Breakfast: The Ultimate Guide

If there is one cliché in the nutrition world that has got to go, it’’s that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” We get it! We know! In fact, 90% of Americans (no word on Canadians) acknowledge that eating breakfast is a good idea. But does that get us anywhere? No! Because approximately 50% still don’’t eat breakfast.

That’s why I’m proposing a new saying, something more attention-grabbing and exciting. Something like, “”Eat breakfast because you need it, and you’ll feel better.” I don’t know, sayings are hard and I’’m still working on it. But while I’’m working on that, here is some information on how you could be working on your breakfast.

Benefits of a Healthy Breakfast

Numerous studies have shown a ton of different benefits to eating a nutritious breakfast. Here are just a few:

  • improved learning/retention
  • improved energy
  • improved mood
  • lowered cholesterol
  • increased strength
  • less body fat
  • better food choices later in the day
  • improved bowel movements

Looks like more than enough reasons to improve upon boring ol’’ toast and tea!

Before You Even Make a Meal

First things first: you need to plan out your breakfast. The reason pancake and sausage on a stick exists (it actually does) is because people are in a hurry in the morning. A little prep the night before will make it that much easier the next day.

Next, make it a routine! Chances are what you eat right now is decided by convenience and routine. Instill a healthy breakfast into your morning routine. If you’’re too busy to prepare a good breakfast then you’’re too busy to be healthy.

Finally, keep track of how you feel once you give up sugar-cereals for a more nutrient-dense morning meal. Don’’t explain away more energy, better mood and increased focus to having a “good” day. Recognize that you started your day with a good meal and that it’’s helping! 

 An average North American’ breakfast looks like this:

Sugar, sugar, chemicals, sugar

It should look like this!

Broccoli and asparagus omelette, cocoa and peanut butter oatmeal (large flake oats), almonds, and a berry protein shake. Balanced and delicious!

The Checklist

Try to incorporate these into your morning meal to start the day on the right foot.

  • protein-dense food (eggs, lean meats, beans, protein powder)
  • vegetables and fibrous fruits
  • ancient grains (quinoa, millet, spelt, amaranth, rolled oats, etc.)

One good way is to make a classic omelette. Get your eggs going, throw a couple veggies in, maybe a little meat and you’re laughing! Here’s my favourite omelette recipe. I like to pair it with a little bit of oatmeal.

The Omelette

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 oz turkey, chopped
  • handful of spinach
  • 1/3 onion, chopped
  • bit of parsley
  • salt

Directions:

Brown the onions and turkey in 1 tsp of coconut oil. Add spinach right at the end just until it goes dark green. Beat the eggs, then pour into separate skillet with the rest of the coconut oil. Wait until the bottom is solid then flip. Throw in the veg and lightly salt. Fold over your creation and top with parsley.

In a Hurry? Make a Shake

Shakes take about 4 minutes to make; less if you have the ingredients ready the night before. They can be the perfect breakfast meal. The best recipe I’’ve seen is a 7-step process from Precision Nutrition. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Start with ice cubes

Step 2: Pick a fruit

Step 3: Pick a veggie

Step 4: Pick a protein powder

Step 5: Pick a nut/seed

Step 6: Pick a liquid

Step 7: Pick your topper

Example:

Step 1: 5 ice cubes

Step 2: 1/2 banana

Step 3: 3 kale leaves

Step 4: whey protein powder (chocolate)

Step 5: 1 oz pecans & 2 tbsp peanut butter

Step 6: 3/4 cup water

Step 7: shredded coconut

Just Eat It!

Alright, enough chatter. I’t’s time for action. Get out there and eat your breakfast! Hey, maybe that’s the saying I’m looking for: “Breakfast: just eat it!” Hopefully Nike’s okay with that…

John Reid

John Reid

John Reid is a University of Calgary Faculty of Kinesiology graduate and Precision Nutrition Certified Sports Nutritionist. When he’s not rowing for the Calgary Row Club you’ll find him enjoying every possible second in the mountains hiking, trail running and road cycling.

Outside of sports, John is involved with the Branch Out Neurological Foundation, a local non-profit charitable organization dedicated to fundraising for new and alternative forms of treatment for neurological disorders.

Comments

  1. Oatmeal, turkey, eggs, peanut butter and a protein shake – what great brain fuel to start your day with! A long while ago I met a man at the U of C gym who looked and spoke much like you and taught me that protein and strebgth training were my friends…in fact, that man was you! Thank you JR for your continued dedication to promoting the healthy requirements of life!

    Jodi

  2. I met a man at the U of C gym (that bears an uncanny resemblance to you) who taught me the importance of protien and strength training in my overall health. Eggs, peant butter, oats, protein shake, nuts and turkey – all fantastic sources of brain fuel! Invaluable lessons from an unparalled man. Who am I kidding – there can’t be two JR’s in the world. Great to see you’re still dedicated to promoting everyday health Johnny! 

    – Jodi Petrowitsch