Sunday, April 6, 2014

Energize Your Morning

Last week I wrote about how you can eat to fight off the afternoon doldrums.  But how can you start your day strong and full of energy?  What can you eat at breakfast that has “staying power” to get you through until lunch without hunger pains taking over at 10 AM?  Although the morning slump and being tired may have many reasons, one reason could be nutrition and what you are fueling yourself with at breakfast.
  1. Eat Breakfast – eat something.  Your body has been on “starvation” mode all night and now is running on empty.  You need to refuel to fill that empty tank.  Eating breakfast will help you be more alert, improve your concentration and even help you keep the pounds off as you won’t be heading for the snack machine at 10 AM. 
  2.  Carbs – carbs provide the instant, short-term energy.  But not the “bad” carbs, the highly processed white flour and sugar carbs.  Eat the fruit for instant energy, the whole grains for a slower burn of energy.  Fill up on whole grains, a whole grain cereal like Cheerios or oatmeal, whole grain bagel, whole grain toast.  These are the slowing burning carbs, which will fuel you longer.  I love the 100 calorie whole wheat bagel thins.  I can enjoy every bite and know I am only getting 100 calories.  If you aren’t worried about calories, then go for a regular whole wheat bagel
  3.    Protein – you need carbs for the instant and short term energy.  But it is the protein that has the staying power.  It takes longer to digest protein.   So eat the carbs to get you out the door and to start your day, but add the protein to prevent the mid-morning slump and get you to lunch.
“Energy” Breakfasts
  • Whole grain bagel with Cheese – 2% cheese would cut the saturated fat
  • Whole Grain cereal with fruit and low fat milk
  • Whole Grain toast with peanut butter and fruit
  • Whole wheat pita with a hard boiled eggs (eggs are low in calorie and have the highest quality protein)
  • Scrambled eggs with some cheese and whole grain toast or whole grain bagel thin and fruit
  • Oatmeal and raisins, low fat milk – one of my favorite breakfasts
  • Whole grain toast and jam, fruit and yogurt – yogurt is an excellent choice for protein
  • Breakfast bar, yogurt and a banana
  • Granola, yogurt and fruit
So many easy ways to combine “good” carbs and protein at breakfast.  What do the experts say about carbs?  According to Dave Grotto, RD, Director of Nutrition, Block Center,   “Although carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation, the nutrient is still the body’s preferred source of energy.  Low-carb diets initially boost energy but deplete it in the long run.”

Source: Foods to Fight Fatigue   Image Source:  Sandra's recipes

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