Updated: Nov 27, 2019
What we eat first thing in the morning, sets the tone for how energized we’ll feel throughout the day.
I have always been a big believer in breakfast. I guess I should thank my mom for fostering good breakfast habits from an early age, because no matter what sort of time-crunch we were in, my sisters and I did not leave the house without sitting down to eat something. It was nothing fancy, just a bowl of cereal and low-fat milk on a regular day.
Many years later, I realize that this was not necessarily the best choice of food in the morning. Why? Because what we eat at breakfast time sets the tone for how energized we’ll feel throughout the day.
A carbohydrate-rich meal, like cereal and milk, gets processed very quickly in the body causing a sharp spike in blood sugar levels followed by a sharp drop. This leaves us feeling hungry again soon after and craving more carbohydrates for “quick” energy, and thus begins the blood sugar rollercoaster that will carry us through the day.
So let’s rethink the meal we call “breakfast.”
Ideally, it should include fiber, protein and fat. These are the three elements that help the body maintain stable blood sugars and give us a natural, and lasting, energy boost in the morning. Notice that I didn’t specifically mention carbohydrates – our much loved, feel-good-in-the-tummy foods. Well, you can have a little bit of those too, so long as they add a good boost of fiber – think: whole grains, legumes, veggies, and small amounts of fruit.
To put this into perspective, the traditional Israeli breakfast can be a great way to start the day – eat more of the eggs, veggies, tahini, avocado, olives; minimize the bread intake to 1-2 slices of wholegrain toast; and skip the jam and chocolate spread.
Now, let’s think outside of the box about other quick morning meals that fit the bill.
If you’re a breakfast cereal kind of person, you could try:
Full-fat plain yogurt with seasonal fresh fruit, chia seeds, and a generous drizzle of nut butter
Banana-almond pancakes (recipe below)
And if you’re ready to really turn breakfast on its head, try:
A bowl of veggie-lentil soup, sprinkled with sunflower seeds
Sautéed organic tofu and veggies, drizzled with tahini
A refreshing smoothie, made with 2 cups water or nut milk, 2 handfuls of your favorite greens, a small fruit of choice, chia seeds and a dollop of nut butter
Banana-almond pancake recipe
1 medium ripe banana
1 organic egg
1 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp almond flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Coconut oil for frying
Heat a large skillet on low heat, add a couple tsps coconut oil.
In the meantime, mash bananas with a fork, add the rest of the ingredients, and beat everything together.
Use a heaping tablespoon of batter for each pancake. Keeping them small makes it easier to flip them. Cook for a few minutes on each side.