The Breakfast of Champions–And It’s Not Wheaties!

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Eating a protein dense, high fiber breakfast is essential for having sustained energy and a balanced mood throughout the day. Research even shows people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.  Have you heard the expression “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”?  I absolutely agree with this. Some patients tell me they don’t have time to eat breakfast but if you knew that taking 15 minutes to eat a healthy breakfast could significantly improve how you felt for the next 12 hours and prevent future health problems for years to come wouldn’t you try it?

Here are 10 ideas to get you started on your way to a breakfast fit for champions and kings– so you never have to eat frozen waffles and processed cereal again!

1)      Eggs. Hardboiled, poached or scrambled with greens, vegetables, garlic, and onions—the options are limitless. If you don’t have chickens in your backyard the next best thing is to purchase organic free range eggs. You may notice these eggs have bright yellow yolks. Do not be alarmed! This color indicates the eggs contain actual nutrients called carotenoids, unlike eggs from factory farms which have yolks that are dull yellow. Eggs have gotten bad press in the past due to their cholesterol content but the research is now showing the cholesterol in food is not likely the problem. Based on this new information most people can enjoy eggs without worry as eggs are loaded with protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.

2)      Dinner leftovers. We have this idea that we can only eat breakfast foods at breakfast but that’s a custom that doesn’t really serve us well. Having your leftover chicken and vegetables for breakfast is an excellent way to start the day.

3)      Organic Plain Greek yogurt (full fat). Add 2 tbsp. of ground flax seed, berries or other fruit. You can add oats or muesli too. There is so much potential to make yogurt more interesting than just yogurt. Throw in some sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds or protein powder for fun.

4)      Quinoa or buckwheat groats. These can be cooked like oatmeal and topped with your favorite milk and fruit. You can cook quinoa with coconut milk for a sweeter, richer flavor.

5)      Chicken-Apple Sausage. This is an excellent source of protein. (For a detailed recipe just search on-line but here’s the general idea.) Dice up some onion and cook in a pan with grape seed oil (or oil of your choice) for a couple minutes. Add diced apples and cook a couple more minutes—until they soften. Remove from pan and mix with ground chicken, salt, pepper, a little brown sugar, and dried sage (or spices of your choice). Make into patties and cook until patties are cooked through and browned on each side.

6)      Good old’ fashioned oat meal.  (Ideally certified gluten free which you can purchase at Trader Joes or get the brand Bob’s Red Mill.  If it doesn’t say certified gluten free it likely has gluten in it. ) Top it off with almond, coconut, rice or hemp milk and berries and you have a breakfast high in fiber and antioxidants. You can also stir in nut butter for added protein.

7)      Polenta. Polenta is cornmeal porridge popular in many cultures. Prepare 1 cup of coarse polenta to 4 cups water. Cook for about 30 minutes. Add milk, fruits, yogurt, and sliced almonds.

8)      Beans, Rice, and Eggs. In Costa Rica this meal is called “Gallo Pinto”–which translates to spotted rooster– and is eaten almost every day for breakfast. (I believe the name comes from the spotted appearance of cooking the rice and beans together.) The combination of fiber and protein will help balance blood sugar and give lasting energy. Fancy it up with sautéed onions and garlic, salt, pepper, and ground cumin, coriander, and ginger.

9)      Sliced apple with sunflower seed butter. This is my daughter’s favorite breakfast. It’s high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. You can use whatever type of nut or seed butter you have. Cashew, pecan, and almond butters are great. Peanut butter is my least favorite due to food allergies, risk of mold during storage, and lesser nutritive value.

10)   Protein Smoothie. Put everything but the kitchen sink in your smoothie.  The goal is to increase the amount of protein and fiber in the smoothie with nuts, seeds, protein powder and high fiber fruits/vegetables so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar causing your energy to crash an hour later. Start with a milk or water base. Coconut milk, almond milk, hemp, and rice milk work well. Add some combination of the following: flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, mango, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, protein powder, spinach, romaine lettuce, and banana. If you have a high powered blender you can add a combination of carrots, apples, beets, kale, chard or whatever you have in your vegetable drawer.

January 13, 2014

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