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Susan R. asks – How do I eat well when I have busy mornings? Any breakfast ideas that are fast, healthy and still pack flavor?  Help!

Dear Susan,

Breakfast is one of the most important and valuable tools you have in your arsenal for healthy living.  I know mornings can be hectic and we all crave a little extra sleep.  But when you plan a breakfast that focuses on protein (eggs, nuts, seeds, chicken or fish), healthy fat (coconut oil, nut butter, flaxseeds, avocado), fiber (berries, avocado, chia or flaxseeds) and low-glycemic carbohydrates (berries, green vegetables, etc.), you will turn your metabolism on and set it to high gear. You you will breeze through your morning effortlessly, and not think about lunch until it’s legitimately time to refuel.

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Busy work schedules, travel, fitting in a little exercise and personal time all battle for your time in the morning.  You need something quick, delicious yet grounding to help you persevere.  You need real nutrition – not quick sugars, or chemicals from food dyes, flavorings, fillers or binders that cause inflammation or irritate your gut.  You need whole foods and a combination of them too!

Here are some of my favorite ideas for a fast breakfast (there is a reason the word “fast” is in breakfast!):

  • A combination of nuts, seeds, berries, and dairy-free milk in a smoothie
  • A couple of omega -3 eggs, sautéed with any dark leafy greens in your fridge and some berries on the side
  • A couple hard boiled omega-3 eggs with a side of apple or pear slices
  • Tofu scrambled with seasonings and vegetables from last night’s dinner
  • A bowl of beans and rice (if your blood sugar is balanced and your gut tolerates these foods)
  • Consider last night’s dinner – for breakfast! Soup, like miso soup with a side of leftover roast chicken, for example.
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Keep these tips in mind when planning your weekly meal plan to make breakfast a cinch:

  • Buy a little extra of your favorite vegetables so you have enough to toss in a quick breakfast smoothie or egg dish. If you are new to smoothies, you can conceal a serving of spinach or any dark leafy green vegetable in your favorite morning shake.  This is a great way to sneak in some veggies for stubborn kids or adults.  Trust me – they will never taste it!
  • Think not only about what sounds good for dinner but how you can transform an evening meal into a quick breakfast. Swap donuts for protein, fat and vegetables to serve your health and waistline better.  Concerned about your sugar cravings?  Check out this article to learn how to rewire your brain to end cravings.
  • Think outside the breakfast box. If you are accustomed to eating cereal for breakfast, challenge yourself to try a speedy smoothie made with coconut oil and berries, almonds and creamy hemp milk for breakfast.  You’ll be surprised how natural sweeteners, such as those ingredients above, impact your taste buds and leave you satisfied and energized.
  • If savory meat like sausage appeals to you, consider making a batch of your own to prevent the extra additives, preservatives, hormones and antibiotics found in most packaged meat products. Use the weekend to prepare sausage so all you need is a fast reheat on busy weekday mornings.  Check out some tasty sausage recipes in my community – inspired, and collaboratively created, The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.
  • Nominate a breakfast committee. If you are cooking dinner, have someone else be responsible for breakfast. Or, inspire your coworkers to eat a healthier breakfast by choosing to eat together once or twice a week.  Not only do you make your intentions to be healthy known to your peers, but you encourage others to be well and create a friendlier community at work.  A win-win!

I know some people who love to create delectable morning meals – like blueberry pancakes made from coconut flour with a side omelet or a Mediterranean flavored quiche with savory turkey sausage patties and berries on the side.  You don’t have to go to these lengths during your Monday through Friday drill to eat well and be satisfied.  Although, I have some great recipes in my new 10–Day Detox Diet Cookbook – on sale on March 10th!  You will find recipes like Wild Mushroom and Leek Frittata, Spicy Scrambled Tofu with Zucchini and Cilantro or a quick and easy smoothie like my Blueberry Nut Smoothie.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that coffee and sugar do not constitute an actual meal.  Not only will you crash and burn but the long-term effects of nutrient deprivation and inflammation will make you miserable, sick, tired, frustrated about your weight and struggling to find a diet that “works.”  I’m not offering you a diet; I am offering a solution to kick the cravings, feel good about yourself and have the energy to take on the day all in just a few quick actionable steps that won’t take you more than 5 to 10 minutes.

When people say to me, “Doc – I have no time to eat well or exercise” I say  – would you rather take 10 minutes here and there to be good to your one body or be dead forever?  Think about it – it doesn’t take long to make important decisions that quickly impact your life and set you on the road to optimizing your health and vitality!

This article was republished with permission from drhyman.com.

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Mark Hyman, MD, believes that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician, a nine-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field.
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