With an abundance of great nutritional information available right at our finger tips, a large number of us know what we should be eating. We know what we need to do in order to feel good, be healthier and adjust our body composition to what we personally desire. Knowing all of this information and where to find it, why do we still struggle so much to do it?
This is a loaded question so I’ll try to keep it simple because this is exactly the problem. There’s so much information that it’s overwhelming and impersonal. Not only that, our relationship with the food’s we enjoy is emotional. The thought of potentially removing the joy that comes along with the food we enjoy is out right discouraging and is detrimental to our ability to start making changes.
When a client comes to me and asks: Where do I start?
My answer: Let’s start with Breakfast!
Forget all the other times of the day you eat for just right now and focus on breakfast.
What does breakfast look like for you?
I have found it’s one of the meals that a majority of us find the easiest to adjust. Look at what you currently have each morning and make a small adjustment or change to it and let that sink in before moving on to the grander scheme of things. I often say, “I don’t like to rock your world when it comes to food.” I don’t like to take what you enjoy eating and throw it out the window, instead I like to take what you enjoy and turn it into something more beneficial.
Here are some suggestions to help you figure out how to adjust your breakfast. I will provide an example and possible tweaks to make it a healthier option for you.
- CEREAL: If you enjoy starting your day with cereal because it’s easy and tasty, I totally get it!
Now it’s a matter of what cereal are you choosing? If it’s a cereal that is more of a sugary snack (i.e. Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops etc.) then we just want to make that a more nutrient dense choice.
Choose a cereal that is more nutrient dense such as: Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets, Post Great Grains Cereal: Crunchy Pecan, Kashi Go Original, KIND Almond Butter Whole Grain Clusters, Nature’s Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch. You can check out some other great options here: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-products/g4111/best-healthy-cereal/?slide=11
Something very important when eating any packaged food is to watch the serving size. Most vary and let’s face it, some of us don’t bother to check. Look at the label and quickly measuring out the recommended serving before enjoying. You can also add some berries for a little something extra!
- Yogurt: This can be a great choice to start your day! Watch out for a grumbly stomach after eating this in the morning as you may be sensitive to dairy if this happens to you.
Look for a high protein low sugar yogurt when in the store. Greek yogurt is always my first recommendation. It’s super high in protein and there are so many varieties nowadays. Watch out for the tons of added sugars they put in flavoured versions. Many brands cover up the rich and bitter flavour with an abundance of sugars. Instead add your own fruit and if you must, your own sweetener (you’ll likely add less than the manufacturer would.) Make it even better by mixing Greek yogurt in a blender with fruit, almond milk and spinach… BOOM! Smoothie!
It’s also exciting to see that the new trend with Greek yogurt brands is to not to add any sugar. You can find these already prepped yogurts at your grocery store: Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt and Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla Greek Nonfat Yogurt, Zero Artificial Sweeteners.
Find a Greek yogurt guide here: https://www.eatthis.com/greek-yogurt/
- Toast Or Bagel: Another quick easy start to your day!
With both options, grain is key! Choose the most whole grain option you can. Your body can make much more use out of whole grains. They are nutrient dense, high in fiber and generally contain more protein.
Watch your toppings! If you are using butter or margarine, sticking to the recommended serving size is again your best choice. Those extras can add not only add flavour but a whole lot of extra calories that you may feel you could go without and still feel satisfied. With cream cheese I give almost the same advice, watch the serving and in this case choose fat free.
My favorite bread and bagel choice is Country Harvest. They have lots of options and are loaded with nutrients. As usual watch the serving size.
- Bacon and Eggs: This is for the morning person who has some time on their hands.
Have your eggs however you like: whites only, whole egg, poached, boiled, scrambled, fried or over easy. I recommend watching the amount of oil or butter you use to cook your eggs with but otherwise have at it. A good serving size is 2 eggs.
Bacon I think of as a treat simply because it’s so time consuming to prepare and an appropriate serving size for most is small. Most bacon contains nitrates which are known to be cancer causing. You want to make sure to have regular packaged pork bacon as more of an every now and then choice rather than a staple. I’m about to do the nutrition person thing and say… Turkey bacon. It is a semi healthier option and to be honest it’s less of a giant mess to cook. You can often have more pieces of it within the serving size so you may feel it’s more satisfying. If you’re hell bent on some processed pork, I would say a slice of ham might be better. It’s lower in fat and has more protein to offer.
I Hate Eating In The Morning, What Should I Have? But breakfast is the most important meal of the day!!! NO, it’s not necessarily so! This was slogan that was originally said by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg in order to sell more cereal.
If you are not hungry in the morning or feel ill when you eat too early, then guess what? You don’t absolutely need to have breakfast! I am one of these people. I used to force breakfast into myself every morning only to have the most upset stomach and I would be ruined until almost lunch.
For me, waiting until I am actually hungry to eat has been a great thing for my digestive system and my energy in the morning. Holding off on breakfast is not for everyone but it can work for those who just don’t feel hungry at all or are prone to upset stomach first thing in the morning.
If this is you, make sure to plan for a healthy lunch or morning snack so you don’t go overboard later in the day and don’t miss out on essential nutrients.
(if I have not included your breakfast choice below and you would like some advice, post it in the comments. I chose fairly standard choices because this post had to end somewhere.)
- Candice Bone –