One of the main habits that successful, healthy, fit people maintain is a routine daily breakfast. Breakfast is essential because it gives you that boost of energy you need to start your day. This boost of energy sets and maintains a stable metabolism, avoiding the tendency to overeat later in the day.
People who skip breakfast often overeat later in the day because their body enters starvation mode. They tend to gorge on some of their favorite (unhealthy) foods, thinking they're rewarding themselves for their hard efforts of skipping breakfast and nutritious snacks. Eating large amounts of foods less frequently actually encourages weight gain rather than loss.
Eating a healthy breakfast and small meals/healthy snacks more often reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is the major hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It affects the metabolism of glucose, protein and fats. Maintaining good cortisol control also helps the body to respond to stress, slows the immune system's inflammation response and helps maintain a sense of well-being.
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people who ate six small meals a day for two weeks, as opposed to three large meals containing the same total number of calories, reduced their cortisol levels by more than 17 percent. They lost belly fat, too. You can read more about this study at Bit.ly/1hHZKQf.
So what do you have as a healthy breakfast? Most of us are very busy, so something we can eat on the go is ideal during the work week. Nutritionists recommend a breakfast that contains protein and whole grain fiber, along with at least a little fat to get your fat metabolism started for the day. Protein blunts your hunger, and whole grains have the staying power to keep you going throughout the day.
Here's a list of some healthy breakfast options:
■ An apple, 1 to 2 ounces of cheddar cheese, and ¼ cup walnuts.
■ Two scrambled egg whites, ¼ cup black beans, 2 tablespoons salsa and 2 tablespoons shredded cheese wrapped as a burrito in a small, whole-wheat tortilla.
■ Yogurt parfait with fruit and nuts.
■ Avocado with toast and egg.
■ Peanut butter and banana smoothie. Blend a frozen banana, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 cup almond milk, and a few ice cubes.
As you can see, a healthy breakfast is about balancing your diet by eating a combination of nutritious foods. Start your day right.