Sugar at Breakfast?

If you are interested in cleaning up your diet, and thus improving your health, breakfast is a great place to start. Why? Because the typical American breakfast is a festival of refined carbohydrates, usually high in sugar and low in protein.

As I type this blog, I am munching on my own latest breakfast of choice: a pineapple and bacon chicken sausage. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that I normally eat nonfat Greek yogurt (high in protein) with some kind of fruit for breakfast. As part of my summer jumpstart, I decided to mix up my morning routine and cut back on the carbs. Although Greek yogurt has plenty of protein, almost all dairy products also contain carbs. And fruit, of course, is pure carbs.

Most of the typical American breakfast choices are much, much worse. Bagels, muffins, donuts, pancakes, waffles, granola, cereals, and pastries are all very high carb. One regular-sized bagel may contain as much as 50-60 grams of carbohydrate. (This is BEFORE you add the cream cheese, jelly, jam, or preserves!) These products will quickly spike your blood sugar and your insulin levels. The result? Most of those carbs will end up being stored as fat. Unless you are running a marathon, it is unlikely you are going to burn off those calories. And the more frequently you spike your insulin levels by consuming refined carbohydrates, the more likely it is that you will develop insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Belly fat is one sign that your body is becoming insulin resistant.

Want some better breakfast choices?

The lowly egg is an awesome breakfast item. A large egg contains about 7 grams of protein, so a 3 egg omelet offers enough protein to get your day started right. Toss a handful of spinach leaves, chopped peppers and onions, or a sprinkle of cheese in the center. If you can get your hands on some eggs from free-ranging chickens who actually ate grass, even better. The yolk of the egg is where almost all the nutrients lie, so don't throw those away! Yolks should be a deep orange in color. This is a sure sign that your chickens ate grass and produced Vitamin K2 for you. (If you didn't read my posts about Vitamin K2, search that info out ASAP!)

I enjoy chicken sausages which are very quick to warm up in the microwave. There are many brands and a myriad of flavors to be discovered. Aidell's makes delicious apple, pineapple and bacon, and habenero flavors, all of which we have found at Costco. Trader Joe's has their own line-up of chicken sausages with flavors like spinach and feta, sun-dried tomato, and roasted garlic. Read the labels carefully to be sure you are buying a product which is high in protein (about 14 grams in a sausage) and low in fat and carbs. If you want to add some carbs, you can pair your sausages with some berries or veggies.

Leftovers are another fast breakfast option. Chop up some leftover corned beef, add some chopped onions and peppers, stir over medium heat then crack an egg over the top. Cover your pan and cook until the egg white is opaque. (I like my yolk still runny, but you can overcook yours if you must.)

See? The choices of healthy, higher-protein breakfasts are numerous, nutritious, and not-too-time-consuming. (Couldn't think of another good "N" word.) Dive into some new breakfast choices and see how you feel throughout the day. Starting your morning with a dose of protein will give you long-lasting energy, fewer cravings, and improved mood. Let me know if you find this to be true.