With our busy schedules and not everyone is an early bird, we know it’s hard to keep up a daily routine of getting up at 5:30 in the morning and eating a proper breakfast. But it’s true when you hear breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because it really is.
One of the easier and often overlooked ways to maintain our mental health is through the role of nutrition — there’s no denying that what we choose to put in our bodies directly affects how we look, feel, and function overall. Luckily, the best way to set ourselves up for a success day, both mentally and physically, starts with one healthy habit: a consistent breakfast routine.
Quarantine is the best time to press that reset button in your life and create healthier habits that will benefit you both mentally and physically. Whether you are a regular breakfast skipper, or feel like you don’t have enough time to make a decent meal for yourself before starting your work day, now is the perfect time to change your ways — and improve your mental health in the process.
Here’s 5 reasons why you should be eating breakfast every day for a happy head and heart, and a few of our favorite ways to jumpstart your day in the kitchen.
Choosing the right foods to properly refuel when you wake up can improve your focus and memory. The foods we eat first thing in the morning can improve our short-term memory and provide our bodies with the energy we need to focus and concentrate throughout the day. But, there’s a fine line between refueling your brain with proper nutrition, and eating a breakfast that will leave you feeling sluggish, rather than alert. If you have a big day ahead where you’ll need to be sharp or focused, loading up on a healthy breakfast is one of the best ways to set yourself up to be the best version of yourself, all day long.
A Balanced Mood
A healthy breakfast can also lead to a better, more positive and even-keeled mood. Missing meals, especially breakfast, can cause blood sugar, which causes irritability, fatigue, and brain fog. It can even cause your brain to produce excess cortisol, making you feel stressed and anxious. By starting your day on a positive and happy note, you’ll feel ready to conquer anyone, and any obstacle that comes your way.
Increase Your Metabolism
Eating breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism, and actually helps you burn more calories throughout the day.
Studies found that people who skip breakfast eat slightly fewer calories during the day, they tend to have higher body mass index, or BMI, says Christy C. Tangney, PhD, a clinical dietitian at Rush University Medical Center.
A healthy breakfast not only replenishes brain energy, but it also helps kick start your metabolism, reduces hunger levels, and can also help you make smarter food choices throughout the rest of the day.
Can Help Lower Stress
Realistically, we all endure a bit of stress first thing in the morning — especially during these weird, crazy days quarantined at home. From needing to all-of-a-sudden homeschool your kids, while simultaneously work from home, while also needing to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner — mornings can be an extremely stressful time.
Our hectic and rushed days can lead to an increase in stress hormones in the bloodstream, which can seriously affect your behavior throughout the day.
By eating a breakfast filled with a combo of complex carbs, healthy fats, and protein from whole food sources — you’ll set yourself up to be the best version of yourself for the day ahead.
Improves Brain Development
The old saying “you are what you eat” couldn’t be truer, according to Roxanne Sukol, MD. “When we eat real food that nourishes us, it becomes the protein-building blocks, enzymes, brain tissue, and neurotransmitters that transfer information and signals between various parts of the brain and body,” she says.
This means that what we consume throughout the day plays an integral role in how our brain operates, grows, and functions overall — which is why you may want to reconsider eating that drive-thru breakfast sandwich… (Unless it’s Chick-fil-A…)
So, what should you eat?
Remember, it’s not just about eating breakfast — it’s about eating a healthy, balanced meal to jumpstart your day.
With so many proven health benefits, this needs to be a priority for each and every one of us — now more than ever.
Below are some of our favorite go-to healthy breakfast options:
Raspberry Chia Yogurt Cups
This raspberry chia yogurt pudding is basically just throwing things in a glass jar and letting them hang out in the fridge overnight. And when you wake up in the morning, you can layer it with the yogurt, granola, and berries in a mason jar. Easy peasy, and so delicious!
Avocado Toast with a Jammy Egg
This ultimate avocado toast topped with roasted tomatoes and a soft-boiled egg is an incredibly easy breakfast solution that takes about 5 minutes from start to finish. Don’t forget the ‘everything but the bagel’ seasoning sprinkled on top!
Veggie Packed Egg White Bites
These oven-baked copycat Starbucks egg white bites are a great way to prep a ton of low-carb, healthy breakfast items all at once. They are seriously the most perfect and easy meal prep breakfast. You can make a batch of them over the weekend and keep the leftovers in the fridge.
Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal
Apples, walnuts, and oats get baked in cinnamon and sugar, and the results taste, well, pretty much like apple pie. If you want it to be made gluten-free, you can just use “gluten-free rolled oats” and vegan by using almond milk and sub coconut oil for butter. Everyone can dig in, regardless of dietary restrictions.
Swirled Yogurt & Smoothie Bowl
Smoothies check all the healthy boxes, but sometimes drinking your breakfast isn’t really what we want to kickstart your day.
So here’s the smoothie yogurt bowl which combines all the healthy superpowers of a smoothie but also requires a bowl and spoon which feels a little more hearty.
Anytime Breakfast Bowl
This power bowl is the perfect breakfast meal — it’s warm and filling, vegetable forward, and also conveniently happens to makes use of some common dinner leftovers. You can top your bowl with avocado, hot sauce, or leftover pesto. Or you can also add extra grilled veggies, meat, or smoked salmon on top.
With all these healthy benefits and a few hearty, go-to breakfast options, you’ve got no excuse to ignore your body’s needs and skip the most important meal of the day. A healthy and proper breakfast will keep you on your game and prevent energy crashes.