Is Breakfast Really Important?

Is Breakfast Really Important?

I like to think of food, especially breakfast as FUEL. If I am a high-performance vehicle (a guy can pretend), I need to put high-quality fuel into my engine so I can run more efficient. If I put poor fuel into my system I will probably not run as smoothly, won’t utilize the fuel as efficiently, and probably have build up in my system. Good fuel for our body is the food that gives us positive energy, sustained energy instead of the blood sugar highs and lows, and makes our bodies feel nourished. Signs of poor fuel in our system are gas, bloating, inflammation, fatigue, hyperactivity, occasionally skin conditions, or other physical symptoms. 

The hard part for most people when it comes to nutrition is knowing what to eat. The food industry has made this difficult since it is highly marketed, and they understand what “buzz words” to place on their products. Here is one of my favorite lines when it comes to thinking about food. “If your grandma’s grandma wouldn’t recognize it as food, it is probably not food.” Shopping the perimeter of a store is where you will usually find foods that are in their whole form and less likely to be processed. If you start with a whole food and add it to other whole foods, it is easy to know what ingredients are in your food.

Keep it simple

Another good tip when it comes to nutrition is to plan your meals in advance. We typically make worse choices when we don’t plan ahead and then just grab something quick. Quick meals typically equal less healthy meals. 

Let’s keep this simple and start with the most important meal of the day…BREAKFAST! I will fully admit that I use to barely eat breakfast, and if I did it was cereal or something quick. Breakfast, or Break-the-fast, is a great time to put some good fuel back into our system after it has spent the night resting, repairing, and recovering from the day before. To recover it uses a lot of protein to rebuild broken down tissue. 

Replenish The Body

Breakfast is a great time to replenish the body with protein, healthy fats, and typically less carbs. Most people eat carbs for breakfast (toast, cereal, bagels, fruit, etc) and have no protein or fat. Carbs break down quickly, produce a quick rush of energy (blood sugar spike), and are short lived. This leaves us with uneven energy in the morning, and typically makes us hungry earlier in the day. Protein and fat break down more slowly, are better at balancing our blood sugar, keep our energy more consistent, and keep us full longer into the morning. 

Here’s my typical breakfast in the morning. I know there are protein shakes, but I like to eat my food rather than drink it. I also like a hot breakfast. This takes me about 20 minutes, and I also pack my lunch while I am cooking. Keep in mind that I have 3 little kids that I am cooking this for too every morning and can still be out the door by about 7:00 AM. If you are trying to come up with excuses why this isn’t possible…if I can do it, you can too! If you don’t like that challenge, how about the idea of just feeling better in the mornings because you are more nourished. 

My Breakfast Foods

I am not that creative, so I tend to have similar breakfast food but I just add different things to it to change it up slightly. We usually try to get the foods that have minimal ingredients and are nitrate/nitrite free for meats. I usually make 4-6 eggs (PROTEIN/FAT-feeds 4), and sausage, or bacon (PROTEIN/FAT). The bacon I cook in the microwave on this fun pan we have (no smoke in the house, no grease splatter, it collects the grease under the meat, and it’s done in 5 minutes).

I add different things to the eggs such as goat cheese, ground hamburger, ground sausage, chipotle Tabasco sauce, vegetables etc. I will also cut up some apple slices, bananas, or a small cup of berries. The fruit and carbs are typically only offered after the main meal is gone. Slices of avocado are also good to start the day with due to the healthy fat. Another option would be goat yogurt with berries. Goat milk/yogurt is usually much easier for most people to digest compared to cow milk/yogurt. What are your favorite breakfast foods? Comment below and let’s share with each other our breakfast favorites!. 

Healthy Snacks As We Hibernate For The Winter

Healthy Snacks As We Hibernate For The Winter

We are in winter now. With another couple of snow falls under our belts in 2021-22, and the end of year holidays… There’s no turning back now! The winter can be a difficult time to think healthy. In Minnesota, lots of us want to hunker down for the season. It can be tempting to give in to all the comfort foods, especially around the holidays. That’s why I thought it was important to talk a little bit about healthy snack options.

My big advice for healthy snacks is to keep it simple. There’s no need to go out and spend a ton of money on snacks or ingredients in order to eat healthy. Here are a few simple ideas that are go-to snacks in our house:

Plain nuts are healthy snacks

These are a great option, if you aren’t allergic. Look for these raw nuts, and make sure they aren’t loaded with salt or sweeteners: almonds, cashews, pistachios. Nuts are good fats, and a great source of protein. They are actually better for balancing your sugar levels so you won’t get quite as hungry as quickly after eating them.

healthy snacks

Homemade granola snacks can be healthy snacks

These are simple to make and most people have all the ingredients on hand. Just take oats, peanut butter, and honey (you can add your favorite nut in, too) and roll them in a ball. Then, let them sit in the fridge to set-up. Sometimes I even add a little chocolate! We like to make these in our house – they are easy, delicious, and healthy.

Vegetables are healthy snacks, too

Yes, this is an obvious choice. We like to cut up carrots, but you can really use any vegetable you have available. Hummus is widely available these days and it’s a great addition to your veggie snack. Some veggies pair well with peanut butter, like carrots or celery. You can even make “ants on a log” with celery, peanut butter, and raisins.

As adults we may think some of these snacks are just for kids, but they are actually easy, healthy alternatives to the other junk out there marketed to adults. I’d love to hear your go-to healthy snacks. Comment below!

Read my other blog post on healthy snacks and vegetables.

Eating Healthy Snacks And More Veggies Doesn’t Have To Be Intimidating!

Eating Healthy Snacks And More Veggies Doesn’t Have To Be Intimidating!

I have had patients request wanting to learn more about nutrition.  I’m aware that there are many nutritional options. There are also a lot of many opinions on this topic.  Keep this in mind as I give basic nutritional principles for the average person.  I covered breakfast in our last post. Let’s move along to healthy SNACKS and how to eat more VEGETABLES throughout the day.
   
Our bodies need proteins and fats to balance our blood sugars throughout the day and keep us satiated longer.  Healthy snack choices are a great way to add more protein, fats, and vegetables in your diet between meals.  Some great snacks include a high-quality protein bar, raw nuts, protein shakes, avocado, sliced carrots/celery with almond butter/peanut butter, or just some of your favorite raw vegetables.  

Stay away from a lot of carbohydrate; this will decrease sugar spikes. Snacking throughout the day can help balance blood sugar and maintain energy.  

Vegetables are good for you

Here are a few ways that we get more vegetables into our daily life.  We chop up a lot of carrots, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower so they are ready to eat.  “I’m hungry” is a common phrase at our house.  Our kids are always asking for healthy snacks.  

They are welcome to eat the cut-up vegetables pretty much any time.  Pre-cut vegetables makes it easier to just grab some for a snack, add to a lunch or meals.  

Another simple thing you can buy is riced cauliflower which can easily be added to meals or eaten by itself.  For dinner we have a “green rule” which is that every dinner must have some green vegetable or green leafy food as part of the meal.  Steamed broccoli, green beans, peas, brussel sprouts, and cooked spinach are some examples.  Salads for dinner or lunch are also another way to get more vegetables in your diet.