Unless you live under a rock, someone’s probably told you at least once in your life that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; it’s true. That doesn’t mean whatever you put in your body that morning is essential. Our bodies need certain types of fuels to help launch us through the day, certain fuels that will go uncredited in all of your future success. Erica Giovinazzo, MS, RD, a nutritionist at Clay Health Club in NYC recommends aiming for a combination of protein, good carbohydrates, and fibers for a well-balanced breakfast.
Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for the body. The digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). The body uses this sugar for energy for the cells, tissues and organs. Anything that doesn’t come from an animal contains carbs so they aren’t hard to find. It gets tricky when searching for the good carbs. The first place not to look is in any foods with “added sugar” or “white” grains (i.e. white bread), those are bad carbs.
Whole grains are safe carbs because they are high in fiber which makes for a healthier digestive system. They also help stabilize blood sugar; diabetes can wait another day. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals that help boost nutrient density. Another pro is that they are slow digesting, keeping us satisfied longer—preventing any chances of overeating later in the day. A couple of easily accessible suggestions for this part of your balanced breakfast would be two slices of buttered whole wheat toast or a serving of oatmeal.
The next type of fuel that should be added to the morning routine is protein. Adding protein to the morning meal will satiate one’s appetite and keeps the mind free of potential candidates for lunch time and geared more towards future ambitions. A simple way to get this essential macronutrient is from any sort of meat, preferably white meats like turkey or chicken. Red meats are good for you, but too much red meat can cause a drastic increase in your cholesterol levels. Another good way to get protein is in eggs. The egg whites are loaded with protein, and if you take out the yolk (heavily equipped with fats), then it’s strictly protein consumption. Egg whites are also sold by the carton at the grocery store.
Fibers are underrated. Fiber helps assist in digestion and prevent constipation. Basically, fibers allow the food consumed to continuously move through the body. There are two types of fibers; soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber lures water and transforms it to gel during digestion. As a result, this slows digestive activity. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the body because soluble fibers aid lower cholesterol and in turn, prevent heart disease. Soluble fibers can be found in any kind of oat, nut, or bean. The other type of fiber is insoluble and those perform opposing duties by speeding up the digestion process. These fibers can be found in any vegetable or fruit. For the sake of this article, applying insoluble fiber to that morning meal will be more beneficial, a fresh orange should get the job done.
A side-note to keep in mind, for those who want to get all three nutrients into one packed source then Granola is your go-to. Dousing some milk (or almond/cashew milk) on a serving of granola will corral approximately 40 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber; plenty of energy to help make it to lunch time.
A nice simple, nutrient-dense breakfast will give a person that jolt start to the day and won’t provoke an “afternoon crash” by the time lunch rolls around. Combining carbs with protein to the morning regiment will eliminate the distraction of being hungry and energize the body. Don’t forget to include fibers too because they help strengthen the digestive system. Incorporating these three essential nutrients into the start of your day will do wonders for you.
by Anthony Shaw, ACC Student