We’ve all heard the old adage, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But what does it really mean? It isn’t simply about making time to grab a donut while you’re rushing out the door in the morning.
Your breakfast needs to be nutritious. If you’re missing out on important vitamins and nutrients from your morning meal, you are less likely to make up for the misstep throughout the day.
Meaning you’re setting yourself up for future nutrient deficiencies, poor cognitive function, and an unhealthy weight. Continue reading this article and we’ll teach you how to start every day with a balanced breakfast.
What Makes a Balanced Breakfast?
Thankfully, this doesn’t have anything to do with physically balancing our bodies. A balanced meal is one that is nutrient-dense and free of empty calories and simple carbs.
Nutrient-dense meals don’t just involve fruits and vegetables. They include whole grains and proteins that satisfy appetites, boost energy, and fight cravings.
This involves eating a variety of different things.
Complex carbohydrates (complex carbs) provide glucose to the brain. Without this fuel, people will have difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating, and retaining information.
Complex carbs are also where people get energy in the morning. If they aren’t part of breakfast, it can cause headaches.
A headache is most likely a symptom of low blood sugar. Because when carbs are broken down in our bodies, they become the type of sugar that travels through the blood to be used as fuel.
Sources of Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbs aren’t very difficult to find in breakfast foods. Depending on your preferred source of them, they can even be made ahead for the week to save time.
Complex carbs are found in:
- Shredded Wheat
- Sprouted Bread
Avoid simple or refined carbs as they usually don’t contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are full of empty calories and are quickly digested.
The high glycemic index in refined carbs can spike people’s blood sugar and insulin. This can cause overeating, crankiness, diabetes, and heart disease.
Breakfast foods that are heavy in refined carbs are pastries, sugary cereals, pancake, bagels, donuts, and muffins.
Eating healthy fats in the morning tricks our bodies into losing weight. When they’re paired with protein and fiber, fats keep hunger at bay.
Dietary fat also helps the body build cells and nerves. While it reduces inflammation and improves the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals.
All fats, however, aren’t created equally. This isn’t a free pass to load up on fried foods, butter, and dessert.
Sources of Healthy Fats
These nutrients will improve eye, skin, and brain health. And boost immune system function, offering protection from germy offices, classrooms, and workspaces.
Great sources of breakfast fats are:
- Peanut butter
- Chia Seeds
Add healthy fats to spruce up basic go-to meals. Use avocado on sprouted toast, make salmon and spinach omelets, chia pudding with fruit, or add peanut butter to sweeten up a smoothie.
Protein is an important component of a well-balanced breakfast. Not only does it help our bodies build lean muscle, protein helps strengthen the hair, nails, and bones.
Unlike carbs and fat, our bodies don’t keep excess protein to draw from when we need it. This means we have to be especially sure it’s in the meals we’re eating.
On average, inactive men should have 56 grams of protein daily. Inactive women should have 46 grams.
Sources of Breakfast Protein
Like other nutrients, not all sources of protein are good for our bodies. Stick to high-quality forms of protein.
Animal proteins should be eaten in their leanest forms. This includes chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef, and fish.
For those who don’t eat meat, edamame, tofu, beans, lentils, and nutritional yeast are great sources of high-quality protein.
Try to get protein from real food sources instead of shakes. Many protein shakes are full of added sugars and chemicals.
Sources of high-quality breakfast protein are:
- Greek Yogurt (coconut yogurt if you don’t do dairy)
- Chicken Sausage (watch the sodium content)
- Low-fat Cottage Cheese
- Black Beans
Making a healthy, balanced breakfast doesn’t have to become another chore that makes getting to work on time more difficult every morning. Breakfast can be prepared ahead of time and packaged into serving sizes.
Try preparing a few meals at the beginning of the week to grab and go all week long. Meal prep doesn’t just save cooking time. It saves money too.
Here are 5 great make-ahead breakfast ideas that include the complex carbs, protein, and dietary fats mentioned before.
This casserole features ground turkey, eggs, spinach, and antioxidant-packed artichokes. It isn’t just a lovely meal prep option, it also looks great on the table for brunches and family gatherings.
Change up the ingredients each week by filling the casserole with different varieties of veggies like sweet potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes.
Banana Oat Muffins
Too much white flour can spike the body’s blood sugar levels and the bleaching process strips it of the bran and replaces it with chlorine dioxide, chalk, and other additives.
This banana oat muffin recipe uses oat bran and ripe bananas as a base. The muffins are sweetened with applesauce and cinnamon instead of added sugars.
Spread nut butter on the muffins in the morning to up the fat content.
Freezer Friendly Sandwiches
Who doesn’t love a good breakfast sandwich? When they’re pre-made and frozen, they can easily slide into a microwave or toaster oven to make the bread a little more crispy.
Use whole wheat English muffins and lean sausage patties. The patties can be made from turkey, chicken, or beans.
This recipe will set you on the right track. Enjoy it with a little fruit on the side.
Food is the fuel our body needs to function at its best. When you’re eating well, you’ll feel and look amazing.
Keep your meals low in cholesterol, trans fats, additives, and sugar. If you liked our tips on ways to create a balanced breakfast, you’ll love the rest of our content.
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