It’s the meal that gives people the most anxiety. We’ve been told so many contradicting theories about when you should eat breakfast, what you should be eating, and whether you should just skip the first meal of the day altogether.
As a holistic nutritionist, my policy is this: Eat breakfast if you’re hungry and if it makes you feel good
Many of my clients don’t eat breakfast, simply because it makes them feel nauseated for the rest of their morning; usually, they’ll eat something small around 10 a.m. and then a larger lunch a few hours later. Others enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a little coconut oil mixed in for a dose of energy-stabilizing healthy fats, and they’ll feel good til midday. We always work together to experiment and see if eating fewer calories in the morning works for them—meaning it makes clients feel clear-headed, satisfied, happy, and energized—or if it would be better for them to eat a balanced breakfast.
And then there are people like me: Breakfast monsters.
These are my absolute favorite types of clients because I can totally relate. We live for breakfast. It’s the last thing we think about before we fall asleep, and the very first thing we think about when we open our eyes in the morning. And when Saturday brunch rolls around? It’s heaven.
Safe to say that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, hands down. Because when you set yourself up for success right as your day is starting, it’s a lot easier to keep that healthy eating kick going. Unfortunately, a meal of toast, juice, and cereal (even if it’s whole grain!) isn’t going to do much to help with your energy levels. If anything, that carb-heavy breakfast will cause your blood sugar to skyrocket and then crash, resulting in dragging energy levels, messed up hormones, and stubborn excess body fat.
The key to nailing breakfast is getting enough of the right macronutrients on your plate (or in your bowl). Aim to get at least 15 grams of protein and around 8 to 10 grams of healthy fats. Keep your carbohydrate count below 20 grams of carbs if you can.
Here’s the thing: Carbs aren’t bad, especially when paired with fats and protein (which digest more slowly), but for breakfast, it’s best to limit your intake. That’s why these are some of my favorite options for the best meal of the day—they’ve got plenty of healthy fat, nourishing protein, and delicious flavor.
They’re a staple on the brunch menu for a reason: Eggs are loaded with protein (6 grams a piece). And don’t skip the yolks—that’s where the good fats, vitamins, and minerals live. Yolks have 14 essential nutrients like choline, magnesium, vitamin D, and calcium; egg whites have just two. Eggs are simple enough that even a beginner chefs can cook them up, but versatile enough that they don’t get boring. Try throwing in a cup of your favorite leafy greens into the pan for a little more fiber and nutrients, or baking eggs in the oven for a frittata-style brekkie. You can even throw some organic, grass-fed bacon in there if you’re feeling really hungry.
2. Chia pudding
I’m not going to lie to you—I couldn’t really get behind chia pudding as breakfast when I first tried it myself. But I’ve developed a few hacks to make it more filling, and pretty tasty! Chia seeds make for a great breakfast option because they’re an excellent source of vegan protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, these little seeds contain a lot of fiber, so they’ll fill you up and improve your digestion. If you’re in a rush, soak 1/4 cup of chia seeds in 1 cup of nut milk until it gels—about 10 minutes. If you have a little more time, try mixing in 1/2 a cup of raspberries or blackberries, 1/4 cup of shredded coconut flakes, a tablespoon of honey, and letting the mixture gel in the fridge overnight. The next morning you’ll have a bright, flavorful bowl waiting for you!
3. Quinoa porridge
A psudeograin, humble little quinoa is actually a seed. Unlike most grains, quinoa boasts a hefty dose of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are the two macronutrients that will keep you full through lunch. It’s also loaded with antioxidants, and has even proven to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body—all good things if you’re trying to feel good and maintain a healthy weight!
Make quinoa porridge like you would stovetop oats, swapping out oats for quinoa.
4. Avocado toast
Remember how we said before that not all carbs are bad? Avocado toast is proof. Because you’re pairing a simple carbohydrate (bread) with healthy fats and fiber (avocado) you’ll feel satisfied and get your carb fix without messing with your blood sugar levels. Get bonus points by topping it off with a poached egg or add drizzle with tahini for a little more protein.
5. Low-sugar smoothie
Whipping up a smoothie is a quick way to get all the nutrients you need in one fell swoop. Just be sure that you use an organic protein powder, add a tablespoon of coconut oil, MCT oil, or nut butter for healthy fats, and use only about 1/4 cup of fruit. You only need a small amount to get that fruity flavor, and keeping it to 1/4 cup ensures that you won’t overdo it on the fructose sugar. (Sadly, that means most acai and smoothie bowls aren’t the best options) Fill the blender up with leafy greens, avocado, ice, superfood powders, and blitz!