by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND
If you regularly skip breakfast, try these small steps to establish a healthy breakfast habit.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”
“Eat breakfast like a king!”
“Eat diamonds for breakfast and shine the whole day!”
For those who eat breakfast regularly, they’re words to live by. But what if you skip breakfast? You hear those words, and you just feel guilty. You know you should eat, but it’s hard if you’ve been up for hours and your stomach is still sleeping in. You know that breakfast really is important – and that the right foods in the morning really can help you “shine all day”. So the question is, why aren’t you hungry? And is there anything you can do about it?
Figuring out why you can’t face food in the morning can be tricky. Sometimes it’s just a long-standing habit – you just never got into the breakfast routine. And, since you manage to get through your morning okay, you just tell yourself you don’t really need to eat. Maybe you aren’t hungry in the morning because you routinely eat an enormous dinner and snack all night until bedtime. Maybe you simply don’t like breakfast food or you just rely on a pot of strong black coffee to get you going.
Those who don’t eat in the morning have likely heard all the reasons they should try to break the breakfast-skipping habit. But just in case you need a reminder – here’s a quick recap. When you get up in the morning, you’ve gone a pretty long stretch without eating. And even though you’ve been sleeping, your body has been tapping into stored fuel to keep your systems going. So if you don’t top off your tank in the morning, you’ll lack the mental and physical energy you need to get through your workout and your workday. Not only that, the breakfast habit is associated with better weight management and a better diet overall. The vast majority of those who have successfully lost weight, and kept it off, eat breakfast nearly every day. On the other hand, people who skip breakfast consume more fat, cholesterol, calories, and sugar – and fewer fruits and vegetables – than those who routinely eat breakfast.
Here are some tips to help you to eat better in the morning, so you, too, can “shine all day”:
Start small and light
Ease into the habit with small portions of easy-to-digest foods that are nutrient-packed. Try a protein shake with fruit, or a dab of nonfat cottage cheese or a hard-boiled egg with a piece of fruit on the side.
Include some protein
Protein is important because it not only helps to keep you satisfied, it also helps keep you mentally alert. And one study showed that those who eat a high protein breakfast take in 200 fewer calories during the evening.
Break your meal into small snacks
You don’t need to eat your entire meal at once. Sip on your shake throughout the morning, or have your cottage cheese or egg first, and your fruit an hour or so later.
Get up 15 minutes earlier
An extra 15 minutes in the morning can make all the difference to those who are rushed to get out the door. You’ll not only have time to make something quick, you’ll also give your system a chance to wake up.
Eat what appeals to you
There’s no rule that says you have to eat ‘breakfast food’ in the morning. A few bites of leftover chicken and veggie stir-fry might just do the trick.
Don’t rely on just ‘coffee and a muffin’
Many people think they’re not really eating breakfast when they grab “just a coffee and a pastry” at the coffee store. But that innocent looking coffee drink coupled with a bran muffin could dump more than 700 calories and 6 teaspoons of grease into your system.
Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.
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