Friday, March 5, 2010

Healthy Habit #7 for 2010: Start Each Day with a Nutritious Breakfast

I have stalled out here, but now I am trying to get back to my Healthy Habits series and get that finished up before I drag it into 2011!!!

Many health experts agree that starting our days with a nutritious breakfast is essential to our health and well-being, and it helps in achiveing our ideal weights, too.  According to Dr. Pamela Peeke, we should eat a high quality breakfast no later than 9 am, in order to get our metabolisms humming for the day.

Lori Lipinski, a Certified Nutritional Consultant, in Replacing Refined Sugars with Natural Sugars One Step At a Time, explains the importance of breakfast this way: 

Eating a typical high carb breakfast or skipping it all together can have a major impact on the rest of your day. Here's why: Blood sugar (glucose) is the fuel for every single cell in your body. So naturally you want your fuel supply to be constant all day long. Eating balanced meals at regular intervals throughout the day is necessary to maintain this balance. Breakfast is important because it lays the foundation for the rest of the day. Typical breakfast foods--cold cereal, bagels, donuts, pancakes, waffles, or even oatmeal with sugar, fruit, toast with jam, and fruit juice--are all high in sugars and simple carbohydrates which cause the blood sugar to spike up and then crash.
 The "crash" actually has a medical word for it--hypoglycemia. It is a state of low blood sugar, not actually a disease. When your blood sugar drops too low (after eating a high sugar, high carb meal) or stays too low (after eating nothing at all) many symptoms can occur. The first symptoms to set in are usually mental difficulties, because the brain requires a lot of fuel to do its job. So you may have trouble concentrating or processing information, being forgetful, or feeling mentally dull. Other symptoms include anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, irritable (especially when hungry), depression, crying spells, addictive behavior and cravings for sweets or starches. And, of course, if your fuel supply drops too low, fatigue will obviously be a factor. Many people rely on caffeine to pick themselves up when they crash, creating a "tired-wired" feeling. Many are not aware that the caffeine creates further problems by weakening the adrenal glands which produce hormones that help your body deal with stress.

My goal is to prepare a nutritious breakfast every morning for myself and my family and to eat it around 7:00 or 7:30 am.

In recent years, I have gotten lazy when it comes to breakfast prep and allowed my family to fall into the rut of eating processed cereals most days.  I tried to purchase "healthier" cereals -- those with less sugar and more fiber and protein per serving, and reduced the cost by purchasing them on sale and with coupons.  However, this convenient breakfast habit is neither nutritious nor economical.  So, I am working to prepare more nutritious breakfasts for my family.  Yet, it has proven to be challenging, because old habits can be hard to break! 

I have been trying new recipes and working to come up with a week of wholesome and delicious breakfasts that will tantalize the taste buds of my family, while providing their bodies with a nutritious foundation for their busy days.  I am still trying new recipes and tweaking here and there, but this is my basic breakfast plan.  Each menu is served with milk, preferably fresh raw cow's milk, when I am able to get it, and eggs for anyone who wants or needs extra protein.

Monday -- Soaked Oatmeal

Tuesday -- Baked Eggs and Whole Wheat Toast

Wednesday -- Baked Oatmeal

Thursday -- Fried or Scrambled Eggs and Creamy Grits

Friday -- Granola or Soaked Granola

Saturday -- Blender Waffles or Pancakes

Sunday -- Kashi cereal

These menus are subject to change, as I learn more about optimal nutrition and as I discover new recipes.  Perhaps you have a favorite, healthy breakfast recipe that you'd like to suggest?  If so, please share it in the comments!


Rebecca's Refining said...

I also rely too much on cereals for breakfast. I try to buy the "nutritious" ones when on sale, but I have noticed it is always cheaper to eat the "sugar" varieties.

Other than Ben (who never misses a meal), I don't have any breakfast eaters during the school year. They just don't feel like eating that early in the morning. I don't have time to eat until I get them off to school, and then I usually am not hungry for another hour or so. (why eat if not really hungry, right?) I often try to "merge" my breakfast and lunch together, and then enjoy a healthy snack in the afternoon.

When summer hits I would like to see if we can get away from the cereal fix and try some more nutritious breakfast ideas!

By the way, just saw on the news the other day that even "healthy" cereals add too much salt to our diets........I don't believe everything I hear on the news for sure, but it is "food" for thought! :)

tlmalcolm said...

I have always had a difficult time eating a "protein" type breakfast early in the morning. It just doensn't sit well with me. I always went off to school without breakfast as did Tim. Eric always had a big breakfast. Now I find I need something in the morning to get me started. I love oatmeal but not the instant stuff or quick stuff either. But now I make a big pot of thick cut oats and store the leftovers in the frig. Then we can scoop out a bowl full in the morning and zap in the micro wave for our own version of "quick oats" A touch of honey, dried figs, dates, raisen, nuts add to the yumminess and stick with me until lunchtime. I also will make a smoothie with plain yogurt and frozen fruit (occasionally I put in some flax seeds) This works for a fast breakfast as well. I've thought about adding a protein powder to boost my morning protein but havent' tried that yet. With your large family I can't even imagine how you keep them fed at all, let alone doing it well. Thoughts of food and what you are making next must dominate your thoughts daily.

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