How to Become a Breakfast Person

by | May 10, 2023

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Hands down, the number one thing I tell all my clients is to prioritize eating breakfast.

I feel like I’m talking about breakfast in almost every email and blog post and Instagram caption. BUT that is because in this age of intermittent fasting EVERYWHERE, we’ve stopped seeing the need to eat in the morning. OR we’re just too tired, too busy, or not even close to being hungry in the morning to even think about eating. 

But guess what? Not being hungry in the morning is not a good thing. It’s a sign that your metabolism has slowed down, likely due to high cortisol, low adrenal function, and lowered thyroid function. AKA, not eating in the morning has stressed your body out, and you’re stuck in a viscous cycle that is hard to break free. 

Intermittent fasting is also not a great option for most women. I’d like to argue ALL women. I go into more detail on why in this post, but know for the sake of this conversation, that female physiology isn’t taken into account in most of the studies and recommendations on IF. And if you’re a menstruating female, fasting can have detrimental implications on hormone health, thyroid health, insulin sensitivity, and metabolism. In short, we do better if we eat at regular intervals throughout the day.

Many women come to me with a pattern of not eating in the morning, then eating a sensible lunch, followed by grazing in the afternoon while managing school pick ups and dinner time rush. And then they find themselves starving at night and eating whatever they can before bed. Which in turn leads to less hunger the next morning and the cycle continues.

Does this sound familiar?

So what do you do if you want to start eating breakfast, but you’re just not hungry?

Breakfast Tip #1: Start Small

You’ve got to start small. Going from zero to a full breakfast can leave you feeling uncomfortable or bloated and lead to possible weight gain from the jump in calories. Start with a snack. Pair a protein with a fiber or fat source. Make a smoothie, which can be digested more quickly and have less volume. Or make a meal that sounds good or you would make for the rest of your family, and start by serving yourself a half portion. And then slowly, over time, increase your portion as your hunger cues come back. 

Which I promise you, if you start eating SOMETHING in the morning, your body will respond, and you will slowly feel more hungry in the mornings and be able to tolerate a regular portion of food. The biggest thing is being patient and giving it time.

Breakfast Tip #2: PHFF

Okay, so now you’re eating something in the morning when you wake up, but now you are wondering what to eat?

Protein + Healthy Fat + Fiber. 

This is the formula for all your meals, all day long. If you’re struggling with insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome and are working on balancing your blood sugar, lower carbohydrates at breakfast are best to get the day started with a lower blood sugar spike. But if you have a faster metabolism or fairly good insulin sensitivity, you’re about to do a training ride/run/workout, or you just LOVE carbohydrates in the morning, you can add more starchy carbs to this as well. (I’d also suggest if you’re doing a big workout right after breakfast, go light on the fat and fiber to avoid GI issues!)

Protein options: eggs, cottage cheese, plain greek yogurt, protein powders (watch ingredients and look for at least 20 g protein per serving), breakfast meats (turkey sausage, chicken sausage, etc), ground beef, steak, chicken, lean cuts of pork. Carbohydrate rich proteins such as beans are also good to add in, as well as fat rich protein sources such as chia seeds or flax seeds (which are also high in fiber!)

*Note: protein bars can also be a good option for busy mornings, but you ideally want one that has at least 20 g protein, 3 g of fiber, and less than 5 g sugar.*

Healthy Fat options: avocados, avocado oil, olive oil, nuts, nut butters, seeds, seed butters, grass fed butter, ghee, coconut, coconut oil, cheese.

Fiber options: allll the non-starchy veggies, including greens, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, summer squash (fun fact: winter squashes are starches and summer squashes aren’t!). Acacia fiber, chia seeds, flax seeds, and psyllium husk are also good fiber options.

Mix and match to build a balanced breakfast (or any meal!)

Some breakfast ideas include:

  • Greek yogurt bowl with chia seeds, nut butter, and some berries.
  • steel cut or rolled oatmeal with protein powder or cottage cheese mixed in plus flax seeds
  • scrambled eggs with peppers, onions, black beans, and avocado
  • baked egg cups with spinach, tomatoes, and mozzarella
  • smoothie with full fat coconut milk, chia seeds, protein powder, and mixed berries

Breakfast Tip #3: Up the Protein

If you’re already eating breakfast, but you’re not getting 25-30 g of protein, here are some tips to increase protein intake at breakfast:

1. Try a smoothie! 

Smoothies are a great way to up your protein at breakfast. The majority of protein in a smoothie will come from protein powder or collagen. However, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts & seeds, nut & seed butters, spirulina, or Brewer’s yeast are other ways to boost the protein content of your smoothie. A good rule of thumb is to hit 20 g of protein from protein powder or collagen and then add extra protein with the other items mentioned here.

2. Add dairy. 

One cup of plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese both have around 25 g of protein! Top these with berries, chia seeds and/or nut butter for a super filling breakfast. One ounce of most cheeses with add 4-6 grams of protein. Top scrambled eggs with cheese, add a slice of cheese to an egg sandwich or add cheese to an omelet to boost protein intake for your breakfast meal.

3. Increase your portion. 

Whatever your protein source is at breakfast, just increase the portion or pair it with another source of protein. Here’s some ideas:

  • 1 cup cottage cheese (25 g) + 1 scoop collagen in your coffee (10 g) = 35 g
  • 2 individual containers yogurt (~20 g) topped with 2 tb chia seeds (7 g) = 27 g
  • 1 individual container of yogurt (~10 g) topped with 1 tb chia seeds (3.5 g) + 2 hard boiled eggs (12 g) = 25.5 g
  • 2 eggs (12 g) + 2 scoops collagen in your coffee or tea (20 g) = 32 g
  • Dave’s Killer Bread (5 G) + 1 tb nut butter (3 g) + chicken breakfast sausages (12-15 G) =20-23 

4. Think outside the box. 

Breakfast does not just have to include traditional breakfast foods like yogurt, smoothies, or eggs. You can eat any protein you like at breakfast including meat, poultry or fish. Here are some ideas:

  • “breakfast scramble” with potatoes, veggies + your choice of protein (meat or tofu)
  • high fiber bread/crackers + cream cheese + smoked salmon
  • high fiber bread/crackers + avocado + hard boiled eggs
  • leftovers from the night before

How do you feel about breakfast now? Hopefully these tips have sparked some ideas to get your morning started with a delicious and satiating meal!

Further Resources for Prioritizing Breakfast

If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, check out these posts:

Want more help improving your metabolism and blood sugar so you can get closer to reaching your health and fitness goals? This is exactly what is covered in the Blood Sugar Balanced Breakfasts masterclass. Specific, tangible, actionable steps to start your day right. Get more info and register HERE.

Hi, I’m Stephanie! I help everyday active women nourish their goals and fuel their lives.

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