I always say that your mother was right, at least about this one. Nothing gets your day off to a great start like a healthy breakfast. Skipping breakfast sets you up for a rollercoaster of a day with your blood sugars all over the place trying to keep you nourished and balanced.
According to WedMD: “Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can actually make weight control more difficult. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal, or nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger.
Some studies suggest that people tend to add more body fat when they eat fewer, larger meals than when they eat the same number of calories in smaller, more frequent meals. Other studies show that weight management can be equally effective without breakfast .”
I’m going with the breakfast part. Although, in my opinion, you can never really skip breakfast. Huh? Well, breakfast is your first meal of the day, correct? So if you eat when you get up, it’s breakfast. If you eat lunch as your first food, it’s breakfast. See where this is going?
While you sleep, your brilliant body is working to rebalance all your systems, including blood chemistry and metabolism so that when you rise, your body is refreshed. It’s time to stabilize our blood sugar for the day to run smoothly (or as smoothly as anyone’s day can run…).
In my world, what you eat determines how you will navigate your life. A breakfast of simple, refined carbohydrates will set you up for glucose peaks and crashes that will have you all over the map in terms of your stamina and balance. A breakfast of heavy animal protein will cause you to feel heavy and lethargic, needing buckets of caffeine just to make it to lunch.
So what’s an ideal breakfast? We need to begin our days with foods that are deeply nourishing and easy on the digestion; foods that are delicious, comforting and ease you into your day with grace. All week, we will post breakfast ideas designed to get your days off and running but without you feeling like you can’t keep pace.
I should warn you now…a lot of my breakfast ideas will feel foreign to you…like soup, grain porridge and steamed veggies as your first food of the day. I can tell you this. Having grown up eating what we would call a typical American breakfast for most of my youth; I would choose my ‘weird’ breakfasts every day and twice on Sunday.
So here’s your challenge. I’d like to see you all try out my breakfast ideas of whole grain porridge and veggies every morning for a week. You’ll see a difference. You’ll have more energy, feel happier and calmer. The chaos that has become the signature of many of our mornings will smooth out and you will begin your day in a good mood. Wouldn’t that be nice?
In the end, I think adults need to eat breakfast each day to perform their best, but our kids need it even more. Their growing bodies and developing brains need regular refueling often…from real food. When kids skip breakfast, they don't get what they need to be at their best.
Here are a few ideas to begin your breakfast makeover. But don’t worry; I’m not going to go all Oliver Twist on you with gruel each and every day. I’ll include some easy (and fun) ideas for breakfast that take just minutes and are completely healthy!
One final thought. I know many of you rely on smoothies to get out the door each morning. As much as they are not my cup of tea, I get that they are a convenient way to get nutrient-dense foods in your tummy. Just be sure to use the best quality you can and don’t make them too sweet or they will have a similar effect on your blood sugar levels as a pastry.
Simple and elegant, this warm broth kickstarts your way smoothly, unlike your morning Joe that jolts you into gear. The miso is filled with friendly bacteria and enzymes to strengthen digestion and the ingredients in the soup are anti-inflammatory. Vary the veggies as you desire and by the season.
Oh…and this soup takes 10 minutes to make.
Makes 2 servings
1-inch piece wakame sea vegetable, minced (optional)
5-6 thin half-moon slices yellow onion
5-6 thin oblong slices daikon
½ cup shredded green cabbage
2 cups spring or filtered water
2 teaspoons barley miso
1 green onion, finely cut, for garnish
Place wakame (if using) and onion in a soup pot with the water and simmer 1 minute. Add balance of vegetables, cover and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 8-9 minutes. Remove a small amount of not broth and dissolve miso. Return broth and miso to soup and simmer (do not boil) for 1 minute. Serve garnished with green onion.
Soft Grain Porridge
This versatile recipe can be made with any whole grain or any leftover cooked whole grain. You can cook it simply as in this recipe, add diced veggies, tofu cubes or frozen organic corn to create variety. You can even make it sweet on occasion for something different. You can cook it on the stovetop or in your slow cooker over night to save time in your morning rush.
Makes 3 servings
2 ½ cups spring or filtered water
Pinch sea salt
Place all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, add salt; cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until all liquid has been absorbed, about 35-40 minutes.
If using a slow cooker, simply bring to a boil and cook over low heat over night.
You’ll need a Belgian Waffle iron for these, but that investment will yield a whole grain breakfast in minutes that everyone will love.
Mochi is made from sweet brown rice (also known as sticky rice) that has been cooked, pounded and dried into cakes. You can find it at most natural food stores.
To make mochi waffles, you simply lay thin strips of mochi to cover the entire surface of a pre-heated waffle iron. Close the top of the iron. It will not close completely but don’t force it. It will gradually close as the mochi ‘melts’. In about 3-5 minutes, the mochi will stop steaming and you can open the iron to reveal perfect waffles. Kids love them because they appear like magic and are…well…waffles.
Serve them with fruit and brown rice syrup or for a savory breakfast with stewed veggies and steamed greens.