Think about your usual morning meal. Does it engage a bowl of cereal, a donut, a bagel, or a muffin? For your body, that’s the same as eating dessert, advises Dr. Monique Tello, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and main care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.
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The problem with the usual breakfast offerings like bagels, muffins, pancakes and French toast is that they are made of processed carbs and sugar. You start your day with a huge blood sugar rush and insulin spike, and it sets you up to replicate that pattern for the rest of the day. That can be particularly problematic for people who are prone to diabetes or weight gain.
As an alternative, you should plan your morning meal around food that is full of fiber, protein, and healthy fat to hold your blood sugar balanced and keep your content. Tello shared her own daily quick, portable recipe that completes those goals using just three main ingredients. You can eat this breakfast at home or easily pull it together at work:
Step 1: Fruit
Fill one bowl with your favorite fruit — Tello’s go-to container holds about three cups. If it is plastic, be sure it’s BPA and dioxin-free and FDA-approved microwave-safe. Tello is a fan of frozen fruit since it’s easy, picked at the peak of freshness and ripeness, less expensive, and accessible year-round. You can defrost it in the microwave in just a few minutes.
“Fruit is magnificent. Colorful fruit is high in vitamins and antioxidants,” Tello said. “It tastes great, it is appealing, and it’s helping us to meet our daily necessity of fruits and vegetables.”
The sweetness comes from natural fruit sugars packaged along with lots of fiber, so you’re not going to get the blood sugar spike that you’d get with added sugars.
Step 2: Yogurt
Yogurt is the perfect source of protein and probiotics. “Our gut health is actually more important than we understand in the past,” Tello said. Top your fruit with plain or low-sugar yogurt. Tello skips the fat-free versions: “A little bit of fat is almost certainly good for us,” she said.
Step 3: Nuts
Take a handful of your preferred nuts or seeds and put them on the top. Tello often chooses unsalted cashews or almonds. “You are going to have a pleasant slow discharge of energy as that is digested. It’s going to hold you over a lot longer.”
Don’t force breakfast
At last, you should know Tello does not feel that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A lot of people just do not feel hungry when they get up and that’s OK.
“For the majority of healthy people, their bodies are going to tell them when they require fuel,” Tello noted. “When you do have fuel, it is supposed to be healthy, particularly your first meal of the day, regardless of what time it is.”