The cure for your sluggish mornings could be as simple as a smart breakfast. This list will help you choose foods that will give you sustained energy, not a short blast then a mid-day crash. Think complex carbohydrates (whole grains), high fiber, high protein, and good fats.
How: Two to three eggs make for a satisfying scramble, omelet, or on-the-go snack when they’re hard-boiled. Add flavor and nutrients with fresh herbs and/or veggies.
Tip: Don’t forget the yolk, it provides more than 13 important nutrients like vitamins A and zinc, which maintain immune function and tissue growth.
Why: The complex carbohydrates in oatmeal provide vitamins and minerals that give us energy. (Simple carbohydrates, like those in white bread, carry the risk of being converted to fat and stored.) Go for old-fashioned or steel-cut oats. They’re high in protein and soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol and makes you feel fuller longer. Also 1/2 cup of oatmeal has 4.6 grams of Resistant Starch!
How: The topping options are endless. Try unsweetened dried, fresh or frozen fruit; flax, chia, or pumpkin seeds; spices like cinnamon or nutmeg; nuts like almonds and walnuts; or a drizzle of raw honey or pure maple syrup.
Tip: Oats benefit the brain by boosting the production of serotonin to combat stress and enhance learning and memory function.
Why: Butter made from nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts are filled with vitamin E, protein, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Concerned about fat? Nut butter contains fat-fighting Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs) — also found in olive oil — which are the good fats that lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. In a Danish study, it was found that a diet that included 20 percent of calories from MUFAs measurably sped up 24-hour calorie and fat-burning. MUFAs are especially good at melting tummy fat. High MUFA foods — namely macadamias, peanuts, tree nuts, and olive oil — have been shown to keep blood sugar steady and reduce appetite too. I love Macadamia Nut Butter because 1 oz has 16.8 grams of MUFAs, making it a MUFA super-star!
How: Spread nut butters on top of whole grain toast, apple or banana slices, or blend into a smoothie. Be mindful to limit your serving size to one to two tablespoons.
Tip: It’s better to have some fat than to have a breakfast that doesn’t satiate, leaving you hungry in an hour. Listen to what your body works best off of to keep you satisfied all morning long. And remember, when you eat 20% of your caloric intake in MUFAs, it will help you lose fat.
WHOLE GRAIN BREAD
Why: Muffins, bagels, and low fiber cereals all give a temporary energy boost and then you’ll crash. Instead, choose whole grains to help stabilize blood sugar levels and fill you up until your next meal. More important, they are rich in Resistant Starch and fiber, and research shows that people who more whole grains tend to weigh less and have less body fat than those who skip them.
How: Try a slice or two of whole grain bread or crackers topped with some of that nut butter. An open-faced breakfast sandwich is a good way to go, too: top a slice of bread with eggs, or avocado or tomato slices.
Tip: Look for 100% whole wheat or whole grains like spelt or bran listed as the first item in the ingredient list. Packaged bread or cereal should have 3 grams or more of fiber per serving.
Why: Spinach, kale, chard, and other leafy greens are nutrition powerhouses. Try to work in other veggies, too–the recommended daily serving is 2 to 3 cups. You’ll fill your body with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
How: Add leafy greens to your smoothie or top your egg sandwich with a lettuce or radicchio leaf. To work in other veggies, color your omelet with mushrooms and red peppers. Two of my very favorite quickie green breakfasts are the EYE PROTECTING MANGO DREAM SMOOTHIE or DR. OZ’s GREEN DRINK (which he says is a breakfast staple) and it truly is quite delicious! Both of these recipes provide you with about 2 cups of spinach in the morning! What a great way to start your day!
Tip: Limit your intake of higher-glycemic vegetables like corn, peas, tomatoes, and root vegetables like carrots, beets, and potatoes. High glycemic foods convert carbohydrates into sugar more rapidly, which causes a sudden spike in blood sugar.
Why: In general, fruits are filled with fiber (pears, apples, berries, and kiwis), vitamin C (papaya, oranges), disease-fighting antioxidants (strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries), and cell- and muscle-building potassium (bananas). Bananas are also a super-star when it comes to Resistant Starch! One medium green banana has 12.5 grams of Resistant Starch.
How: Add 1/2-1 cup of lower-glycemic fruits — blueberries, apples, pears, peaches, plums, and citrus fruits — to your yogurt or high-fiber cereal. To work in other fruits, garnish that almond butter toast with slices of organic strawberries or slightly green bananas.
Tip: Blueberries are not only low glycemic, fiber-filled, and antioxidant rich, they also contain anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give blueberries their immunity boosting and cholesterol-lowering power.
