Sunday, October 16, 2011

Breakfast: What You Should Have, And Why

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  There is no denying it.  This post will explain what you should have when you finally decide to crawl out of bed, why you should have it, and how it'll help you.

Why?  Because your body has been starving for 8 hours up until breakfast.  It's in a catabolic state (muscle fibers are deteriorating) right until it gets that next little bit of food.  The longer your body is in this state, the more essential muscle fiber you will lose, and the more your metabolism will decrease.  An early breakfast can help reverse this state quickly and kick your metabolism into high gear.

Breakfast will also be the meal your body depends on most throughout the day for energy.  So the pressure's on to make this meal your best (if you're going to choose just one).  But what can you eat that will ensure your body a good start to the day, and in turn produce a great feeling that'll keep you smiling and awake as the hours roll by?

A good place to start is with a good helping of natural, complex carbohydrates.  These will feed your body all day, and give you lasting energy, not to mention your muscles will get constant fuel.  For your carbs, you have lots of options.

You could have:

-Two slices of whole wheat toast

-A whole wheat bagel

-Whole grain cereal (be careful on this one, a lot of cereals are absolutely LOADED with sugar, read the nutritional label and attempt to find a cereal high in dietary fiber and relatively low in sugar.  Cereal advertising oats, bran and whole wheat is a good place to start.  I would recommend some of Kashi's cereal).

-Whole wheat English muffin

-My personal favorite, and still probably the top contender for the all around BEST breakfast carb:
OATMEAL (and I mean good old rolled oats boiled up in the microwave, not that instant oatmeal.  That stuff is crap, I guarantee you.  Loaded with sugar and artificial flavoring.)

  Oatmeal is piled with complex carbs, or in other words, long lasting energy.  It also has a good amount of protein, and a large amount of dietary fiber.  It's some of the best fuel you could ever put in your body, as far as I'm concerned.  Give it a try, I bet you'll like it as much as I do in no time.

  But just a carbohydrate would be a pretty boring breakfast, eh?  So lets get some protein in there.  And where else but eggs?  Scrambled, fried, made into an omelette, they're all fine choices.  In fact you can go one step further and use cartons of egg whites.  This will take out any bad cholesterol from the yoke, and still be absolutely delicious with a little pepper and cayenne powder.
  You can also get protein from a dairy source, such as milk, or yogurt.  I would suggest skim milk, and greek yogurt, however you can choose what you prefer.  Just make sure to look at the nutrtional label and know what you're getting BEFORE you buy it.  Those sugar loaded yogurts will do you no good in the long run.

  One of my favorite breakfast compliments is a tablespoon or two of either natural peanut butter, or natural almond butter.  Either one is positively delicious on a microwaved bagel, and will give your body the good fats and protein it needs to function.  Give them a try.  For natural peanut butter I would suggest smucker's Natural creamy or chunky.  The only ingredient on the ingredient list is "peanuts".  You can't get much more natural than that.  Just stir the oil back in before usage, and flip the jar over every couple days while it's stored so the oil can float back up into the butter.

  And we can't forget about fruit.  The simple carbs that will get you going for the day.  This is completely your choice here, because nearly any fruit will do the job.  I prefer a banana or apple, but when I'm home from college I usually grab a peach, a plum, a kiwi, or even a mango.  Fruits are packed with nutrients that you need for the day.  You may substitute the fruit with a glass of natural 100% juice, but stay away from concentrates with lots of dye and artificial flavoring.  Just look on the ingredients list.  If you see High Fructose corn syrup, artificial flavor concentrate, and around 6 different dye colors, do yourself a favor and steer clear.

  So this is all fine and dandy, but as always you'll have to make some choices.  A lot of people may be wondering, how many calories should I be eating at breakfast?  While that's an impossible question to generalize, I will say this:  Breakfast should be the big meal of the day, as it will be your main energy source.  As a weightlifter I aim for 700 calories.  That may be a little bit over what you might want, but maybe not by much.  A good range to shoot for is around 400-500 calories.  And if you're still hungry, have another plum.  Your body needs this energy.

  And here's my final word.  Do not, I repeat DO NOT skip breakfast.  You may think it will help you lose weight.  It will do the EXACT OPPOSITE.  It will slow your metabolism down, make you extremely hungry later in the day, send your body into a starvation mode, and in general will make you feel like absolute crap.  Eat a healthy breakfast and I guarantee you'll feel better, look better, perform better, and even make a good first step toward losing those unwanted pounds, or gaining that much desired muscle.

Wake up and eat, my friends.

1 comment:

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