Good Days Start with a Healthy Breakfast

Article by Make The Days Count Contributor Blake Cothron

 

We’ve all heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It’s the fuel that gets us going in the morning and keeps us going until lunch.  How many of us make sure that we are giving our bodies the best we can offer for breakfast? 

 

It’s very easy to give ourselves vibrant, delicious nutrition even in the morning rush to work. 

 

What comprises a healthy meal?  We could say that a healthy meal is the right balance of nutrients and types of food.  The right balance between carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals, and flavor. 

 

We can achieve this balance even in a rush with a little planning and healthy meal plan. 

 

Water

We need vibrant energy as we wake up to face the challenges of the day.  The essential thing our body needs to be energetic is water.  If we hydrate heavily in the morning we’ll notice a sudden, sustained boost in energy.  It also helps us rid the body of toxins and waste through proper elimination.  I make it a habit to drink at least 20-30 oz of water first thing in the morning.  I suspect that many people go for coffee and tea because subconsciously they need hydration. 

 

Organic Produce

Healthy meals are easy to prepare and shop for, especially breakfast.  Some of us may find that fruit is enough for breakfast, like a big banana or apple slices.  As I’ve said before always choose organic produce!  It’s free of toxic pesticide residue and was grown in a way that does not poison our Earth with toxic chemicals.  That goes for all food ingredients as well.

 

When we cop-out and go for things like pop tarts, fast food and lucky charms for breakfast, we’re robbing our bodies or vital nutrition and instead feeding ourselves empty calories, unhealthy fats, refined sugar, and loads of artificial additives. 

 

Try and to Avoid …

There a few common breakfast traps to avoid, if vibrant health is your concern.  First is artificial maple syrup, which is nothing but sugar and chemicals.  Look for real maple syrup and read the package carefully.  Another is breakfast bars.  These usually are low in nutrition and high in sugar and additives.  The same goes for major commercial cereals.  Any fast food breakfast is dangerous to your health.  The same goes for aspartame and splenda sweeteners, which have been shown to contribute to cancer.  Get real.  Choose raw honey and maple syrup, or try stevia, a low-calorie herbal sweetener.

 

Children need healthy food as much as adults.  It’s not hard to prepare healthy meals even kids will enjoy, as you’ll see.  For kids, I recommend adding a little honey, organic jams and jelly, and fun names to foods.  You can also buy child-oriented organic breakfast cereals and foods.

 

Light Breakfasts

So for those of us who only need a light breakfast, fruit may be enough, or try fruit with a few handfuls of nuts or seeds.  Raw sunflower kernels are very filling, rich sources of nutrients.  Pumpkin seeds are very nutritious, with a rich nutty taste.  Any types of nuts are good breakfast fare as well.  A few handfuls of granola with fruit is great too.  Go for granola with low sugar and without additives.  You can find it in bulk at health food stores.  You can also buy additive-free dried fruit in bulk.  Dried figs, raisins, goji beries, currants, apricots, prunes, apple and pear are all good for breakfast.  Try apple slices with almond butter, mmmmm!  These are great options for those of us who eat on the go.  You could prepare this the night before, in little reusable containers or baggies.  These are good, quick options for kids.  Your kids might also like apple slices with nut butter and honey, warm yogurt with berries, oatmeal with real maple syrup and nuts, whole wheat toast with nut butter and maple syrup and free range eggs.  I’m getting hungry!    

 

Yogurt can be a great breakfast food.  Organic dairy products are free of questionable growth-enhancing drugs, antibiotics, and chemicals.  Try organic yogurt with granola and blueberries on top, yum!  Or blend it up with organic strawberries and honey.  You can also find soy-based yogurt and other non-dairy options that are delicious.  Kids love these too!  Yogurt and fruit smoothies are also a healthy option.

 

Richer Breakfasts

For those of us who need a richer breakfast there are many options.  Oatmeal is a great option.  You can prepare healthy, rich oatmeal by cooking the oats and adding things like dried fruits, nuts and seeds, real maple syrup, real honey, peanut butter and granola.  I like to put sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder for a few seconds until powdered and then add them to steaming oatmeal and throw a handful of raisins on top.  It all takes 5 minutes or less to create and is a delicious, filling breakfast.  I also love to add crushed hempseed, spirulina or nut butters to add extra rich nutrition and flavor.  A touch of cinnamon makes it real nice.  Rice cream and cream of wheat prepared this way are other possibilities.

 

You could also cook up some organic free range eggs however you like.  Add some black pepper and salt to taste.  Optionally add some organic salsa, cheese or ketchup. A couple slices of whole wheat toast with real butter make this a very rich, healthy breakfast.  Optionally add some honey or nut butter to the toast.  You could also cook up some organic potatoes with it too.  I recommend trying heirloom varieties like Russian fingerling potatoes for extra flavor, and using non-canola oils for cooking.  Vegans can cook up tofu or tempeh for an animal-free breakfast.

 

Pre-Packaged

For those of us that want to eat healthier but want to buy pre-packaged stuff there are options.  You can find an assortment of healthy whole wheat and alternative grain cereals for sale at health food stores.  I recommend these delicious cereals made out of quinoa and amaranth; nutritious non-wheat grains.  You can also find organic breakfast bars, frozen foods, and big-name cereals.  Just keep in mind that pre-packaged food is always lower quality than food prepared at home, and requires wasteful packaging.  Is your health worth it?              

 

Coffees and Teas

Many of us habitually drink coffee in the morning.  You could experiment with organic free-trade coffees that were bought with fair wages from the coffee growers and pickers.  Many have complex gourmet flavors.  You could try tea in the morning as well.  Green tea and white tea are antioxidant-rich with mild doses of caffeine.  Herbal teas are health-promoting and caffeine free.  Herbs like Siberian Ginseng can give you a healthy boost of energy as well.  Avoid commercial black teas and heavily sugared tea. 

 

Diversity

To create a healthy breakfast, think diversity!  Simple additions like nuts and seeds, nut butter, real honey, spirulina, dried fruit, bee pollen, hempseed, yogurt and flax seed can add so much nutrition and body to an otherwise lacking meal.  Small additions like this add good doses of minerals, protein, omega fatty acids, and flavor.   

          

Listen to your body instead of following a strict plan.  Some days you may not crave hardly anything for breakfast, and that’s ok.  Some days you might want twice as much!  The main thing is to get hydrated in the morning and eat real nutrition, when you are hungry.  Sometimes we won’t crave breakfast until 9 or 10 o’clock.  That’s fine too.  The early morning hours are a time when the stomach is doing a routine cleanse and it’s best to avoid eating very early.  

 

It might take a little extra planning but healthy breakfast meals are not expensive or complex.  A typical breakfast like the ones explored above cost anywhere from .50 cents to a dollar or two.  Once you start eating healthy meals you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.  You and your family deserve a healthy start to the day.  Make it a delicious one!

 

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water is indescribable in its evocations of innocence and delight.”
-M. F. K. Fisher

 

Water flows humbly to the lowest level.
Nothing is weaker than water,
Yet for overcoming what is hard and strong,
Nothing surpasses it.
-Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching

 

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Posted on 2 February, 2009 in Fitness & Health
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