Warning: Strawberries are filled with toxins (pesticides) that you can’t completely wash off, so be sure to ONLY buy organic strawberries. Governor Schwarzenegger’s Department of Pesticide Regulation has approved methyl iodide for use in strawberry fields. This chemical is a potent carcinogen and neurotoxin. Don’t think you’re safe just because you don’t live in California — 80% of all strawberries in America come from California and show up in your local grocery store!
Why: A handful of nuts and seeds such as flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds add great flavor and texture, but they also contribute protein, vitamin E, and heart-healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs) and omega-3’s.
How: Sprinkle ground flaxseeds (or chia seeds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds) on top of yogurt and cereal or add to a smoothie.
Tip: Flaxseeds contain lignans, which are plant estrogens that may provide protection against breast cancer.
How: Sprinkle a cup of yogurt with fruit, nuts or seeds and a drizzle of raw honey for a healthy yogurt parfait. Quick-and-easy, smoothie options are limitless.
Tip: Choose Greek-style or Icelandic yogurt like Siggi’s, which have twice the amount of protein than other yogurts. Skip non-fat, which has more added sugar and does less to satiate. “Add a handful or arugula or spinach. Don’t worry–fruit will mask the ‘green’ flavor.
Warning: Read the labels carefully. Many yogurts — including Yoplait — contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. Here is a partial list of clean, HFCS Free Yogurts …
- Brown Cow vanilla yogurt
- Southern Home Nonfat Plain Yogurt
- Dannon Plain Yogurt
- Mountain High Yogurt (it appears all varieties are HFCS free)
- Dannon All Natural Vanilla Yogurt
- Dannon All Natural Coffee Yogurt
- Horizon Organic Fat Free Yogurt
- Nancys Reduced Fat Plain
- Nancy’s Whole Milk Honey Yogurt
- Stoneyfield Farm Yobaby Yogurt
Why: Protein is the basic building block of all muscle. Beginning around age 35, you can lose about 1% of your muscle mass each year. As you age, protein becomes important for more reasons than building biceps; it becomes important for your overall health. Without protein, you can’t keep or build muscle. Proteins are also used to manufacture hormones, enzymes, cellular messengers, nucleic acids, and immune-system components. Without adequate protein, our bodies can’t put together the structures that make up every cell, tissue, and organ, nor can it generate the biochemical substances needed for cardiovascular function, muscle contraction, growth, and healing.
How: I like to make a Banana Chocolate Shake for breakfast. It’s quick, easy, gives me 20 grams of protein and 4.7 to 12.5 grams of Resistant Starch all in one quick boost that gets absorbed — and gets to work — within about 30 minutes!
Tip: Bananas are your richest source of Resistant Starch, with ripe ones offering 4.7 grams of the fat flusher and less ripe ones (slightly green) containing a whopping 12.5 grams. They’re also rich in appetite-suppressing fiber (with 3 grams per 1 medium banana) and contain the amino acid, tryptophan, which is converted into the calming brain chemical, serotonin to relax and improve your mood.
Warning: Not all protein shakes are created equal — not by a long shot. Pay attention to the protein quantity and quality.
Why: Low-fat cheese provides protein and calcium and studies have shown that consuming 1,100 mg of calcium daily lost up to 22% more body fat and 61% more weight than other dieters with all else being equal. The reason: Calcium is stored in fat cells, and researchers think that the more calcium a fat cell has, the more fat that cell will release to be burned.
Since it’s challenging to consume enough dairy to get 1,100 mg of calcium daily, I take a calcium supplement. Again, as with protein, not all calcium supplements are created equal — if you’d like to know which brand I’ve chosen, please feel free to leave a comment with your contact info and I’ll be happy to share my source.
Cheese also contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a fat that is thought to help blood glucose enter body cells so it can be burned for energy and not stored as fat. It’s also believed that CLA may help to promote fat burning, especially in muscles, where the bulk of our calorie burning takes place. Studies have shown that 4 grams of CLA daily helped participants burn more fat — even while they were asleep.
How: Stick with mozzarella or another low-fat cheese like feta and cottage cheese. Top half a cup of low-fat cottage cheese with fruit and/or nuts or have one slice of low-fat cheddar or mozzarella with Wasa or Kavli crispbread crackers or whole grain bread to up your Resistant Starch.
Tip: Try sharp cheeses like Cabot 50% reduced fat Sharp Cheddar for maximum flavor in a smaller amount.
Peace, love and sexy mornings!
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