Written for the River Current publication, May 15, 2014
Your mother was right…breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! Not only does it give you the energy to start a new day, but breakfast is linked to many health benefits, including weight control and improved performance.
Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast (rather than the double-doughnut kind...be serious, who can eat just one doughnut) can help give you:
· A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins and minerals
· Improved concentration and performance in the classroom or at work
· More strength and endurance to engage in physical activity
· Lower cholesterol levels
Many studies, in both adults and children, have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers.
Why? One theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day, and help people make better food choices at other meals. Typically, hunger gets the best of breakfast-skippers, and they eat more at lunch and throughout the day.
There's truth behind the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But if you're trying to lose weight, not all breakfasts are created equal. A morning meal that's rich in protein can help you lose weight by keeping you full, satisfied and less likely to overeat.
A high-protein breakfast may aid weight loss because of the unique ways that protein affects hunger and appetite. Protein-rich foods take longer to digest, so they keep you feeling fuller longer (satiated) than other foods. Protein also keeps blood-sugar levels steady, which prevents the sudden hunger that occurs after a sugar dive. You burn more calories eating protein…because the body requires more energy to digest protein, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Most Americans get 10 to 15 grams of protein at breakfast, but according to recent studies, 30 grams may be the magic number to keep your appetite in check throughout the day. Protein is key for satiety because it activates the body’s signals that curb appetite, reduce food cravings and prevent overeating.
For whatever reason it may be, I am typically running late in the mornings. Preparing a nutritious morning meal does not work well into my frenzied Monday thru Friday mad race to get out the door. Instead, I have tried to find nutritious, protein-heavy snacks that I can munch on as I am getting ready. Here is a delicious little nugget that is packed full of protein, fiber, calcium, folic acid, iron, niacin, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids…just to name a few! A couple of these, along with my cup of coffee and I am ready to blast right into the day!
ENERGY ORBS TO START YOUR DAY
1 cup old- fashioned oatmeal2/3 cup toasted coconut
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal
1/3 cup mini choc chips or cacao nibs
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the fridge for one hour.
2. Roll into balls…I used a small scoop, to scoop up the dough and then rolled them into 1” balls. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.