There is some truth to the common saying that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Your first meal influences everything from your mood and energy levels to your metabolism and blood sugar. Yes, it’s that powerful. A nourishing, protein-packed breakfast can give you lasting energy to slay your morning. Conversely, a mediocre breakfast choice can leave you feeling sluggish, unmotivated, and reaching for a third cup of coffee. Whether you’re a busy professional or the CEO of your household, it’s essential to choose fuel for your brain and body. Mood-boosting breakfast, anyone? Let’s dig into breakfast ideas that don’t include a sugar crash.
We’re sharing tips and tricks to start your day off on the right foot: healthy breakfast edition. We’ll also explore the importance of a nourishing breakfast for stable mood and energy. If you’re in a breakfast rut, you’ve come to the right place.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
Do you prioritize breakfast?
Here at Camille Styles, we often go to bed excited to open the fridge in the morning. In addition, scoping out Austin’s best coffee shops is a weekend habit. With that in mind, do you prioritize breakfast? And is your plate satisfying and nutritious? Are you hungry shortly after waking—or do you wait hours for your first meal? In the spirit of hormonal balance and a subsequent mood boost, eating a balanced breakfast is truly game changing.
Breakfast: Why You Should Prioritize It
In many ways, eating a healthy breakfast is key to a balanced, energized day. It provides essential nutrients to fuel every cell in your body, including glucose for your brain to function properly. Hate to break it to you, but coffee isn’t breakfast! So, why should you prioritize a nutrient-dense meal early in the morning?
- Boosts metabolism. Eating breakfast supports a robust metabolism (the process by which your body converts food into energy). Without breakfast, you’re running on cortisol (stress hormone), which can cause a sluggish metabolism.
- Provides essential nutrients. Whether you’re having a protein-packed smoothie or a bowl of Greek yogurt, break your nightly fast with vitamins, minerals, and fiber for overall health.
- Improves cognitive function. No surprise, but breakfast can help improve cognitive function— including memory, focus, and attention. Studies show that people who eat breakfast tend to perform better on tasks that require concentration and problem-solving.
- Regulates blood sugar. Eating breakfast can help regulate blood sugar levels (so long as you aren’t inhaling a doughnut!), which is especially important for stable energy and mood.
- Reduces cravings. Ever skipped breakfast and notice intense hunger pangs and sugar cravings later in the day? This is no coincidence. However, eating a balanced breakfast helps manage blood sugar, thus reducing cravings and aiding in satiation.
What is a healthy breakfast?
Inevitably, a healthy breakfast looks different for everyone. Based on factors like lifestyle, culture, genetics, and cravings, what you eat—first thing in the morning—is unique to you. Furthermore, how much food you need to feel satisfied and satiated is going to fluctuate, day-to-day. Not to mention, it’s going be different from your partner, spouse, roommate, or sibling.
However, a good universal rule of thumb is this: a healthy breakfast contains high-quality protein, natural fats, complex carbs, and fiber. All of these components help balance hormones, aid in blood sugar management, and support stable energy.
Healthy Breakfast Ingredients
When in doubt, think variety. After all, embracing diverse breakfast ingredients can help you create a balanced and nutritious breakfast. That said, there’s no need to overcomplicate. Pick a handful of these ingredients, and you’re good to go! When in doubt, prep chia pudding or overnight oats the evening before.
High in protein and healthy fats, eggs are a convenient breakfast option. Make a batch of hard-boiled eggs or a frittata for the week ahead. Breakfast is served!
Berries are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Fresh or frozen, they add tremendous flavor to sweet and savory breakfasts. Additionally, berries have a low glycemic index, which means they are less likely to cause a spike in blood sugar levels (key for stable mood and energy!).
Rich in protein and probiotics, Greek yogurt supports gut health and provides sustained energy. Top your bowl with chia seeds, ground flax, chopped apple, and a generous drizzle of nut butter.
Switch up your typical slice of sourdough for a roasted sweet potato (you can easily meal prep these over the weekend). Sweet potatoes are a nutritious and versatile root veggie with a range of health benefits: vitamin A, antioxidants, and more.
We love a hearty bowl of oatmeal. Oats are an energizing source of fiber and complex carbohydrates, providing lasting energy. To minimize a glucose spike, take a peek at these fiber-rich oatmeal recipes!
Nuts And Seeds
Hello, fiber and healthy fats! Nuts and seeds can be added to yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies for a boost of (blood sugar-friendly) nutrition.
Vegetables like spinach, peppers, and mushrooms can be added to omelets or breakfast sandwiches for extra nutrients and flavor.
Start With Sugar, Crave Sugar (All Day Long)
As your first meal of the day, breakfast has the ability to set the tone for your entire morning. In fact, it can influence your food choices for the rest of the day. If you start with healthy choices, you’re more likely to eat nourishing foods afterward. Said differently: if you start with a bowl of sugary cereal, you’re more likely to crave refined carbs and added sugar as the day progresses. However, by choosing quality protein, complex carbs, and satiating fats (avocado, ghee, nut butter, etc.), you’re providing your body with wholesome calories.
How Breakfast Supports Balanced Hormones
Whether you’re hoping for better energy, a more stable mood, or balanced hormones, a nutrient-dense breakfast is the gateway to—drumroll—all of these things! In particular, breakfast is an effective way to support your hormones. Optimal ingredients and optimal timing (eating within 60 minutes of waking) help balance hormones like cortisol and insulin. And this is important because we don’t want to run on stress and insulin all day! This can quickly throw hormones like progesterone and estrogen out of whack. Moral of the story: a balanced breakfast is the backbone of balanced hormones.
Timing Is Everything
Keep in mind that the timing of your breakfast is also crucial. In other words, what and when you eat contributes to a stable mood and happy hormones—especially for women. Eating within 30-60 minutes of rising is necessary for re-energizing and re-hydrating your body. It also supports a healthy liver and metabolism. Think of it this way: you can’t drive your car without gas, so don’t ask your body to go anywhere without fuel. If you don’t currently wake up hungry, start with something light: a rice cake with almond butter and cinnamon, a hard-boiled egg with a few strawberries, or half an apple with a string cheese.
Are you suppressing your morning appetite?
With all things breakfast in mind, it’s worth an honest check-in. Am I truly not hungry in the morning, or am I possibly suppressing my appetite? There’s a significant difference. To begin, consider if you’re connecting with your natural appetite—or trying to ignore it. Do you feel stressed, fatigued, or ravenous by lunchtime? If so, fasting all morning may not be as beneficial as think. Keep in mind that missing your morning meal confuses your hunger hormones, setting you up to overeat later on.
Mood-Boosting Breakfast Ideas
In need of mood-boosting breakfast ideas? We have you covered. From antioxidant-rich smoothies to breakfast boards and baked oatmeal, breakfast is our love language. And if you can’t do eggs, here are 10 healthy no-egg breakfast ideas.
As for less ideal breakfast options, let’s review.
- A bowl of granola with oat milk. Easy way to spike blood sugar.
- Pancakes doused in a river of maple syrup. High in sugar and lacking adequate protein.
- A bagel. High in refined carbohydrates and low in protein.
- Low-fat yogurt. Typically sweetened with cane sugar.
Remember, a healthy breakfast doesn’t have to break the bank or take ample time. See how you feel adding more variety to your morning meal! A mood-boosting breakfast awaits.