Power Up with a Healthy Breakfast

It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Starting the day with nutritionally dense foods helps the body by providing energy, boosting metabolism, maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels and improves focus and concentration.   Breakfast with foods that are low on the glycemic index, high in fiber and combined with lean protein and good fats is sure to get your day off to a great start.

Smoothies are a nutritious treat to have with your breakfast.  Recipes for delicious smoothies are readily available on the internet or in cookbooks.  They can also be made quickly by combining fruits and vegetables without a recipe.  It is fun to stock up on fresh and frozen fruits/veggies and experiment to find tasty combinations.  I rarely use recipes for my smoothies and make them with a combination of approximately 50% fruit and 50% vegetables.  I mix the fruits and vegetables, with a small amount (1 cup) of water or almond milk, in the blender and serve.  The fruits I often use are blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, apple, kiwi, mango, banana, pineapple and avocado.  The vegetables I usually use are raw spinach, kale, cucumber, celery and carrots.  Adding herbs such as fresh ginger root, cilantro and parsley give the smoothie added flavor and health benefits.  The fruit naturally sweetens the smoothie, but if you like them on the sweet side adding pomegranate juice or a small amount of honey will help.  Adding 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed or chia seed is a great way to increase omega-3 fatty acids in the diet.

Omelettes made with vegetables such as spinach, onion, green pepper, red pepper and tomatoes are quick and nutritionally dense.  Eggs scrambled with sauteed onion and kale in extra virgin olive oil are tasty and delicious.  For a lean protein source turkey bacon or chicken sausage can be substituted for greasier pork counterparts.  Adding black beans, corn, tomatoes and cilantro to omelettes or scrambled eggs with salsa and/or guacamole can give them a great southwestern flavor.

Oatmeal, quinoa, and recipes made with almond flour (breads, muffins, quiches, etc.) are low on the glycemic index and pair nicely with lean protein for a hearty breakfast.  One of my favorite cookbooks, which is filled with delicious recipes, is The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam.

Cereals, granola bars and yogurt are often high in sugar, so it is wise to read the labels/ingredients of such breakfast foods prior to purchasing.  Additionally, fruit juices are high in sugar and can be substituted with low-sodium vegetable or tomato juice.

These are a few healthy breakfast ideas to get you started.  The time spent to prepare and eat a healthy breakfast each day will likely yield benefits such as feelings of well-being, improved clarity and concentration, enhanced performance, and beyond.  Every bite you take directly impacts the functioning of your body, so eating a nutritious breakfast is an investment of time worth making.

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