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Saturday, May 19, 2012

What Are You Having for Breakfast?

You’ve heard it time and time again, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” With the advent of intermittent fasting and other novel dietary approaches, the phrase is no longer a given.  But it’s hard to tell the gimmicks from the latest scientific research when it comes to fat loss, nutrition and optimal health.  The confusion, begins at breakfast. 
Breakfast is either loved or hated. It’s often hated because on busy mornings, before work or school, it takes time to prepare a healthy breakfast, time most of us just don’t have.  In addition, many people find it difficult to eat breakfast because we don’t have much of an appetite first thing in the morning. We’ll grab a coffee and a piece of toast perhaps, and rush out the door; carbs in hand…or, stomach. But it gets worse.
Breakfast is often loved for its sugary out-of-the-box enjoyment: cold cereals, danish, croissant, pop-tarts, muffins, pancakes and bagels seem to be what appeals to Americans and our sweet tooth.  Where is the protein?

Starting your day with what amounts to carb loading like the examples above is the surest way to push your blood sugar up to the top of the roller coaster.  That type of carb frenzy, insulin surge and subsequent crash, does anything but set the stage for tight blood sugar control for the rest of the day.  Yet this is what most Americans associate with “normal” breakfast fare.  If this is “normal,” I’d like to order some of the “crazy” below: 
  • ½ cup cottage cheese topped with 
  • ½  cup mixed fresh berries.
  • 6 oz. plain, Greek yogurt topped with ½ cup fresh organic strawberries and 5 chopped almonds.
  • ¼ cup (uncooked) McCann’s steel cut oats.
  • Turkey bacon, filet mignon, other meat.
  • ·       2 egg Frittata add sautéed asparagus, mushroom, onion, bell pepper in 2 tsp. olive oil (eggs can also be scrambled), ½ cup steal cut oats topped with fresh berries, sprinkled with cinnamon.
  • Protein shake with coconut milk, almond butter, cocoa powder, fruit and/or veggies.
So what should you eat for breakfast? The examples above are just a few great ideas for breakfast.  Use your imagination but put together a meal focused on protein paired with some vegetables or a low glycemic fruit (berries of some kind.)  Keeping blood sugar balanced is what helps prevent cravings; cravings which can lead to an intense desire to reach for something that comes out of a box or a can (I can’t remember the last time someone told me they would die if they couldn’t get their hands on a skinless chicken breast and some broccoli.) It’s best not to get to the point where it’s necessary to fight off powerful cravings.  Don’t set yourself up for a battle of willpower.

A word about protein shakes:  Protein shakes are nothing short of a miracle in the fat loss fight. Nothing is more convenient than throwing a tray of ice cubes into a blender, adding a scoop of protein powder (I like chocolate), a tablespoon of almond butter, a tablespoon of ground flax seeds (for fiber), a cup of unsweetened coconut milk, and my own secret weapon…one tablespoon of rich, unsweetened imported Valrhona cocoa powder (it makes for a very chocolaty shake and adds all those great anti-oxidants.)  To make sure I get my veggies (and even more fiber), I add a leaf of green kale or a scoop of powdered greens.  The cocoa is very rich and masks any “vegetably” taste.  This will keep you full for hours, keep your blood sugar balanced and keep cravings at bay.

Move over Wheaties, there’s a new breakfast of champions: the protein shake.

Fitness expert and integrative performance coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at © 2011 Jinifit, Inc.

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  1. My breakfast of choice is chicken sausage and soft boiled egg with a scoop of cottage cheese!

    1. That's a great choice! Can't go wrong with that breakfast.

  2. Just had what I call my Jini Protein Breakfast: 2 eggs, 1 egg white, mixed with sauteed spinach (in grapeseed oil), my gluten-free sausage patty and 1/2 a GF English muffin with almond butter. Yum! Super charged for hours!

  3. That's the way to do it. It doesn't get healthier than that.