Breakfast is one of the topics I have more questions about and that I help my students learn, understand and apply practically to their life…
I get many questions like ;
· Are breakfast cereals a good
choice & which brand is better?
· What to include?
· Are eggs healthy?
· What about orange juice?
· Do I really have to eat breakfast?
If you were my student this is part of what I would be explaining to you:
1.- Why Breakfast Is Your Ally
Breakfast is the boost for your day. It is your start flag. Not only does breakfast give you energy after a whole night on an empty stomach, but it also sets the tone for your metabolism for the rest of the day. If you don’t feed your body after a night of fasting, your metabolism will be low, and your body will try to consume as few calories as possible to avoid using scarce resources.
You may have heard about a “new” trend that intermittent fasting helps weight loss, and therefore skipping breakfast is good. I respect this way of thinking as long as your last meal was before 6 or 7 p.m. (remember, with no carbs at night) to help your weight-loss-management-friendly hormones work properly at night, and you don’t have a brain-demanding activity in the morning.
2.- What you should be eating for breakfast:
· Whole-grain carbohydrates: bread, rice, pasta, oatmeal, quinoa, couscous.
· Protein: egg, cheese, ham, meat, prosciutto, nuts, tofu.
· Low sugar fruit and vegetables: strawberries, blueberries, apples, pears and tomatoes, spinach, cucumber etc.
· Dairy: milk, plain and unsweetened yogurt, kefir, or light cheese.
Look at the picture. That was one of my daily breakfasts during the two week family road trip in a tiny campervan in Australia. If we could prepare that breakfast, you should be able to manage it too having a normal size kitchen and fridge right?
3.- Dissecting the Perfect American Breakfast
Okay, I recognize the great contribution of the “Big American Breakfast” to humanity, and I consider it is quite a balanced breakfast. You simply need to adapt it for our purpose here: weight management and a healthy diet.
So if you are thinking fried eggs with bacon and a bagel and orange juice makes the perfect combination, I am sorry to tell you, it does not. While the general approach is good, the specifics are not.
Eggs are perfect breakfast staple as they contains protein and are not too high in calories—depending how you prepare them. Forget about fried eggs: those contain an enormous quantity of bad fats and calories, which you don’t need. Instead, sauté the same egg, meaning using a quality frying pan with a little bit of oil. If you are in a hotel or a restaurant, go easy on omelets and scrambled eggs. You don’t realize it because you are used to them, but they are sometimes cooked with lots of oil. Instead, have a hard- or soft-boiled egg. Again, you can cook your omelets and scrambled eggs at home using a tiny quantity of oil. Finally, try not to have too many of them. Although eggs are very healthy if cooked in a healthy way, they can be a problem if you have high cholesterol levels and you eat too many. Therefore, no more than one a day.
Bacon has an enormous amount of fat. The meat part of the bacon is fine, but the fatty part is adding calories with no benefit. When you are at home and you really crave bacon, you should always remove all fat before cooking it. I know you are removing half of the bacon, but think of that fat added to your tummy or butt, or worse, around your liver! You can always go for turkey bacon, which has much less fat. If you are in a hotel or restaurant and you really can’t leave without that piece of bacon, always order it well cooked, which at least has left part of the fat in the pan. Bacon gives you quite a lot of protein, so it is not that bad as long as you don’t have it every day and you remove as much fat as possible. Or try grilling it to get rid of all the fat. By the way, most of the bacon contains nitrites and nitrates, so go for the ones that do not contain those chemicals.
Bagels have a gummy and plastic texture. Any kind of bread with that texture has plenty of ingredients added to make it like that. These include artificial additives with no health benefit and modified fats to get the texture. Do not eat these types of bread, as they hide too many additives and unhealthy fats that unnecessarily add too many extra calories to your daily diet. The truth is that nowadays it is difficult to find prepackaged breads that don’t have added fats and sugars. I suggest you get backed breads from a bakery or the bakery section of your grocery store. Check the ingredients: although some contain sunflower oil (and they shouldn’t contain oil) they usually don’t contain modified fats. And please, always go for whole grains and whole wheat; this is something I teach about too.If you are at a hotel buffet or a restaurant, look for hard (not gummy) whole-wheat or whole-grain bread. If those aren’t available, at least choose a whole-grain bread or bagel, and eat only half of the portion size. Better yet, grab some nuts, fruit or a small amount of granola (usually packed with sugar and fat but at least has with fiber).
Orange juice contains plenty of vitamins and minerals. But remember: fruit juices contain a high amount of sugar. The effect of that sugar in the insulin response is something else I am always talking about. Also, when you have juice for breakfast, you are filling your stomach with liquid, and you might not have enough room for proper and filling food to last until lunchtime. You are probably also having coffee or tea, so you feel full easily. Instead of juice, have some small pieces of whole, fresh fruit with its fiber included. If you absolutely can’t live without orange juice in the morning, make sure it doesn’t contain added sugar, and have it with pulp if possible. Be aware that hotel buffets usually serve added sugar juices.
Hash browns, and potatoes in general, have a very high glycemic index. Have them very occasionally and try to eat them only at home, cooking them with a very small amount of olive oil in a good frying pan.
4.-Sugary cereals should disappear from your diet—and from your children’s diets too! They are packed with unnecessary sugars (or honey, corn syrup, etc.), and they are usually not whole-grain cereals. However, if you go to the organic or “natural foods” department of your grocery store, you will find whole-grain, plain cereals made with rice, corn, and other grains, with no added sugars or any other artificial ingredients. You can read my post about breakfast cereal Are breakfast cereals OK if I am trying to lose weight? If you add them to plain yogurt with some fruit and maybe some granola you have a perfect bowl of cereal. The kids will love the blueberries and pineapple or kiwi as much as they love the sweet cereal. Believe me, kids are very smart, and they recognize good and healthy food when you re-educate them!
5.- Cookies, buns, rolls, coffee cakes, muffins: forget about all of them. They are packed with sugar and fats, most of them with really bad fats. They’ll make you full quickly because of the fats, not allowing enough room for some healthy food, but the sugar in them burns too quickly to leave you satisfied for the three-to-our hours required until your next meal. Remember: the high-sugar content generates an undesirable high-insulin response that make you crave more sugar.
So this is my style. I try to give simple explanations of why you should do this and not that in a way that is easy to understand, apply and maintain.
Right now I am developing my 32 Mondays Weight Loss Management Program Online. Before developing the Full Program, I am running a Pilot Course so I can tide ends and make sure that the specifics of the course, the way I teach it online and the technology I am using are the best for my students. It is going to be a short version of the Full program for a much lower price that what I charge for a face to face program or what I will charge for the full course.
Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 203 451 9355 if you want to learn more about it. We are starting on November 9th and right now I only have a few spots left.
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