Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

Yes! And here’s why.

When we start our day with a healthy, nutrient-dense meal, we set our day up for success when it comes to our nutrition. Our insulin level is balanced, our energy is on point, we are better able to learn, stay focused, and complete tasks. Not only that, but it sets the tone for our day — we are much more apt to have a healthy lunch, snacks and dinner if we start our day in a healthy way.

So, how do we do it?

Finding a breakfast that you enjoy, and fits in with your lifestyle is key. When we look at centenarians (those living for 100+ years) they have their largest meal in the morning, medium meal at lunch and their smallest at dinner. It makes sense right? Have the majority of your calories at the beginning of the day so you can use them throughout the day for all the activities that you do. But not everyone has a ton of time in the morning to create something lavish.

Here are some of my best breakfast swap tips to make your breakfast one step healthier:

  • Make breakfast at home. No matter what you do to break the morning fast, making it is at home versus purchasing it at a drive-through is guaranteed to be a healthier decision;
  • Be sure to have at least one serving of fruit or veggies at breakfast. This could be sliced tomato, a banana or apple with peanut butter, a bowl of berries. Getting at least one fiber-rich item on your plate is key;
  • Is toast your thing? Aim for WHOLE GRAIN bread over other options. When we keep the grain intact it is the healthiest option;
  • Using peanut butter on that toast or with your apple slices? Purchase a ‘peanut only’ option. Avoid the options that have added sugar or added salt. ‘Just the nuts’ is the way to go;
  • A really easy way to make your toast go from good to great is add a sprinkle of hemp seeds to it. Peanut butter, hemp seeds and honey; or coconut oil, hemp seeds and farmer’s market jam are two of my favorites;
  • If you like something sweeter in the morning, try chia seed pudding topped with your favorite berries. I have included a great recipe for this below;
  • Yogurt parfait your go to? It is really important to use PLAIN yogurt and avoid any of the high-sugar flavoured options. This will allow for you to have sustained blood sugar levels and energy throughout the morning. Plain Greek high fat yogurt is my go-to. I have a great recipe for this one below too;
  • Oatmeal – the best breakfast if done right! Avoid the instant oatmeal that has added sugar. Overnight is best, but not always an option due to time. On the stove with little to no sugar added is key. Flavour it up with berries, honey, nuts and seeds;
  • Eggs are a great way to start the day…and vegetarian omelette is fantastic. Spinach, Asian mushrooms, tomato, olives – keep things flavourFULL. When choosing eggs at the grocery store, brown and white are the same nutrient value. Opt for an omega rich egg, ideally free-run, cage-free and organic if possible. Our egg yolks should be vibrant orange in color…faded yellow is not the sign we are looking for. Eggs whites have a lot of protein, but the most nutritious elements are in the yolk…and great for brain health! One a day is more than okay! 

A well-rounded breakfast, no matter what you make of it, is important. We want to ensure we have complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats and fruit and/or veggies. Some sample ideas: 

    • Egg and veggie omelette, with half an avocado on the side, one piece of whole-grain toast;
    • High-fat Greek plain yogurt with berries, honey, nuts and seeds;
    • Oatmeal with nuts, seeds, berries and a splash of oat or almond milk;
    • Banana and peanut butter…because sometimes we are in a rush!

Last but not least let’s talk bevvies. We want to ensure we are hydrated with the best of the best first thing in the morning. I try to get two glasses of water in before breakfast, and one shortly after. Staying hydrated is an important piece to our overall health and wellness. But what about other drinks? Here are my best tips:

    • Ditch the fruit juice. The high-sugar drink option is not a healthy decision. Even if it says no sugar added;
    • Coffee is great…in moderation. We shouldn’t need more than two cups of coffee per day. Avoid coffeemate, sugar and artificial sweetener. Try using a dairy alternative creamer such as Silk Coconut / Oat Half & Half;
    • Tea is terrific…green is best! Consider adding some honey to sweeten the deal.

Now it’s time for a few of my favorite good morning recipes. While mentioned above, these four are my go-to’s for breakfast every morning at our kitchen table:

  1. Yogurt Parfait.
  • Start with a mix of your favorite berries – strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries. Approximately one full cup.
  • Top the berries with high-fat Greek plain yogurt. Approximately ¾ cup
  • Pending what you enjoy for a flavour profile, the next step has a few options, or you can do them all, mix & enjoy!
    • 2 tablespoons of organic or homemade granola;
    • 1 tablespoon of no salt pumpkin seeds;
    • 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds;
    • If you prefer a mulled seed option, North Coast Naturals Daily Cleanse is fantastic;
  1. Oatmeal!
  • My favorite brand is Gorp Oatmeal Blend, Roasted Nuts, Flax & Seeds flavour. I make the four servings option and it lasts two days for myself and my little one. Rolled overnight oats are great, but not conducive to my lifestyle, so this works great!
  • I continue to add a few things:
    • Half to ¾ tablespoon of chia seeds
    • Approximately ¾ tablespoon of organic maple syrup
    • A ‘titch’ of oat milk
    • ¼ cup of blueberries
  • Mix and enjoy!
  1. Chia Pudding. So easy, tasty and healthy
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • Half a cup of almond milk or other milk substitute
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or organic maple syrup
  • Fruit to top

Pour ingredients into a jar and mix well. Let it settle for 3-4 minutes and then mix again to ensure you do not see any clumps.  Cover the jar and store in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, top with fruit, and enjoy cold!

  1. Eggs, Veggies & Toast

While this sounds pretty obvious, it is something I enjoy every Saturday morning, and I like to ensure it is made with a ton of health benefits in mind to have me ready for a fun-filled day. Here’s what I do:

  • In a pan on medium heat, heat one tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Add veggies of choice — typically this is spinach and organic shitake mushrooms. Sometimes I will do a ‘Greek flavoured’ option and add Kalamata olives, baby tomatoes and a small pinch of feta cheese. Otherwise, spinach and shitake it is!
  • Once the veggies have been cooked down, I add two beaten omega-rich eggs to cover the veggies.
  • Sprinkle on approximately half a tablespoon of turmeric
  • While I would love to say this is an omelette, my skills tend to make this appear more as scrambled eggs! I cook until the egg is full cooked, remove from heat and place on a plate
  • While this is happening, I toast 1-2 slices of bread. I typically will go for an artisan whole grain bread, but also enjoy rye bread sometimes too! I leave the toast dry.
  • On the side, I add half of an avocado, sliced
  • On the ‘non Greek days’ I add approximately two tablespoons of salsa or pico de galo
  • Eat and Enjoy!

I hope you have learned something here that inspires you to take your meals one step healthier. With every choice at the grocery store and every step into the kitchen, we have a choice. Is this meal going to help us and heal us or not. I choose every day to make every meal one step healthier.

For more great nutrition tips, be sure to sign up for my newsletter here!