Start the year (and your day) right
Eating breakfast helps keep our insulin levels stable so we burn fat throughout the day instead of store it. Try these palate-pleasing brekkie options.
We usually welcome the New Year with a sizable list of resolutions, including strict new diet rules and lifestyle changes. Mentally, we make that unrealistic list of “no” foods and gird ourselves for a philistine post-holiday trim down, but we really just need to focus on one thing, one meal. And that’s breakfast.
Benefits of breakfast
Eating breakfast every day is one New Year’s resolution that’s guaranteed to help keep you mentally agile throughout the day and improve your overall health. Our eating habits affect our health, so the best foot forward starts at daybreak. Breaking your fast first thing in the morning sends a message to your body; it’s the wake-up call for your metabolism and other body functions to kick in. When you skip breakfast, prolonged fasting occurs, which increases the body’s insulin response to store fat.
Eat more in the morning to keep insulin levels stable, so you burn fat instead of storing it. And think big. Try to incorporate different types of food into breakfast to ensure a balance of nutrients—aim for a mixture of protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. Breakfast is also an opportunity to start whittling down the number of servings of fruits and vegetables as recommended by Health Canada. Fitting in seven to 10 servings takes time, so start early!
Eating breakfast can be crucial for firing up the brain, resulting in better concentration and productivity throughout the day. Plus, it turns out we also make better choices on a full stomach. By fuelling up early, we stay fuller longer and react smarter when hunger strikes again later in the day. It’s easier to reach for junky, sugary quick fixes on an empty stomach.
A full stomach also makes for a happy heart. A recent study of 26,902 men by the American Heart Association showed that skipping breakfast increased the risk of heart attack and coronary disease as well as obesity, high blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Eating well takes effort. To really make the breakfast resolution take root, some planning and prep are required. Most recipes can be prepared on weekends, then portioned and frozen for fast grab-and-go breakfasts on weekdays. Of course, there will be mornings when you just need a reliable quick fix that doesn’t require cooking. See below for a few speedy and healthy ideas.
Eating a balanced breakfast, such as the PB & J Energy Boost Smoothie, can help keep us healthy and fit over time.
One new study found that eating breakfast lowered the risk of heart disease by 27 percent in men, and another study concluded that men and women who ate breakfast every day had a reduced risk of metabolic conditions. The breakfast eaters also gained less weight over the course of 18 years. What a small, simple change to start the New Year off right!
Need a reliable breakfast on the fly? Try these.
Keep pouches of instant oatmeal or a box of grainy cereal at the office—something to which you can just add water or milk. To increase fibre, top with a handful of raspberries; 1 cup (250 mL) of raspberries delivers 8 g of fibre.
Always keep a few hard-boiled eggs in the fridge. Eggs are rich in protein that contain the highest biological value and are also a nonmeat source of vitamin B12. Plus, when eaten in conjunction with a healthy diet, they aid in weight loss. In a study in the International Journal of Obesity, participants on reduced-calorie diets ate either two eggs or a bagel for breakfast. Although both meals contained the same number of calories, those who ate eggs lost 65 percent more weight after eight weeks.
Greek yogurt has almost double the amount of protein found in regular yogurt. A 6 oz (170 g) container packs about 18 g of low-fat protein. Mix in some almonds or walnuts and a fibre-rich fruit, such as raspberries, sliced pears, or dried figs.