Did you know the slogan “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” was created in the 19th century by James Caleb Jackson and John Harvey Kellogg to promote their breakfast cereal? This is marketing strategy at its genius. This false concept has long held as near-fact for close to 80 years. Today, when simply strolling through the grocery isles, one will readily find whole rows dedicated to boxed cereals, which in general, has long been a staple in breakfast for many. This exemplifies out love of convenience, it’s the thing we’re really buying in the cardboard boxes. After all, what’s easier than pouring delicious cereal in a bowl with milk for a fussy child? There is a great variety of flavors, clean up is easy and cost is relatively cheap. Unfortunately, trends such as this have lead to an obesity epidemic of the likes that we have never seen in this country. So, is breakfast the most important meal of the day ? What does your breakfast look like? Should breakfast be the biggest or smallest meal of the day ? Should I even eat breakfast ? These are very good questions that my curious patients have on a daily basis. First, we must take into consideration your individual goals. So with that in mind, let’s explore these questions and make some breakfast recommendations for those who want to eat a healthy breakfast.
Should breakfast be the biggest meal of the day ?
Adele Davis, American author and nutritionist, coined the phrase: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” There has been a lot of debate on the validity of this statement. A study in the Journal of Obesity, compared high caloric intake at breakfast vs dinner concluded that the former showed benefits in management of obesity and metabolic syndrome. This is important as obesity is a large contributor to many medical ailments, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Obesity is also the second leading cause of preventable death in the United State according to the National Institute of Health, (NIH).
Should I fast breakfast?
The word “breakfast” comes from an Old English word meaning to break a fast. I find that “breaking a fast” and the quality of food you break a fast with is far more important than whether or not you eat breakfast. I am often asked, with a bit of hesitancy, if it’s OK to skip breakfast. In general, if you feel good not eating breakfast, are on no medications that mandate you take with food or are more energized not eating breakfast, then the answer is yes, you can skip breakfast. In fact, a recent study demonstrated that the quality of your breakfast is far more important than whether you choose to skip breakfast or not. Also, there is an entire body of evidence that supports prolonged fasting benefits such as decreased insulin (growth hormone), stabilized blood sugars, weight loss, improved metabolism, improved cognition and reduction of inflammation.
How to break a “fast.”
Through our program, a meal plan will be individualized for you, taking into consideration your goals and medical history. However, in general, if you do eat breakfast, try to eat the rainbow. This will include a variety of vegetables and fruits, some healthy grain options, protein and fat. Written below are a few of my breakfast favorites:
Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds
- 1 cup almond milk (water will work, but a nut milk makes for creamier oats)
- 1/2 cup steel cut oats (or 1 cup rolled oats if desired)
- 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
- 1/4 tsp. Vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon grade B maple syrup
- Blueberries (optional)
Add all ingredients (other than blueberries) into mason jar. Shake until well-combined, and place into refrigerator overnight (or at least 5 hours). Enjoy hot or cold, and stir in fresh blueberries if desired.
Make these oats the night before for a quick breakfast the morning after
(Makes 1 serving)
- 1 cup nut milk (we use almond and hemp. Cashew is probably too heavy for this smoothie)
- 1/4 cup frozen berries of your choice
- 1 cup packed leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
- 1 tsp. Hemp seeds or whole flax seeds
- 1/4 avocado or one 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. Tumeric powder
- 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1 scoop vegan protein powder (we like chocolate, but vanilla works too!)
- 1 scoop collagen powder
Place all the ingredients into a blender. Start on low and slowly blend higher, making sure everything is incorporated. Once smooth, pour into glass, and top with extra hemp or flax seeds if desired. Enjoy!
Cranberry, Cinnamon, Carrot muffins
(Makes 6-8 servings)
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/2 tsp. Table salt
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. Baking soda
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 5 eggs
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- 1/4 cup cranberries
- 1/2 cup shredded and drained carrots
- Start by pre-heating oven to 375 degrees.
- Whisk dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk all 5 eggs together. Add in vanilla extract, applesauce and maple syrup. Stir to combine as you slowly drizzle in the melted coconut oil.
- Once totally combined, add dry ingredients. Fold until just combined, making sure not to over-mix. Next, carefully incorporate the carrots and cranberries, and scoop batter into lined muffin tin.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool, then freeze for a fast breakfast treat!
(Makes 1 serving)
- One whole egg plus 2 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon of nut milk
- Pinch of salt
- Black pepper (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion (optional)
- 1 clove of minced garlic (optional)
- 2 tablespoons red bell pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp. Fresh chives
Whisk egg, whites and milk together in a small bowl until homogenous. Add salt, pepper and add-ins (if desired), and stir. Spray stainless steel pan with non-stick spray (I recommend Trader Joes coconut oil spray) or small amount of grapeseed oil, and add egg mixture.
The mixture will cook on the outside first, so make sure to move cooked parts in from outside, allowing the omelet to cook evenly. Once browned, fold in half and leave on pan until fully baked.
Serve on plate, and garnish with fresh chives and hot sauce if desired.
(Makes 2 servings)
- 1 medium, ripe avocado
- 1 tsp. Lemon or lime juice
- 1/2 tsp. Table salt (medium pinch if using courser brand)
- 1/2-3/4 tsp. Garlic powder (to taste)
- 1/4 tsp. Black pepper
- 1/4 red onion, finely chopped (sub 1/4 tsp. Onion powder if desired)
- 1/4 tsp. Red pepper flakes (more if desired)
- Diced tomatoes (to preference)
- Two thick slices of bread (fresh is best)
- Cherry tomatoes (optional)
- Arugula springs – about 5-6 per piece of toast
- Feta (optional)
Start by preparing the avocado. To do this, I recommend starting with an initial slice lengthwise. Turn the avocado around the knife, positioned on the seed, until a seam separates the two halves. Twist and pull the halves apart, leaving the seed stuck into one of the halves. Carefully stick knife into the seed, twist and pull to remove. With a spoon, scoop the avocado flesh into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Next, add the lemon juice to the avocado. Mash with a large fork or potato masher until smooth (we like to leave some chunks for our toast.
Put the bread into the toaster while finishing the guacamole. Add the remaining ingredients (not including cherry tomatoes or feta) into the bowl and stir together until fully incorporated.
Spread avocado mix onto toasted bread, and top with cherry tomatoes, Arugula and feta, if desired. Balsamic vinaigrette or freshly squeezed lemon is also a beautiful finish to the toast as well.
OR make these yummy bars: