When starting to make changes to any diet, the biggest stumbling block we see with clients is breakfast time. Often eating the “right” foods at lunch and dinner comes a bit more naturally. Protein and veggies are acceptable at dinner, but they seem a bit out of place at breakfast.
The fact is, nothing would set you up more for a day with even blood sugar levels, energy and brainpower than some protein or veggies at breakfast. Yet, when I tell clients that I had last night’s leftovers with a poached egg for breakfast that morning, they look at me like I’ve grown four heads.
There’s a couple of reasons why I think people resist meat, veggies and things like soup and curry for breakfast. The first is that they just seem so different from the current sugar-filled muesli and breakfast options pedalled to us. The second is that a cooked breakfast appears as though it will take a lot of time.
The first thing I always tell clients is that reframing the way they think about their meals really helps. Try not to think of it as breakfast, lunch and dinner. There really are no rules that say you should eat x at breakfast and y at lunch, but they can’t be interchanged. Think of your meals as meal one, meal two and meal three. Once you take the association of conventional foods away from the particular time of day, you can make an objective choice about what might be the most nutritious choice in that moment.
The next problem is one of convenience and time. Let’s face it. Mornings can be hard. Regardless of whether or not you love your job, have slept a solid 8 hours, snuck in a quick morning walk and have enjoyable things planned for your day, they can still be hard.
Here at Feel Fresh Nutrition we think the reason muesli and sugar-laden cereals have resisted the raft of scientific evidence against them is because they represent palatable convenience. So, how can we implement a few life hacks to help us out at the start of our day?
Finding your solution
When figuring out a meal that will fit into your lifestyle, it can be helpful to identify what you struggle with in the morning. We have a couple of scenarios with solutions to help.
1. You have no time in the mornings.
We could tell you to set your alarm ten minutes earlier to make a smoothie. But that's not always easy because... sleep. Right?!
So the best solution in this scenario is to prepare something the night before.
Chia puddings are a great idea as they require the overnight time for the chia seeds to soak.
The internet is also filled with soaked oats recipes with veggies grated into them. Google Zoats (zucchini oats) for an example. This is another great option if you tolerate oats. Instead of cooking them as per the instructions, combine all the ingredients into a bowl the night before. Simply stir in the morning, adding more liquid if necessary. Heat and eat. Or eat them cold. Up to you.
Another great tip is to prepare all your smoothie ingredients in the blender the night before and chuck it in the fridge. Leave out any ice or liquid. Add these just before blending.
2. You want to eat the same meal as your kids.
I totally get this. As a mother, you want to set a good example for your children while ensuring that they are getting a good start to their day. Even if your child loves eggs, they might not want them everyday at 7am.
One solution is this epic No grain bircher. It's delicious. Every child I’ve come across has demolished it. If you require a bit more protein, eat a boiled egg on the side.
3. You're not hungry as soon as you wake up.
There is no reason you have to eat just because it is conventionally "breakfast time". In fact, numerous studies have shown that an extended overnight fast can help with weight management and insulin sensitivity. One option is to eat your breakfast once you've gotten to work or after you've dropped the kids to kindy/school/daycare. This way you can eat sitting down and you’re not in a rush. Ham and egg muffins or Frittata are great for taking with you and reheating (or eating cold) once you've gotten to work.
Lastly, if you're kitchen at work has a stovetop and a fridge you could consider buying a small amount of veggies and some eggs and storing them at work. This way you don't have to pack anything the night before and can cook up an omelette or fried eggs once you get to work.
Leftovers are also great for breakfast. Who says dinner is only for dinner?
The key thing to remember is there is no right way or time to eat breakfast. Find a solution that works for you and give it a try. Eating breakfast is important, but there is no one way to do it. What we do know is that consuming refined grains or sugar in the form of toast, muesli or breakfast cereal will set you up for an energy crash later in the day.
A Feel Fresh Nutritionist can help you find some breakfast solutions to fit into your lifestyle. Book an appointment with us here.
Thanks, from Team Feel Fresh Nutrition.
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Image: Henrique Felix