We've all been beat over the head with how important a well-balanced breakfast is. But when it comes down to it, it's just hard to make it happen (especially first thing in the morning, before we've had a chance to become our best selves). Starting tomorrow, indulge your cravings by taking note of what you want and swapping with one of our healthier options.
Sugar cravings are fine, but make sure to reach for fruit — not a pastry. The natural sugar in fruit is a much better energy-booster than sugar-laden cereals and pastries. Those may be tasty, but they cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, leaving you exhausted mid-day. It's much easier for your body to metabolize the sugar in fruit, so you can skip that afternoon coffee too.
And it's not just about the sugar — many fruits are also packed with fiber (which keeps you feeling full longer), potassium (which can lower blood pressure and prep your muscles for the day) and vitamin C. Plus fruits like apples and bananas are portable and easy to eat anywhere, which will help you get out the door faster.
If you're craving carbs, go for wheat toast with almond butter. Wheat is key here because white bread is stripped of all its fiber and natural nutrients. Since it's lacking in substance, your body processes it fast and you're hungry again shortly after.
Whole grain bread with a slather of almond butter is a better choice because it's packed with protein. That can help you quickly recover from a morning workout, and it cuts down on mid-day cravings and builds lean muscle. Peanut butter is another good option, but almond butter usually has the same calorie content with less fat.
Like a little crunch?
When it's crunch time, pick granola over sugary cereal. The fiber in oats — that includes granola, museli and oatmeal — keeps you full and focused, so you can stop dreaming about your mid-morning snack. Muesli and oatmeal even contain beta-glucan, which can lower your cholesterol if you're eating them regularly. And oats sneak hard-to-find minerals into your diet, like manganese, phosphorus and magnesium.
Nobody can resist bacon and sausage at brunch, but stay away from them during the week. Cured sausage and other breakfast meats are full of grease and fat, and they'll leave you feeling sluggish and bloated. If you can't start your morning without a little meat, opt for uncured sausage and bacon. Or, better yet, try tempeh bacon or smoked tofu — you might even prefer the substitutes.