By Anna Dickens
Do you regularly rush out the door in the morning without grabbing a bite to eat? If so, consider this your wake-up call: Skipping breakfast is the ultimate nutrition no-no, a rookie mistake that could hinder your fitness and weight loss goals. Eating a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning turbo-charges your metabolism and keeps hunger at bay, helping you stay on track with your diet. In some studies, individuals who failed to fuel up in the a.m. were almost 450 percent more likely to be obese or overweight. We repeat: 450 percent. There’s no fighting numbers like that.
But before you hop aboard the breakfast train, a word of caution: What you consume in the morning matters, too. As with most complete meals, the ideal breakfast typically ranges from 300 to 450 calories and packs a powerful punch of protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. So donuts and a sugar-filled latte won’t cut it; the same can be said for a bagel with cream cheese (sorry, New Yorkers!). On those mornings you can’t make it to the Fuel Bar, here are some breakfast pointers:
1. Get cracking
Want lean, sexy muscles? Eat eggs. Although saddled with a bad rap for their high cholesterol content, eggs are your best ally in weight loss. They are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Because the yolk contains a substantial amount of cholesterol, however, you might try switching to egg whites only, which are lower in calories but still rich in protein.
2. Ditch the cereal box
Have you ever scarfed down a bowl of cereal only to feel ravenous an hour later? Most boxed cereals are low in protein but high in sugar and carbs, so they aren’t a great source of long-lasting energy. For a grain with more staying power, switch to whole-grain oatmeal, which is loaded with dietary fiber to keep you full all morning long. Stir in some protein powder or almond butter to amp up the protein content, and top with fresh berries or chopped apple for an extra burst of fiber.
3. Avoid sugar
You know that “healthy” whole-wheat blueberry muffin from the coffee shop near your office? Yeah, that’ll go straight to your muffin top. Meals high in sugar (think pastries, sugary cereals and yogurts, and granola bars) will lead to a temporary spike in blood sugar, causing you to crash mid-morning. What’s more, excess sugar has been linked to weight gain in numerous research studies—another reason to steer clear of the sweet stuff.
4. Pick protein
There’s a reason that your Barry’s studio is stocked with Quest Bars. We all know that protein is important for building muscle mass and helping you reap the rewards of your Barry’s workouts, but it has another benefit—keeping you full. Eat a protein-rich meal first thing in the morning, and you’re less likely to crave junk later on.
5. Get a jolt
If you’re a coffee addict, take heart: Moderate doses of caffeine in the morning have been shown to kick up your metabolism by as much as 15 percent, at least temporarily. Caffeine also appears to naturally boost athletic performance, helping endurance athletes sustain longer workloads. In other words, take this as permission to chug some espresso before your morning Barry’s class.
You’re probably thinking, “This is great, but who has time in the morning to slave in the kitchen making an elaborate breakfast?” We get it: you’re busy, and so are we. That’s why we’ve rounded up six super-fast, nutritious breakfasts that you can whip up in five minutes or less. That’s right—five minutes or less. No more excuses!
Overnight Chia Seed Oatmeal
Remember how Chia Pets were all the rage back in the day? As it turns out, the seeds from those quirky chia plants are actually a superfood. This vegan oatmeal, which can be prepared the night before for a no-hassle breakfast, stars nutritious chia seeds for a burst of protein, fiber, and omega 3s.
Two Minute Scrambled Eggs
Fluffy, protein-rich scrambled eggs, ready in two minutes or less. Need we say more?
Five Minute “Baked” Pumpkin Pie
Who says pumpkin is just for fall?! This quick and easy “baked” oatmeal is loaded with nutrients, fiber, and healthy fats for all-day energy.
Easy Breakfast Tacos
Come on, who doesn’t love Mexican food? Spice up your mornings with these insanely-easy, Tex Mex breakfast tacos. Did we mention they’re healthy, too?
It’s easy-peasy to sneak some veggies into your breakfast. Power up your mornings with this protein-rich concoction featuring lots of nutritious goodies like spinach, banana, protein powder, and flax.
Avocado Egg Breakfast Sandwich
Avocado and egg makes a delightful (and healthy) breakfast combination. This grab-and-go morning meal will tide you over all morning long.
Anna Dickens is a self-proclaimed fitness fanatic, yogi, and writer based in Nashville, TN. She is the digital editor of SpryLiving.com, an online women’s health & fitness publication (follow Spry Living on Facebook and Twitter)