You have probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if you are trying to lose weight, this is completely true.
Failing to eat breakfast means your blood sugar is low from the start of the day and it sets you up to crave sweets or sugary foods later in the day. The result is you filling up on the cookies at the office at 10 am and then falling off track with your healthy eating for the rest of the day.
Fix this by following these 5 tips to create a better breakfast:
1) Include some protein – You’ve probably all heard of the importance of including protein as it fills you up and keeps you satisfied for longer. But there’s a second good reason to add it into your diet: it doesn’t have the same dramatic effect on the blood sugar, as carbohydrates, potentially preventing it from causing a blood sugar spike (see below). Furthermore, protein at every meal helps ensure you are getting an adequate amount in your diet, an essential component to prevent fatigue, help in muscle building and suppress your appetite so you eat less and are more easily able to lose weight.
2) Don’t spike your blood sugar – Carbohydrates are the most common and traditional breakfast food, including everything from toast to cereal to porridge to breakfast bars. But consuming carbohydrates for breakfast can actually lead us to crave carbs all day long, as it starts our day off by spiking our blood sugar: we haven’t eaten for several hours, so our blood sugar is low and then we consume carbs, which immediately sends it up. While we want to increase our blood sugar, it’s a better idea to do it via products that won’t spike it as drastically – like whole grains and protein – and just increase it slowly.
3) Observe the natural fasting period – Your body goes through a natural fasting period, from when you have finished dinner to when you eat breakfast. This is the time that your digestive system gets a break and when your body diverts energy from digestion and elimination to other necessary tasks. It’s important for healthy, complete digestion, aids in ensuring proper body detoxification, and is also a great boost to your weight loss success, as it is a recommended period of 12 hours without eating. If you are currently eating dinner late, having a bedtime snack or having breakfast early, pay attention to how long it is between when you eat and aim for 12-13 hours.
4) Avoid coffee first thing – If you stumble out of bed and head straight to the coffee pot in the morning, you are not alone. But the consumption of coffee first thing, does exactly the opposite of what you are after. Instead of gently waking your system, it abruptly wakes it up with a stimulus, and an acidic liquid. This can set the day off to an uneven start, creating cravings later. Furthermore, coffee suppresses hunger, thereby making you less likely to eat a protein rich breakfast, which helps set you up for a healthy day. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good cup of coffee (and drink one 5-6 times a week), but typically, I’ll opt for it after my lemon water!
5) Have a morning routine – Establish a routine that you repeat every morning. If you are following number 3 on extended fasting, this morning routine will likely end with your breakfast. Just like you are likely more productive when you walk into work prepared and knowing what is happening that day, your body is the same – it knows what to expect when and performs better because of it. Morning routines also help you become grounded mentally, entering your day with a good state of mind, which increases your confidence, makes you feel good about yourself and promotes increased productivity. Try it yourself, and you may be surprised the difference it will make!