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(CNN) –Successfully completing your morning to-do list could start with the first thing you put in your mouth at breakfast.
If you feel like a zombie in the morning hours, the culprit could be an unbalanced breakfast consisting mostly of simple sugars. This was pointed out by Nancy Z. Farrell Allen, a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“Carbohydrates – whether from fruits and vegetables or from candy and cookies – are broken down into sugar within the body, also known as glucose,” McKel Kooienga, registered dietitian, founder of the Nutrition Stripped blog, told CNN creator of the Mindful Nutrition Method. Think of glucose (or sugar) as energy in the body.
After we eat carbohydrates, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone, to remove sugar from the bloodstream, Kooienga explained. The type, timing, and amount of carbohydrates eaten determines how much sugar enters the bloodstream at the same time. Simpler or processed carbohydrates – such as muffins or maple syrup – introduce sugar into the blood at a faster rate if they are not consumed with other macronutrients such as protein and fat, he added. Which generates short-term energy that causes a person’s blood sugar level to skyrocket and then drop.
Instead, opt for deviled eggs, beans, and golden Halloumi cheese for protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Or raspberries, oatmeal, and coconut for the same benefits.
“A balanced breakfast sets the tone and rhythm of the day. It provides meals that feed both our brains and our bodies so that we can be mentally intact and productive right from the start, ”said Farrell Allen.
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Having low blood sugar levels from skipping breakfast regularly can cause people to constantly search for sugary and processed foods. A situation that could lead you “down a path of foods that can also affect your mental health,” Kooienga warned. In turn, that represents a greater risk of resorting to restrictive or disorderly eating behaviors to stop overeating, the expert added. A habit that can also lead to binge eating, he completed.
The balance concept, Kooienga said, includes a combination of complex and fiber-rich carbohydrate sources. Plus protein and healthy fats that would release sugar into the blood at a slower rate. And ultimately, supporting longer lasting energy.
“There are so many wonderful options at breakfast that provide an opportunity to explore cultural, tasty, healthy and mindful eating,” said Farrell Allen.
Here we leave you two recipes to help you start the day and assume everything you need to achieve.
Cup of oatmeal with chia, rested overnight
The preparation includes complex carbohydrates rich in fiber, healthy fats and proteins for muscle development. In addition, this oatmeal-based recipe is convenient, because you can prepare breakfast the night before and have it the next morning, while you go to work.
It is for 1 serving.
1/2 cup dry oatmeal (such as rolled oats) 3 teaspoons chia seeds 1 cup almond milk 1 teaspoon maple syrup Ground cinnamon, to taste Some optional add-ons for different flavor combinations are 1/4 cup of Pumpkin puree, a tablespoon of non-dairy coconut yogurt, berries of your choice (blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries), nut butter (almond, peanut, or sunflower), and nuts or seeds.
In a bowl, combine the oats, chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, stir again. Serve with the add-ons you want from the ingredient list.
Nutritious Egg, Bean, and Veggie Snack
In order to eat mindfully, Kooienga aims to have between two and five specific elements (protein, fat, carbohydrates, non-starchy carbohydrates, and flavor) at every meal, including breakfast. These additions can help maintain your energy, digestion and satiety in the long term, he added. And the “nutritious food” recipe checks most of those boxes.
It’s for 1 serving
1 cup cooked beans (such as black beans, kidney beans, or pinto beans; if canned, rinse very well) 1 teaspoon olive oil 2 large eggs, fried or cooked to your liking Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup of steamed broccoli 2 cups dark green leafy greens or lettuce (such as kale, spinach, or arugula) 2 tablespoons dressing of your choice to taste (Kooienga recommends their cilantro lime dressing or creamy spicy shallot dressing) 1/2 ripe avocado, sliced 1/2 cup sprouts (such as alfalfa or broccoli sprouts) Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
If you are using precooked canned beans, rinse very well. Otherwise, prepare the beans a day in advance following the traditional recipe, as dried beans take hours to cook completely. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, then cook the eggs to the desired texture (soft, medium, or hard). Season with sea salt and black pepper. While the eggs are cooking, lightly steam the broccoli. Use the vegetables or lettuces as the base of your plate. Add the dressing, cooked beans, steamed broccoli, sliced avocado, sprouts, and season with more black pepper and red bell pepper flakes, if desired.
These recipes were adapted from Kooienga’s Nutrition Stripped blog.