September is Better Breakfast Month
Sep 27, 2021
Three cheers for breakfast!! Who doesn’t love starting the day with a nutritious and delicious meal? September is “Better Breakfast Month”, and we couldn’t be more excited to share tips on how to maximize breakfast, in celebration of “the most important meal of the day”.
WHY EAT BREAKFAST?
When you wake up in the morning, your blood sugar is naturally low. Eating breakfast helps replenish blood sugar levels and aids in getting you moving. Eating a well-balanced breakfast is linked to health benefits including improved memory and concentration, lower levels of LDL cholesterol and reduced occurrences of diabetes and heart disease.
There are many health-related reasons for starting the day with breakfast and there are also several schools of thought on the role breakfast plays in achieving one’s health and wellness goals. One benefit of starting the day with a healthy meal, is the positive impact that a pre-workout breakfast can have on endurance and sustained insulin levels. When asked for 5 tips to maximize workouts, the #1 tip from The Mayo Clinic was to eat a healthy breakfast! According to the Mayo Clinic, “studies suggest eating or drinking carbohydrates before exercise can improve workout performance and may allow you to workout for a longer duration or at higher intensity”. They caution that not eating before a workout can leave you sluggish, lightheaded, and unable to make the most of your fitness session. Additionally, eating breakfast before exercising had a positive impact on health because blood sugar levels were kept in check.
While many choose to eat breakfast prior to their morning workout to increase their stamina, others strategically schedule breakfast post-workout. Research shows that exercising in an overnight fasted state is likely to provide greater weight loss benefits than performing all sessions after breakfast. According to a 6-week study published in the journal of clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, working out before eating breakfast resulted in an increase in fat use because of lower insulin levels during training. According to the study, “Pre-breakfast exercisers end up using more of the fat from their fat tissue and within their muscles as fuel.” Increased fat-burn is certainly a benefit if weight loss and metabolic health are at the core of your fitness goals.
While there may be different health benefits tied to the timing of breakfast consumption, experts largely agree that a well-balanced morning meal should be a key component to starting the day.
WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST?
There are no hard-and-fast rules about what you should eat in the morning. The only important advice to mind is to incorporate healthy foods to help ensure that you’ll get the vitamins and nutrients you need to sustain your energy levels and meet your body’s daily nutritional needs. Experts recommend a breakfast that includes carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein, and fiber, which are known to help stabilize your appetite throughout the day.
A recent article, drawing on research published in Nutrients and The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, provides insights into tailoring your breakfast foods and consumption times to align with your workout type, duration, fitness goals and overall health.
For high-intensity, longer-duration workouts (i.e. running, cycling, skiing) eating 5 - 75 grams of carbohydrates with some protein is ideal. The options listed below, consumed at least one hour before exercising, are good suggestions to help properly fuel your body.
- A smoothie containing milk, a banana, and other fruits
- A small bagel with a schmear of peanut butter
- Instant or overnight oatmeal and a handful of berries
- Scrambled eggs and toast with a bit of butter or fruit spread
For low-to-moderate intensity, longer duration workouts (i.e.tai chi, an hour of walking, gentle yoga) a small, protein-rich, snack-style breakfast, like the options listed below, should meet your metabolic needs.
- 1 cup of creamy cottage cheese
- 2 protein-packed hard-boiled eggs
- A nourishing protein bar and lots of water
- A small protein shake
- A fresh-veggie filled omelet
For individualized information on what to eat for breakfast and when to eat it, talk to your Fitness Together personal trainer. Not only will they be able to provide suggestions that are specific to your fitness plan and lifestyle, but they’ll also help you optimize the benefits of your breakfast choices during Better Breakfast month and beyond.