Breakfast can be a real challenge for a lot of people. Whether it’s the old habit of skipping breakfast entirely or the indoctrination that cereal and skim milk is the breakfast of champions, it’s time to turn over a new leaf in the morning with the following easy breakfast ideas.
A quick personal story
Back when I was in school, learning the nuts of bolts of conventional nutrition, I noticed a mid-morning trend. Despite the fact that I ate a large breakfast every morning and felt very full, by 10 am I was starving again, hungry to the point that I had to eat something in order to keep my attention level up for my classes.
So, what was I eating for breakfast?
A large bowl of Kashi 7 grain cereal with plain soy milk. There was plenty of protein, very little fat and LOTS of whole grains. According to my professors, I was eating a picture perfect morning meal. I would even throw in a glass of orange juice on occasion to get in my morning serving of fruit.
The longer I ate this way, I also began to feel bloated shortly after breakfast. Despite the fact that I only stayed satisfied for a couple hours after eating and eventually started to feel uncomfortably bloated, I never questioned whether my choice of foods in the morning were to blame. I even evangelized to my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) that she really needed to switch to soy milk because her fatty cow’s milk was killing her.
Luckily, I was brought “into the light” not long after that and learned what a high quality breakfast really is and experienced first hand the huge benefits.
What constitutes a high quality breakfast
As an active young man, my goal caloric intake was about 2500 per day. This comes out to be about 800 calories per meal.
DISCLAIMER: Calories are not and should never be the focus of a diet plan. They are however a common frame of reference and a good secondary indicator of possible dietary miscues.
From a macronutrient standpoint, breakfast (and all other meals and snacks) should have
- plenty of protein (15-30 grams),
- even more fat (50-60 grams)
- minimal carbohydrates (25-40 grams).
Here is the breakdown for an ideal meal:
carbs 40 grams, 160 calories, 22% of total
fat 50 grams, 450 calories, 62 % of total
protein 30 grams, 120 calories, 16% of total
WHOA! 62% fat! Isn’t that heart attack city? I thought so back in the day but fortunately fat intake and heart attacks have very little in common. But that is another blog post entirely.
Here’s the breakdown of my low fat, whole grains and orange juice breakfast:
carbs 110 grams, 440 calories, 75% of total
fat 10 grams, 90 calories, 15% of total
protein 15 grams, 60 calories, 10% of total
Protein levels were good at about 15 to 20 grams. Fat levels were very poor (one key reason why the meal satisfaction didn’t last) and the carb count was through the roof at 100 grams when I included the orange juice (another reason why the meal satisfaction didn’t last). As you can see, the percent breakdown for each macronutrient is way different for this meal and the total calories are a little low.
Three key benefits of a high quality breakfast
Once I switched to eating a higher quality breakfast, the benefits were instantaneous.
- I stay full and satisfied all morning. Now that I’m nourishing my body properly in the morning I don’t get hungry for lunch until about one o’clock and the hunger comes on slowly rather than hitting me like a runaway train.
- No more mid morning slump. I used to get so hungry at about ten o’clock that I couldn’t focus and I would get very cranky unless I had something to eat. Now that never happens. I am focused and productive all morning.
- All of that bloating that I began to experience was due to the soy milk and soy protein and improperly prepared whole grains in the cereal. Now that I have eliminated those, I don’t have any more problems!
Check out these recipes for quick and easy breakfast ideas.
Yogurt with berries
Gluten Free Biscuits and Gravy