Co-written by Sam Poccia, Nutrition Student and Enthusiast
With warmer temperatures in spring and summer comes a new season of fruits and vegetables to explore. This is the perfect time to re-think winter eating habits and vary up your most important meal of the day, breakfast.
You’ve heard breakfast is important, but why? From the time you eat dinner to breakfast the next morning, your body goes an extended period without food. Breakfast starts the engine, known as your metabolism, and keeps it’s moving all day long. Eating within 2 hours of waking up can make a difference in the way you metabolize glucose or blood sugar. Skipping breakfast can boost your “hunger hormones,” encouraging you to overeat for the rest of the day. In addition to appetite changes, spikes and dips in blood sugar over time can increase your risk of diabetes. Eating breakfast can help regulate your body’s metabolism, help you maintain a healthy weight, and keep you energized and focused throughout the day.
Here are some healthy breakfast ideas to get you off to the right start:
Eggs with Arugula and Tomato
Eggs are an easy breakfast classic and excellent source of protein. Add in arugula and tomato to boost your veggie intake, helping you feeling full throughout the day. Try to purchase organic, cage-free eggs at your local supermarket or farmer’s market. When adding in veggies, try asparagus, scallions, arugula, kale, tomato, mushrooms and more.
Oatmeal with Nuts and Fruit
The perfect way to start your morning is with a big bowl of warm oatmeal mixed with nuts and fruit. I like Bob’s Red Mill brand or Whole Foods Steel Cut Oats. Stay away from instant oatmeal packets, which often have lots of sugar. Mix a cup of dry oatmeal with a cup of almond milk and cook on the stovetop for 5 minutes or until the milk is absorbed. Spring offers a variety of delicious fruits that are all packed with antioxidants. Mix in some cinnamon or nutmeg for flavor. Mix in any fruit of your choice, such as blackberries, blueberries, sliced peaches, strawberries, and more. For a boost of protein add some nuts to your oatmeal, such as cashews or almonds.
Homemade Granola Bars
If you are in need of a quick on-the-go breakfast, granola bars are a safe bet. Take some time on Sunday evening to make your own for the week ahead.
- ¾ cup raw almonds
- ¾ cup cashews
- 1 ½ cup coconut flakes
- ¾ cup of honey
- 3 tablespoons of water
- Pinch of sea salt
- Optional: dried fruit, other nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Heat the honey, salt, and water in a small pot over medium heat until it bubbles. Stir occasionally. Let the mixture heat to 270 degrees F on medium to low heat.
- Lightly toast the almonds, cashews, and coconut for 8-10 minutes in the oven
- When the honey mixture reached 270 degrees F, add in the toasted nuts and coconut. Mix well until everything is evenly coated.
- Spread the mixture out on a parchment-lined 8×8 inch pan or baking sheet. Make sure the mixture is even and press down firmly to set it how you want. Cover the top of the bars with another piece of parchment paper and use the bottom of a pot or cup to really press the ingredients together firmly.
- Let the mixture cool for 45 minutes and then flip it over onto a cutting board. Cut up into bars.
- Store the bars in an air-tight container on the counter and enjoy throughout the week.
Drink Lots of Water
This may seem obvious, but many people forget this important fact. Instead of reaching for the coffee, switch up your second cup for water or brewed tea. Water keeps your body hydrated during warmer months and can decrease how much you eat throughout the day. Water also keeps your brain active and your skin looking great. Aim for eight 8oz glasses of water per day; this can be seltzer, flavored waters, or water infused with fruits and spices, think cucumber melon!
- Don’t be a skipper! Breakfast helps promote healthy blood sugar levels, provides energy and can help promote a healthy weight.
- Vary your morning routine by trying these fun breakfast ideas rich in protein, fiber and healthy fats.
- Don’t forget to drink water; for healthy adults aim for eight 8 oz glasses per day.