YOU?
What I've seen firsthand, as well as through others, is that completely changing your diet without addressing your habits will only lead to failure. And we all know habits don't change overnight. Thus, I am a big proponent of taking baby steps and letting go of the all-or-nothing mentality. It could be as simple as making sure you incorporate an extra serving or two of fruits and vegetables, cooking more at home, switching to whole grains, etc.
Or here’s a suggestion - how about making it a habit to eat breakfast every morning if you’re not doing so already?
The message out there is clear – breakfast is an important, if not, THE most important meal of the day. To be quite honest, I was a breakfast skipper all my life. And if I did happen to eat something, it was a bowl of sugary cereal (Apple Jacks, anyone?). During my teenage years, I boycotted it in an effort to “save” calories for the later meals. And after a while, my body seemed to adapt, and I just had no appetite in the mornings. Fast forward to now and skipping bfast is no longer an option. I've changed my former habit and eating a hearty breakfast is a part of my lifestyle.
There are many evidence-based healthful benefits to breakfast consumption, and as someone who’s made the transition, I can confidently attest to them. Eating breakfast not only fuels you both physically and mentally, but it sets the tone for the day by preventing you from overindulging later on and helping you make smart food choices throughout the day.
Here are some practical tips and changes you can make. Remember, small changes = sustainability
- Aim to include at least 3 food groups. By doing so, you can improve the intake of several nutrients that are of concern in a typical American diet, such as calcium, potassium, folate, fiber, iron, and vitamin B12.
Build your breakfast around fiber-rich grains, fruits/vegetables, nonfat or low-fat dairy, and lean proteins. While I don’t like to count calories, I stick to serving sizes and pay attention to sodium and saturated fat content.
Egg (lean protein) and avocado (healthy fat) toast (whole grain) with shredded cheese; cara cara orange
But if you are curious as to how many calories you should consume, the answer is... It really depends on individual needs based on activity level, weight, gender, eating frequency, etc. In general, the current recommendation is to aim for 15-25% of your total daily energy. For example: If your daily energy requirement is 2000 kcal, then aim for 300-500 kcal.
- You can’t “save” calories. Rather, focus on dispersing them throughout the day.
This helps maintain appetite and energy balance, thus helping with weight management. Eating at least 3 meals a day helps keep your appetite in check with increased satiety and a smaller chance of eating/binging later in the day.
- Ask yourself what the barriers are to eating breakfast and strive to address them. A current survey revealed that 93% of American adults recognize/consider breakfast as the most important meal of the day, but only about 44% actually eat it on a daily basis. The most common barriers include time, absence of hunger, and fear of weight gain.
- Prep the night before – overnight oats, slow cooker oatmeal, egg muffins/frittata, hardboiled eggs, fruit parfaits...
A delicious collection of recipes found on the Healthy Aperture Blog!
Mediterranean feta & quinoa egg muffins // the Spicy RD
Sausage and vegetable egg bake // the lean green bean
Spinach, mushroom, gruyere strata // the foodie physician
Bacon & egg breakfast muffins // Teaspoon of Spice
Mini Frittatas // Healthy Aperture Blog by Meme Inge
Vegetable breakfast scramble // Healthy Aperture Blog by Love & Zest
- Quick ideas for the morning: Don't make things too complicated as there are plenty of quick and easy options - smoothies, yogurt with granola and fruit, pb and jelly sandwich, whole grain cereal with low fat milk, etc. In regards to cereal, with so many varieties out there, it can be a bit tricky. Look for one with at least 5 grams of fiber and less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Look for the words "whole grain."
My bfasts this past week (found on Instagram #mjsbfastchallenge)
- Not hungry in the morning? Keep nutrient-dense foods on hand so that when the hunger pangs set in, you're not reaching for unhealthy options that are all too easily available. Smart choices include...
I can’t believe it’s a green smoothie // Meal Makeover Moms
Pumpkin pie smoothie // Fannetastic Food
Mint raspberry smoothie // Nourish RDs
Banana Almond Green Smoothie // Marisa Moore Nutrition
Kumquat mango smoothie // Snixy Kitchen
Almond butter protein smoothie // The Roasted Root
Pear, avocado, and honey smoothie // Healthy Seasonal Recipes
The greenest smoothie // the muffin myth
Baked oatmeal squares with cherries // Teaspoon of Spice
Grab & go granola bars // Meal Makeover Moms
Harvest pumpkin granola bars // MJ and Hungryman
Sweet potato granola bars // Teffy’s Perks
Healthy Chewy Apple Cinnamon Granola Bars // Lovely Little Kitchen
Almond butter banana breakfast bars // Fannetastic Food
Chocolate coconut snack bars // Healthy nibbles and bits
PB & J oatmeal crumble bars // The Nutritious Kitchen
Cornbread muffins with ambrosia apples // MJ and Hungryman
Banana pudding bfast parfaits // immaeatthat
Fruit and yogurt parfait // EatGood4Life
Pumpkin Chia Pudding Parfait // The Nutrition Adventure
I have to admit, although I eat bfast every morning, I tend to gravitate towards the same things – oatmeal or PB & J toast. To expand my horizons, I will be posting my breakfast everyday on Instagram for the month of January not only to keep my goal in check, but also to inspire you to never skip breakfast. Hope you'll join me and feel free to tag #mjsbfastchallenge so we can keep each other motivated and accountable ;).
For more breakfast inspirations, check out my Pinterest board.