Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Let’s be honest, breakfast can be a challenge.
I’ll be the first to admit, finding a balanced breakfast with good fat, protein and carbohydrates is hard. But, when you learn some tricks and new ideas, it becomes much easier to get a breakfast that’s satiating, healthy and satisfying! I know I’m not the only one that struggles with breakfast; I hear from people all the time that this morning meal is their biggest stumbling block to healthier eating.
When you’re trying to avoid processed carbohydrates, sugar, grains, breakfast is definitely the hardest meal to navigate, because guess what…?! Majority of the breakfast foods out there are full of sugar, grains and processed carbohydrates! If the majority of your breakfast consists of those things, you’re setting your body up for blood sugar swings, cravings and reduced energy later in the day. Breakfast is your body’s first chance to refuel after a nearly 12 hour fast, so providing it with a balanced assortment of macronutrients will set your day up for balanced blood sugar and reduced cravings throughout the rest of the day.
That being said, the most important part of breakfast is making sure you have adequate protein and fat. Carbohydrates are important, but generally speaking, we tend to eat too many carbohydrates and not enough of the other macro nutrients in the morning.
I’m here to offer some ideas for your morning meal, because (I’m sure you’ve heard) it’s the most important meal of the day and really shouldn’t be skipped.
The first and most important tip I can give you when it comes to breakfast is to get rid of the mentality that breakfast has to be sweet tasting. Pancakes, donuts, fruit, sweetened yogurt, cereals, rolls…you get the idea. There is really no biological need for your body to eat a “sweet” meal in the morning. This idea stemmed from a long history of corporate marketing, cultural tendencies, and industry hype. I encourage you to ditch this outlandish idea and eat leftover dinner for breakfast. Now, stay with me. I know this sounds crazy, eating a leftover piece of chicken and roasted veggies first thing in the morning?! I was hesitant at first too, but it’s entirely possible to retrain your brain into wanting (or even craving) these nutrient dense foods to break the fast.
An already traditional favorite breakfast for many people is eggs, and for good reason. Eggs are nature’s perfect food, offering up a whole host of hard to get nutrients, like vitamin D, A and E, choline, DHA and Omega 3. I consider them nature’s multi-vitamin! Eggs also contain 6 grams of protein per egg, 5 grams of fat which lends very nicely to a macronutrient balanced breakfast. Eggs can be tricky on the weekdays, so I like to prepare a dozen or so hardboiled eggs at a time and have them at the ready all week long for a quick breakfast.
Another way to easily enjoy eggs is by making a frittata ahead of time and storing it in the refrigerator. Start by mixing a dozen eggs (more or less depending on your preferences) in a mixing bowl, add in sea salt and pepper, garlic powder, or any spices you like. To the mixed eggs add a bag of thawed frozen veggies, fresh veggies, breakfast sausage, bacon crumbles, or anything else you have on hand. Transfer the mixture to a cast iron skillet or greased baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until the eggs are no longer runny and the middle is firm.
One of my favorite untraditional protein sources in the morning is smoked salmon. Look for a smoked salmon that is wild caught, free from sugars and other added ingredients. Trader Joe’s has a great option for cheap and offers a pleasant taste, unlike some other smoked salmon I have tried. Add this to a bowl of white or brown rice with some butter, cilantro, sea salt, and a fried egg on top. Or top a slice of gluten free toast with salmon, cream cheese and olive oil for a healthy balanced breakfast as well.
Instead of opting for a bowl of oatmeal that can be very heavy in carbohydrates first thing in the morning, try a mix of ground nuts, coconut flour, hemp hearts, chia seeds and almond/coconut milk to create a paleo version of oatmeal. Here are some great ideas and recipes for “N’Oatmeal”. It really has the same texture and warmth of a bowl of oatmeal. With these paleo friendly ingredients, you’ll get a nice mixture of fats, protein and carbohydrates and won’t feel loaded down in your stomach after eating, like you might with regular oats. Top with a generous pat of butter, cinnamon and fresh berries and you’ve got a hearty breakfast.
Smoothies are another great option if you’re short on time, want a portable breakfast and still aren’t quite ready to eat steak and vegetables for breakfast. Be sure to get some protein in there. I have been adding Vital Proteins Collagen to my smoothies to get some added protein, gut and skin healing benefits as well. I highly recommend it! Full fat coconut milk is a great source of healthy, easily digestible fat as well as avocados and nut butters. Experiment and don’t be afraid to try different smoothie combinations, there’s no wrong way to make a smoothie! Check out my blog post on how to build a healthy smoothie here!
I hope this gives you some ideas to put together a satiating and healthy breakfast. Let me know if you have a favorite breakfast or what you biggest challenge is when it comes to eating a healthy first meal. I’d love to hear from you!