Healthy Breakfast Every Day

Life is all about having a life and body that you love. Not trying to shrink a body that you hate. So 2016 is going to be all about my motto Eat. Drink. and Shrink. Starting with breakfast!

Instead of thinking of breakfast as an obligation, consider it an opportunity! One that sets you up for healthy success the rest of the day. Studies show that people who eat breakfast are more focused and alert and better able to maintain a healthy weight (that could be because those who don't eat something in the morning tend to overcompensate, calorie-wise, later in the day). I would suggest that you aim for a balanced plate, one the contains protein and heart healthy fats, fresh fruits and/or vegetables, and whole grains whenever possible.  

So to help you kick off 2016 right, I am here to introduce you to the newest trend to hit the streets this year, the breakfast salad!  I love breakfast salads because they are light, fresh, and balanced, preventing that all-too-familiar carb/sugar overload. 

Make Breakfast a Salad! 

A well-composed breakfast salad can deliver 20% of your daily protein, 2 to 3 servings of fruits or veggies, a serving of whole grains, and as much as 10 grams of fiber —- all before 10 am.

How to Build a Breakfast Salad

  1. Avoid flavors that are overly strong.  For instance, raw garlic doesn't suit most folks first thing in the morning. 
  2. Include healthy fat and protein for satiety. Protein can come from an egg, a little cheese, left-over bacon, nuts, canned beans, or whole grains. 
    Unsaturated fats (olive and nut oils, avocado, or nuts) are ideal for keeping you satisfied longer. 
  3. Keep it simple. This is breakfast, after all. On week-days you don't have time to fuss with a whole lot of prep. 
  4. Pay attention to texture. Try to include something crispy-crunchy, silky-creamy, juicy-fresh, and/or meaty-chewy. Texture can be key for the perfect breakfast salad! 
  5. Vary the base. Don't let yourself get stuck in a rut. Sometimes, go with greens. Other days, try beans whole grains, or veggies. 

Pomegranate-Farro Breakfast Salad
with Honey Ricotta
 

Hands on: 7 min. Total: 7 min. 
To keep it simple buy purchased pomegranate arils from the produce section, or pre-prep a fresh pomegranate the night before. Make a batch of Farro for the week and use with dinner. Then use the left overs from the night before for your breakfast salad. You can also use left over Honey Ricotta for a sweet evening treat, or for your salad for lunch if you choose. 

  • 3 tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey 
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 2 cups fresh spinach or your favorite green (I also love arugula)
  • 1/3 cup cooked whole-grain farro
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate arils 
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped toasted or raw almonds. 

Some of the most frequent questions that come my way have to do with breakfast. Do I really need to eat it? What if I don't eat first thing in the morning? What should I eat? What if I am trying to lost weight, can I skip breakfast to drop calories? Will it really make me smarter (yes, I actually get that question).  

So here are some answers to those burning questions just in case you have ever wondered yourself. 

Q: What if you don’t eat anything until after you’ve been up for a couple of hours or more? Does that count as breakfast?

A. Does eating later in the morning count as breakfast or a snack, especially if it’s something small and not a full on meal? In many studies, researchers typically ask only whether participants ate breakfast, not what they ate or when they ate it. There’s no real standard definition of breakfast. Some people might call that container of yogurt scarfed down at their office a morning snack, while others might call it breakfast. Whatever you want to call it, breakfast or a snack, eating first thing or later in the morning, the potential benefits are similar. Lower risk of type 2 diabetes and potentially less snacking on high carb/high sugar foods later in the day. 

Q. What is the breakfast of champions?

A. Whether grabbing a doughnut is better than no breakfast at all remains to be seen. Some studies suggest that it is better to eat something for breakfast as opposed to skipping and  some studies show that eating a high sugar/high carbohydrate breakfast is detrimental in terms of appetite control and snacking. So what gives? 

My suggestion: A breakfast high in protein -- such as Greek yogurt with blueberries, granola, and nuts, or a breakfast burrito with eggs, lean meat, non-GMO Soy and vegetables -- is a better choice. 

Q. Can eating breakfast make me smarter?

A. It’s probably too late for you, but it might work for your kids.

An observational study of Chinese kindergartners published in 2013 found that those who regularly ate breakfast had higher IQ scores than their peers who didn’t. The difference remained even after accounting for other factors that can influence IQ, such as parents’ education and occupations. A significant amount of data support the meal’s importance for the brain in children and teens.

There may be other benefits as well. A study of more than 4,000 children in the U.K., published Sept. 2 in PLoS Medicine, suggests that children who eat a daily breakfast may have a lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

My thoughts: I would never send my 3 year old to preschool without breakfast! That would be punishment for everyone!! 

What's your favorite go-to healthy breakfast? 

Share with us in the comments below!  Happy eating!