There is a common thought that breakfast is the most important meal that you consume. While it does not solely determine your progress, a good breakfast will set you up for the day, both in terms of your diet and your energy levels. The time that you have your breakfast is entirely dependent on your preferences and goals – some people love to do intermittent fasting (delaying your first meal until later in the morning), while others prefer to have their first meal earlier.
Getting in shape is not all about what you consume (although that is still important) but is even more about how much you consume. Nevertheless, a good, healthy and well-balanced breakfast is going to set the tone for your day and it is essential that you consume it, so that you are on track with your nutrition and so that you are ready for your training, exercise, and other daily tasks.
The first thing I would always recommend you do, as soon as you get up, is rehydrate. Hydration plays a huge part in maintaining a healthy body, making sure the vital organs function properly and providing necessary nutrients to get you going in the morning. Your breakfast will soon follow, whatever time you have it, but what should you be consuming? Here are some of the best breakfasts you can have to start your day right during your fitness journey.
One of the best breakfasts you can have is an oatmeal bowl. This is a popular one for several reasons: it provides you with excellent, slow-releasing carbohydrates, contains a good source of protein, is a filling meal, is easy to make, is tasty, and is incredibly healthy. Oatmeal is full of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds – most notably avenanthramides, which help lower blood pressure, dilate blood vessels, lead to better blood flow and reduce oxidative stress in the body.
The issue people have, however, is that oatmeal on its own is pretty bland. So, when having an oatmeal bowl, you want to add in other things, such as peanut butter, cinnamon, berries, other fruit, honey, seeds, granola, almond/oat milk, Greek yogurt, and protein powder – the latter will help bump up the protein in your oatmeal. Track everything you include so that you know how many calories you are going to consume, and experiment with different ingredients. Oatmeal bowls are many people’s favourite meal of the day and it is easy to see why.
Another great, healthy breakfast that suits your goal of getting in shape and improving your health is a smoothie. Similarly to an oatmeal bowl, smoothies are incredibly versatile, healthy, and convenient. You can add all your favourite ingredients into a blender and have it ready within seconds. Again, if you are new to this, you will have to experiment for a while to know what you would like to include. The addition of protein powder (1-2 scoops) will increase the protein massively and get you off to a great start when trying to consistently hit your protein target.
Like everything, make sure that you track what you include (weight the ingredients and then work out the calories and macronutrients, which are usually on the back of the packet) so that you know how many calories you are going to consume. Once you find that out and then regularly consume the same quantity of particular ingredients, you will soon know the calories and macronutrients included – if you make any changes, make sure you then track it. In addition to the health benefits, many people find smoothies incredibly tasty and an easy way of getting their calories in. If you are someone who struggles with this, an enjoyable and healthy morning smoothie could be the thing for you.
One of the most popular ingredients in morning meals are eggs. They are tasty, nutritious, packed with protein, convenient, and very versatile – you can make them scrambled, poached, fried, boiled, or in an omelette. How you decide to make your eggs is entirely up to you and your preferences but including them in your diet is going to be a great way of getting your protein in, consuming a plethora of nutrients and making your diet more enjoyable and therefore more sustainable. Each egg contains 60-90 calories and 6-9 grams of protein, depending on its size. So, if you enjoy them, include them!
Smoked Salmon on Toast
A perhaps underrated but equally effective breakfast, smoked salmon on toast has many plus points – it is easy and quick to make, high in protein, relatively low in calories, very healthy and nutritious, relatively high in carbohydrates and healthy fats, and tasty. This is a great breakfast, especially when your aim is to lose weight or body fat because of the high protein, low-calorie properties. Smoked salmon is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, high in Vitamin B and contains the antioxidant, Astaxanthin. If you have the option, go for wild salmon instead of farmed salmon, as it is even richer in nutrients and does not contain any potentially harmful chemicals.
This may be not a hugely popular one, but plenty of people like to consume a substantial savoury meal for their breakfast. This would usually include a strong source of protein (meat, fish, other seafood), a good portion of carbohydrates (white rice, brown rice, pasta, potatoes) and a large serving of vegetables. Although this type of meal may not be the common demand in the morning, many people prefer it because it includes everything you need – excellent amount of protein, a good source of energy and lots of nutrients. Others prefer to have this type of meal in the afternoon or evening but if you are someone who likes a savoury meal first thing, then this could be the one for you.
There are other good breakfast options that will suit your diet. These include Greek Yoghurt (mixed with other ingredients, such as granola, honey and berries), protein pancakes, protein cereal (Weetabix protein is a great option), an occasional fry up (bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms), or a regular sandwich (ham or smoked salmon, for example). If you are not sure what to have, these can give you more options and more variety for your breakfast. You will soon find one you like and find it easy to include.
So, it is very important that your first meal of the day is a good one. It gets you off to a good start when it comes to your nutrition and provides you with excellent energy for your training, exercise and daily tasks. These breakfast ideas are not only beneficial, but they are also tasty and if you enjoy them and include them, you are more likely to stick to your diet, long-term, and make great progress as a result.
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