My Strategy for Eating Breakfast
There’s a common phrase repeated about breakfast that I don’t even have to say because we’ve all heard it a million times. [You’re probably repeating it to yourself right now!] We’ve heard it because it’s true. Most of the energy (calories) used by our body is used for bodily functions; breathing, heart beats, brain function, cellular function, etc., all of which continue at night without any food intake. In the morning, our body needs energy to refuel from the night’s activity and to be ready for the waking hours.
For many people, morning is also one of the busiest times of day making it easy to skip breakfast or make unhealthy choices. If you fall into this category but would like to eat breakfast, you may find the strategies below helpful.
Choose three meals and don’t get too fancy.
Save the splendor for another meal or the weekends. Your breakfast-in-a-hurry needs to be simple. Three different well-balanced breakfast meals should be all you ever need. To be well balanced, choose foods from at least 2 food groups; three is better. If you count calories, breakfast should be around 1/3 of your calories for the day. “But won’t I get bored?” you ask. Probably not. It’s likely that you already have a limited breakfast rotation. However, if you are drastically changing the kinds of foods you eat for breakfast (e.g. from donuts to oatmeal), it will take a while to adjust to the new flavors.
Be honest with yourself.
I recently suggested smoothies as a breakfast option to a client and he told me, “I just won’t do it. I know myself and I just won’t get out the blender.” Kudos to him for saying that! Know yourself and the context of your mornings (how much time you have, what foods you like, where you are most likely to eat, etc.,) and create a breakfast plan that fits into the context of your life and morning, not the other way around.
Make it a no-brainer.
Once you decide what 3 meals you will choose from, make it so easy that it is 100% achievable to eat breakfast every day. Always have all the ingredients, tools, containers, and equipment on hand for all three of your breakfast meals. If your meals need some preparation, schedule prep time when you know it will happen. If you need to pre-portion cereals or cut up fruits, have containers and snack bags. Your morning breakfast routine should have minimal steps.
I hope you’ve already thought of some ideas that will work for you. Below are some specific examples that may or may not work for you, but hopefully they should offer a good starting point!
Instant oatmeal with blueberries and yogurt. Take a packet of plain instant oatmeal, add water, ½ cup of frozen blueberries, and sweetener (optional) and microwave in a container for which you have a lid. Cover the oatmeal, grab a spoon, a single serve yogurt from the refrigerator, and a napkin, put into a lunch bag and head out the door. It’s ready to eat when you get to work, or take a few extra minutes to eat at home.
Smoothie. Add ½ cup of Greek yogurt, ½ c milk or milk substitute, ½ cup berries and blend. Eat with a bag of pre-portioned dry cereal or granola bar. Smoothie combinations are endless. Adjust the milk or add ice for a different texture, try adding spinach, kale, protein powder, peanut butter, etc. Pour into an insulated, lidded cup with a straw and eat on-the-go.
Grab bags. Create grab bags once a week that contain any of the following: 1) Apple, cheese stick(s), almonds. 2) Single serve yogurt, granola bar, piece of fruit. 3) Dry cereal, single serve milk, fruit.