What Most Women Get Wrong About Breakfast
"Fuel like a queen for breakfast." ~Nancy Clark, MS, RD
What's for breakfast?
I ask because we work with too many women who skimp on breakfast, either in attempts to eat less or just not making it a priority. Many of these women come to us feeling fatigued, struggling with their weight or wrestling with 'out of control' sugar cravings.
No matter what your weight history, tell all those voices incessantly nagging you to eat less that it is time to sit down and shut up.
If you're trying to conceive, pregnant or postpartum, shortchanging your body on morning nutrients is not the solution to any of your woes. In fact, under-eating is one of the most common reasons women struggle with low energy and infertility.
Whether your goal is to make a healthy baby, to stay energized while pregnant or to discover your healthiest self postpartum, your breakfast routine is the place to start.
the 3 most common breakfast mistakes:
1. Skipping it all together.
Quick, overly-simplified biochemistry lesson: After an overnight fast (i.e. 6+ hours of sleep), your blood sugar (a.k.a. glucose) is depleted. Because glucose is the preferred fuel for your brain, internal sirens sound. In response, your highly intelligent body reroutes metabolic pathways to conserve energy (i.e. slow fat burn) and produce more glucose through the breakdown of muscle tissue into amino acids that can be quickly converted into energy for your vital organs.
Breakfast reverses this process to get your metabolism back on track.
Here are some of the documented benefits of a hearty breakfast:
- metabolism boost
- appetite and weight control (breakfast prevents overeating later in the day)
- fat burn / preservation of hard-earned muscles
- more regularity (high fiber breakfast gets things moving)
- better mood / less irritability
- more energy all day long
- improved mental focus
Yes, breakfast can take credit for all of those benefits.
IF YOU'RE PREGNANT, BREAKFAST IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.
Research shows that going too long without eating can stunt fetal development and induce preterm labor. Added bonus, breakfast is one of the best solutions to combat morning sickness.
2. Not eating enough protein.
As a mama or mama-to-be your nutrient needs are sky high.
With the food over-abundance in the U.S., you would think nutrient-deficiencies are rare. However, food quantity does not equate quality. The reality is that most of us are deficient in several vital nutrients. (To learn about your status, ask us about micronutrient testing).
One of the nutrients we find women struggling to get enough of, especially first thing in the a.m., is protein.
If you are:
- Preparing for pregnancy: Quality protein at breakfast is going to help you conceive by keeping your hormones and you blood sugar balanced, and by helping to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
- Growing a sweet new baby: During pregnancy, your protein needs increase by an estimated 39-73%!! Insufficient protein during pregnancy is linked to scary outcomes like low birth-weight baby, and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes later in life for baby-to-be.
To get enough protein, you need about 80 to 100g/day (work with us if interested in a more precise estimate of your specific protein needs). This is a challenging goal to achieve if you don't get a healthy protein hit at breakfast. Aim for about 20g of high quality protein for breakfast. Here are some ideas:
- 8 oz plain, organic Greek yogurt
- 2 eggs + piece of organic breakfast sausage
- Scoop of collagen protein in your smoothie
3. Waiting too long to eat it.
We recommend eating breakfast within hour of waking up. If you think of food as the fuel that energizes your day, why wait to feel good?
Here are some of our favorite recipes that you can batch cook in advance to have breakfast ready-to-go on fly.
Now it's your turn. Share your favorite breakfast solutions in the comments below.