Breakfast: It's one of the most common discussions I have with new clients. And while most know they should eat breakfast (whether they are in the habit of skipping it or not), the confusion is often what to eat.
I spend a great deal of time educating clients on the importance of FOOD AS FUEL, and taking into consideration the nutritional value of their meals' components. Breakfast is a tough one because, well... it's so early... and gets easily disregarded to save time.
However, not fueling properly in the morning can set off a negative biological chain reaction that lasts the whole day. (I'll discuss that further in a future post).
So, plan out your breakfast -- Make it happen. And as long as you're planning it out, here are some general guidelines (individual dietary considerations excluded) to making the most out of your morning:
Calories: Aim for a range between 300 - 400. 300 to 350 for weight loss, and 350 to 400 to maintain weight, particularly if you're working out.
Carbs: About half your breakfast calories should be carbs -- somewhere around 38 to 50 grams. Choose whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Not all carbs are created equal, so pass on the sugary, overly processed foods or those made with enriched white flour.
Protein: About 25 percent of your breakfast calorie amount should be protein, which works out to about 19 to 25 grams. Getting sufficient protein at breakfast is essential to keep you satisfied throughout the morning. Additionally, studies have shown that getting at least 20 grams of protein at breakfast may help you lose weight. Eggs, dairy products, protein powder in smoothies, nuts and seeds, and whole grains are great sources of protein.
Fats: Aim for about 8 to 12 grams, which is approximately 25 percent of your total breakfast calories. Instead of saturated fats like bacon, pork sausage, dairy butter, and cheese, choose monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) like olive oil, nuts and seeds, and avocado.
Fiber: Try for approximately 25 percent of your recommended daily total of 25 grams --about 6 grams. More is fine if your constitution can handle it. Berries, pears, apples, greens and other veggies, nuts, seeds, and whole grains will get you there.
Sugars: Chances are if your carbs are in line in quantity and quality (non-processed, no refined sugars or flours) your sugar intake will be fine. As a general rule, try to keep breakfast sugars to 25g or less. As far as added sugar, try not to exceed 6 grams — (about 1.5 teaspoons of white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, or agave).
What do I eat for breakfast? Stay tuned for Part 2...
Balancing your nutrients in a pleasurable way can be tricky. Without an intentional plan, most find they are eating far too many of certain macros, and not nearly enough of others. Particularly if you are working on your fitness and working to build lean muscle, getting enough protein can be tricky.
And then there is the issue of boredom. It's Friday night, you've worked hard all week, and the last thing you want to eat is another boring chicken breast. You want flavor, maybe something savory... maybe something that will do a glass of wine justice. I get it. Me too.
While many have chicken breast heavily represented on their meal plans, the more savory duck breast is often overlooked. True, it has a fair amount of fat attached to it, but the vast majority of fat is right underneath the skin. Simply remove the skin before cooking, and you've got a much leaner and meaner bird (just be sure to keep it moist).
It's the beginning of August. And just as it happens every year, at this time, I hear an overwhelming number of people profess their defeat. It's over. They have failed. Their New Year's resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle, lose weight, etc. have not only tanked, but in many cases, they've even lost ground in the battle of the bulge, and have put more weight on since December. Summer came and is quickly becoming a memory, while the beach body they promised themselves never happened.
They are failures. And while standing in the checkout lines of back-to-school shopping, or drowned in the ocean of post-summer vacation piled up workloads, they have decided it's unequivocally over for the year.