Starting your day with a healthy breakfast helps to stabilize you, as you face the day ahead.
A healthy breakfast isn’t just about being low in calories; a well-balanced breakfast should provide protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats in order to give you lasting energy without spiking your blood sugar. When your blood sugar is stable after a balanced and nutritious breakfast, you’ll feel more focused and energized. Plus, your metabolism will receive the boost it needs to effectively burn-off fat and calories throughout your day.
On the contrary, an imbalanced breakfast can leave you jittery, with brain fog, lack of energy, and can wreak havoc on your health, and waistline!
Here are FOUR COMMON "HEALTHY" BREAKFASTS that may be spiking your blood sugar and contributing to an afternoon energy slump, lack of concentration and more, and EASY WAYS TO FIX THEM in order for them to help you reach your health goals.
In theory, yogurt is great – it’s convenient and creamy, it’s got protein and some active probiotic cultures to help your gut. However, most of the commercial yogurts are so processed that they're often left with little to no probiotics. And what’s worse is they have a ton of sugar and/or fake sugar, both of which convert your breakfast into more junk food than health food! A small, 6 oz serving of fruit-flavored yogurt can pack 22-30 grams of sugar… NOT a good way to start your day! Additionally, many people don’t realize that DAIRY may be causing GUT ISSUES, from occasional gasses, constipation (or loose stools), tummy aches, or even skin issues like acne, eczema or rosacea.
Always opt for: PLAIN yogurt (you can jazz it up a bit at home), preferably organic, and full-fat. It’s a good fat that will help keep you full. Skip the added sweeteners and flavorings. Even the vanilla flavored yogurts are often just as sugary as the fruit-flavored versions. Other tips:
- If available, try less-irritating yogurts made with sheep or goat’s milk, or fully lactose-free made with almond or coconut milk. And/or if you're up for it, try making homemade yogurt. You can use non-dairy milk, or organic raw milk if you can find it, add your probiotics, incubate, and voilá.
- Plain yogurt too tart? Add your own fruit, and a tiny bit of raw honey, coconut sugar and/or stevia if needed. Plus, I always suggest adding a sprinkle of flax, chia or hemp seeds, and maybe some chopped nuts or homemade trail mix - for added fiber, healthy fats and protein.
- A different, but equally (or more) healthy, and even more filling breakfast can be a Chia Pudding made with dairy-free milk. Read HERE for recipes.
2) BOWL OF OATMEAL WITH MILK
Whole grains like oats, in small amounts, provide a ton of benefits and are awesome for breakfast. Oats are naturally gluten-free, and studies show that benefits of consuming oats can include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease. However, a bowl of any commercial oatmeal, granola or cereal, comes with a surprising amount of carbs and sugar. So it’s important to read ingredients, and cut back on quantity of carbs/sugar, as well as always include some healthy fats/protein.
Instead of prepackaged flavored oatmeal, BUY: pure whole-grain oats (look for steel-cut oats) and opt for unflavored. You can sweeten at home if needed with some cinnamon, and a tiny bit of raw honey and/or stevia if needed. Other tips:
- Add some flax, chia and/or hemp seeds for added fiber, healthy fats and protein, to make it a more complete meal.
- Swap regular milk for unsweetened non-dairy milk, and heat your oats with ½ water, ½ milk of choice (ex. unsweetened vanilla almond milk). If you really want dairy milk, at least opt for ORGANIC as the regular commercial milk has residue of hormones and antibiotics fed to the cows
- Another healthy option, is making an oatmeal-like-porridge using other gluten-free grains like buckwheat or quinoa instead of oats, and you cook them as you would normally, but instead of adding water and salt, and some nut milk, some cinnamon and maybe a pinch of nutmeg and cardamom, and if needed, a tiny bit of honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar/nectar and/or stevia. Serve with added nuts/seeds and fruit, as you would your oatmeal. Here's a recipe I love.
3) WHOLE GRAIN TOAST WITH HONEY/JAM/JELLY
Again, whole grains can be awesome for your health in small amounts. However, most breads are excessively processed, bring a lot more ingredients that needed, and almost always include sugar. If you then top off your bread with more sugar (be it in jam/jelly/honey), you’re having carbs with double sugar, or essentially, a triple whammy of sugar with too little fiber and no protein/healthy fats to helps stabilize your blood sugar.
Be careful with commercial whole wheat or whole grain breads. If available, choose sprouted grain toast that are less processed and easier to digest. If that’s not available, get high-fiber whole-grain toast straight from the bakery – something with approximately 5 ingredients and always ones that you recognize. And most importantly, don't add more sugar to your toast. Other important tips:
- Instead of jams/honey, add some healthy fats to your toast, like avocado or nut butters (which will help you burn more fat, promise!)
- Add some added fiber (ex. flax or chia) to help keep your blood sugar stable and digestion going.
- Add some spices, ex. cinnamon (if you're adding a sweet fat like almond butter), or cayenne pepper (if adding a savory fat like avocado). And if you're going for salty, a dash of Himalayan sea salt adds a delicious boost (and tons of minerals) as well.
- If you want something with less grains/ less processed, opt for a naturally gluten-free “toast” such as slices of sweet potato. Click HERE for awesome, delicious and nutritious sweet potato toast recipes.
4) FRUIT SMOOTHIE OR BOWL OF FRUIT
Fruits are “nature’s candy”. They’re alkaline and filled with nutrition so I’m a huge fan…but like candy and should be eaten in small amounts. And if you’re having them for breakfast, I always suggest adding some healthy fats and protein to make it a complete meal that will boost your metabolism and help you reach your health goals a lot quicker. Fruit smoothies can be extremely high in sugar, even if it's natural sugar, which can increase your blood sugar, and then lead to a blood sugar crash shortly after. Plus it’s unlikely to keep you full very long.
- Add greens to balance out sugar content and to make it more liver and colon friendly. Or if you can’t tolerate adding fresh greens is to add powdered green superfoods. I personally suggest adding both!
- Add chia, flax seeds and/or hemp seeds - for some added fiber, protein and healthy fats. And Read here for 16 superfood boosts that you can add to your smoothie to make it even more gut- and hormone- healthy.
If you want more ideas of healthy breakfast, check out more tips and 4 awesome balanced breakfasts HERE.
Wishing you a healthier more nutritious morning!