You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Personally, I believe any time we eat is important, but there's something special about fueling your body first thing in the morning that sets the tone for the rest of the day. Eating breakfast can help to balance your blood sugar and energy levels, stabilize your moods, and get your metabolism going. On the flip side, skipping breakfast often leads to over eating later in the day. And if you drink coffee, it's especially important not to do so on an empty stomach.
If you really want to start the day right, drink a glass of room temperature or warm water with a squeeze of lemon first thing when you wake up. This will help get the digestive system going and hydrate the body.
I know that trying to make a quick, healthy meal in the morning and still get out the door on time can be tricky. So I've put together my top 5 quick and healthy breakfasts for you. These are not meant to be "On-the-go" meals, as I encourage you to eat mindfully, sitting and enjoying rather than taking rushed bites in your car at red lights. Instead, treat yourself to a few extra minutes in the morning to nourish yourself before the busy day takes over. Try it for a week and see how you feel!
1. Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds are little power houses of nutrition. They provide essential fatty acids, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. The best part is you can make this anytime, stick it in the fridge for up to 5 days, and save a ton of time in the morning.
Recipe: In a small jar mix together 1 cup almond, hemp or coconut milk, 1/8 tsp. vanilla, and 1 tsp. grated orange or lemon zest. Mix in 3 tbsp. chia seeds. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or over night. When you're ready to eat, stir the pudding and top with:
Fruit: apples, berries, peaches or banana
Nuts and seeds: walnuts, almonds, ground flax seeds, raw pumpkin seeds or your favorite nut butter.
Add extra flavor with cinnamon or a tsp. of honey.
2. Homemade Granola
Confession: I used to eat a lot of boxed cereal. It was my go-to breakfast, as well as late night snack. But I was able to break the habit of eating processed, sugar filled, nutrient poor cereal (sorry, even the "healthy" kind isn't really healthy) by making my own granola. It proves to be a much healthier and more filling option. Serve with almond or hemp milk, or over whole fat plain yogurt with some seasonal fruit. This granola is what convinced my (running-out-the-door- for-work-without-any-food) husband to finally start eating breakfast!
Recipe: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten free if you like), 1.5 cups raw nuts and seeds, (I usually use a combo of cashews, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp seeds), 1 tbsp. ground flax seeds, 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. sea salt. In a small pot, melt together 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey. Don't boil, just melt - honey will lose much of its health promoting properties under heat. Pour liquids into bowl and mix well to coat dry ingredients. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick mat and pour granola onto pan. Bake for about 20-24 minutes, stirring gently halfway through. Once its cooled completely, you can add dried fruit if desired. Store in an air-tight jar for up to two weeks.
3. Sweet Potato Toast
Yep, you read that right. Swap your regular bread with a slice of toasted sweet potato. Regardless of a gluten sensitivity, most of us over consume wheat and our bodies could use a little break. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, vitamin C and antioxidant super-heroes, beta-carotenes.
Recipe: Slice sweet potato lengthwise to make desired slices, about ¼ inch thick. You can peel if desired, but there are nutrients in the skin. Put into toaster about 10 minutes. Check to see if cooked all the way through, toasting again if needed. Treat it as you would regular toast and add your favorite toppings, such as smashed avocado, almond butter or jam.
4. Green Smoothie
What health blog wouldn’t be complete without a smoothie recipe? All joking aside, smoothies are a fantastic way to ensure you’re getting a really nutrient dense start to the day. There's millions of variations here, so don't be afraid to experiment. Throw in your favorite fresh or frozen fruit, some boosters like flax or hemp seeds, spirulina or chlorella, some greens like spinach or kale, and maybe some healthy fats and protein like almond butter, plain yogurt or coconut, and you’re good to go.
Recipe: Blend together 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1 cup berries, 1/2 banana, 1 handful of spinach leaves, 1 tbsp. ground flax seeds, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tbsp. raw cashews, 1 cup preferred nut milk and 1/2 cup coconut water (more or less liquid to desired thickness). Of course, if you have a protein or green powder you love, toss it in too.
5. Scrambled Eggs
This is a no-brainer, right? Whole eggs (with the yolk) provide not only protein and fat to help you feel full, but are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for your brain and fight inflammation. Eggs are also high in B vitamins and selenium, a mineral that many people are deficient in. Selenium plays an important role in fighting oxidation and promoting detoxification. BUT – not all eggs are created equal. Make sure you’re eating pasture-raised eggs to get the greatest health benefits. These come from chickens that are allowed to graze on grass, eat bugs and live in the sunshine - ensuring they get the proper nutrients that will then be passed down to the eggs, and into you! Try getting your eggs at the local farmer's market, or Vital Farms sells Certified Humane, pasture - raised eggs in many large grocery stores. Add in some veggies and herbs, and you've got a wonderfully balanced start to your day.
Recipe: Heat pan and add 1 tsp. olive oil to coat pan. In a small bowl, stir together two eggs. Add 1 clove of chopped garlic to bowl of eggs, along with a small pinch of sea salt and dash of black pepper. Pour egg mixture into pan, letting eggs sit just for a moment, then continue to move eggs around so they don't stick. Toward the end of cooking, mix in 1 cup of chopped spinach and stir to let it soften a bit. After a few minutes once your eggs are desired consistency, serve with a medium chopped tomato, half an avocado, and cilantro on top.
Pro Tip: Chop up the tomatoes, cilantro, spinach and garlic the night before and store in the fridge so they’re ready to go and you save time in the morning! Add in any extras you like as well, such as mushrooms or bell peppers to really up the nutrient content!
* If you’re vegan or just don’t like eggs, make the scramble with crumbled tofu instead.
I hope this inspires you to start your days off with healthy, nourishing breakfasts. Contact me with any questions or for more ideas on how to stay energized throughout your day and feel your best! Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think!