25 July 20174 Simple Steps That Will Make Your Day Better (and Healthier)

Sometimes, when your kids are spilling cereal on the floor, the dog is howling at every squirrel, and your 9 AM appointment was just moved to 8AM, breakfast is the last thing you're thinking of. Whether you take the bus, subway, train, bike or car to work or work from home, eating anything, even if it's just a small glass of orange juice and a banana, is better than just black coffee when your third board meeting runs over. Food is fuel for your body.

If weight loss is your goal, numerous studies demonstrate the importance of eating something in the morning in order to meet long-term weight loss goals because it can prevent you from making unhealthy food choices or overeating later in the day due to extreme hunger and low blood sugars.

I do not think any of the suggestions that I have listed below are rocket science; you have probably considered already doing them. However, I hope this blog gives you a push in the right direction to move from just staring at your Pinterest breakfast idea boards and motivational quotes to action. Follow these four simple steps to make your day better and healthier.

Set yourself up for Success

Step 1: Organize your "tools" for breakfast success

I apologize up front if step one seems elementary; however, for many of my weight loss clients, good intentions are often stifled by lack of organizational skills in the kitchen.

Buy Breakfast (lunch) Bags

  • Purchase at least two bags. One to bring to work and one to have on hand at home, if you forget to bring it home. Inevitably, my husband's empty bag is left at work in the refrigerator. Don't let your healthy plans be muted by lack of an extra $10.00 lunch bag.

Organize Your Plastic Containers

  • Check that each container has its own matching lid. I like to arrange using two boxes: one for lids and one for plastic containers so that they are easy to grab on a hectic morning.

Step 2: Make a grocery list of breakfast staples.

For quick accessibility, save the list on your cell phone to re-use on a weekly basis. Take a photo or copy and paste the list below, individualizing it with your favorite foods.

Planning your grocery shopping around the five food groups will help you consume a variety of vitamins and minerals, which help your body and mind stay focused until the last conference call of the day.

Grab and Go Grocery List

Meat and Meat Alternatives - good sources of protein and iron

  • Nuts (put 20 nuts in a container, the size of an Altoids box)
  • Roll of deli meat, low fat turkey, chicken, beef, or ham
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Pre-packaged almond butter, peanut butter or cashew butter
  • Make your own 2 Tablespoon containers for a more economical option.

Dairy or a Calcium Rich Foods - good sources of calcium and vitamin D

  • Pre-packaged string cheese
  • Pre-cut slices of your favorite cheese (cheaper if you take the time to cut it yourself!)
  • 0% fat Greek yogurt or low-fat yogurt
  • Shelf-stable individualized milk containers
  • Pre-packaged or homemade smoothie, made with low-fat milk, yogurt and fruit

Fruit - good sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, and antioxidants

  • Watermelon - This is a great fruit to cut up the night before and put in a small container so in the morning you just "grab and go". For a new twist, squeeze the juice of a fresh lime on the watermelon and sprinkle with finely chopped fresh mint. Cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple are other great fruits to dice while you are cleaning up your supper dishes.
  • Berries - strawberries, blueberries or raspberries tend to spoil quickly so remember to eat those at the beginning of the week.
  • Bananas - are a healthy portable fruit and a good source of potassium. I generally buy green bananas so that I am forced to eat the other fruits, such as berries, that spoil quicker at the beginning of the week.

Vegetables - good sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber and antioxidants

  • Spinach - whether frozen or fresh, spinach is a healthy iron-rich vegetable to add to scrambled eggs or on a toast spread with low-fat cream cheese and ham.
  • Red, green or yellow peppers, diced and then roasted or sautéed the night before add a delicious crunch to a breakfast quesadilla.
  • Cutting up 1/4 of an avocado and a slice of tomato add color and valuable antioxidants such as lycopene to your fried egg sandwich made on a toasted whole grain English muffin.

Whole Grains - good sources of B vitamins and fiber

  • Whole grain tortillas for breakfast burritos
  • High fiber bagels topped with peanut butter, banana slices and a dab of honey
  • Whole grain cereal with at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving

Step 3: Grocery shop on a weekly basis. Spoiler Alert: This is the hardest part.

Many of my weight loss clients want to make or pack a breakfast, but don't have the foods at home that are easy to grab and go. By shopping on a weekly basis and using your Grab and Go Grocery List saved on your phone, you already have the tools to take control of your health at the grocery store.

Since foods in all food groups are grouped according to the vitamins and minerals they contain, choosing foods from at least two food groups, preferably three, helps you eat a balanced breakfast and provides you with a variety of nutrients.

Step 4: Experiment and find out which of these three methods works best for you.

  1. Grab and Go in the Morning
  2. Prepare Foods the Night Before
  3. Prepare Foods for the Whole Week.

Foods to Prep the Night Before

1. Oatmeal

Make a big pot of old-fashioned oatmeal the night before. Steel cut oats take about 30 minutes to cook and have a delicious grainy texture which has a good bite, while old-fashioned oats take about 15 minutes to cook and have 3-5 grams of fiber per serving. I like to make my oats with half low-fat milk and half water to increase my calcium consumption. You can heat up one portion in the microwave in the morning and spoon it into a thermos for a warm morning breakfast. Add a handful of nuts and dried fruits for a filling, high protein breakfast. Sprinkle with wheat germ and chia seeds for extra omega 3 fatty acids.

2. Bircher Muesli - also called overnight oats

Famous in Switzerland for a hearty breakfast before a hike in the Alps, Bircher Muesli is a delicious, healthy breakfast that can give you energy all morning.

3. Breakfast Burrito

Sauté your favorite vegetables (onions, peppers, spinach, etc) and add your favorite protein food, such as leftover cooked meat from supper, beans, ham or turkey pieces, feta cheese, sharp cheddar cheese or tofu. Whisk two eggs per person and scramble with the vegetables and protein. Wrap in a whole grain tortilla, then aluminum foil, and refrigerate!

In conclusion, follow these four steps to make your day better and healthier and to help you meet your weight loss goals.

  1. Organize your "tools" for breakfast success.
  2. Make a grocery list of breakfast staples.
  3. Grocery shop on a weekly basis.
  4. Experiment whether grab and go or pre-preparation works best for you.

Starting with just one small change in the morning can help put you on the road to good health for the rest of the day. Please share with me your favorite breakfast foods when you are in a hurry.

In good health,
Martha Henze

MS, RD, Traveling Taste Buds, LLC

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Disclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.

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Meal Planning & Diets/Breakfast

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