Energy-Packed Breakfast Ideas

September 24, 2022

We've heard the message that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day", but for many it's a challenge to squeeze in a healthy meal during the morning rush. 1/3 of Americans who do eat breakfast choose cold cereal, which is made up of 75% sugar or highly processed grains. Our nutritionists explain why a real-food balanced breakfast is important for all ages and will provide tips on how to start a new breakfast habit.

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KARA: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today's show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We're a company that specializes in life changing nutrition education and counseling. We have an interesting show today. The topic is breakfast. Are you someone who eats breakfast? If so, what are you eating for breakfast? There was a poll taken in 2019 that had over 2000 Americans. The poll showed that 56% ate cereal for breakfast on a regular basis. And 58% claimed they usually just had coffee. My cohost and I want to dive into all things related to breakfast today.

My name is Kara Carper. I'm a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist. I have a master's degree in holistic health and my cohost, her name is Leah Kleinschrodt. Leah's a Licensed and Registered Dietitian. So we're, our company is really glad to have Leah back after a maternity leave. So it's great to be here with you in studio again, Leah.

LEAH: Yeah. Thanks Kara thanks for that introduction. It's always great to see you in studio and be here as well. And yes, that, I mean that maternity leave. My little girl now is seven months old or seven and a half months old, somewhere in that range. And so it feels like forever and yet a blink of an eye at the same time.

KARA: I bet.

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. You know that. You have a, a daughter as well, but yes. So, so I'm happy to be back and doing the radio and seeing clients, teaching classes and things like that. And I am also really excited for this topic this morning about, about breakfast. It's, it's one of those big hot topics. It's something that we talk to every single one of our clients about when we do the counseling or it's things that we talk about when we teach classes.

And we talk about, you know, whether or not to eat breakfast, when to eat it, cause that's a big question and, and most importantly what to eat and, and how do we kind of marry all these factors together so that this sets us up for a day where we have optimal energy, good focus, good productivity throughout the day, our moods are fairly even keel. And, and one of the biggest things is that we keep our cravings under control throughout the day.

So I’ve found in our household making a real food balanced breakfast a priority. We all benefit. So not just my husband and myself, but especially for my four year old son and, and Carli, she's not eating, she's eating. Like it's, it's kind of not there, but she does like technically eat right away in the morning too.

KARA: Sure, sure. Well, I feel the same way. And I've always noticed with my daughter, she's in elementary school, when she has a breakfast that contains what we're going to talk about today, the protein, healthy fats and some carbohydrate, but not the processed sugary carbohydrates, I notice that her moods, her energy and her focus are so much better, you know, it makes for a happier, calmer household in general.

Believe me, I experienced the downside of her occasionally not eating a balanced protein centered breakfast during the heart of the pandemic when most kids were switched distance learning at home for about a year. So if she would wake up and didn't eat within about an hour of waking or if she didn't eat something that had like protein, eggs, maybe cooked in butter with fruit, she was, I noticed just, she was more crabby, tired, not able to focus on her schoolwork. Just kind of like all over the place at home.

What is your “why” for eating breakfast?


LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yeah. And I'm sure that was, you were not the only person in the world to experience that or to notice that with your kids at that point. Definitely. Yes. And those are just some of the benefits of starting the day with a balanced breakfast. So the energy, the focus, the good moods. So the question for the listeners this morning is, is what is your motivation for taking just that little bit of time in your morning to prepare and eat a well-rounded, balanced breakfast? It is, it is just so easy to grab coffee and a sugary muffin at Starbucks, or to be like, I just don't have time if it doesn't mean reaching into a box and pulling out a granola bar or something like that. But then the question is on the back end of those decisions, you know, is that really setting you up for your best day? Once you find your personal reason for why making breakfast is important, you'll actually start looking forward to this new, healthy habit.

KARA: And everyone's going to have a different why. Maybe your why to eat a balanced breakfast is that you can barely make it through the day at work, because you feel so sluggish and low in energy. Or are you someone who you want to get into the habit of exercising after work, but when you get home, you're just so tired. You just collapse on the couch and just reach in the cupboard for a bag of chips. Well, starting a balanced breakfast habit will give more energy for the entire day and even into the evening hours.

Eating breakfast is important for blood sugar balance


LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Absolutely. And if you are someone kind of like me who struggles with sensitive blood sugars or blood sugars that tend to fluctuate, going up and down throughout the day, or you have prediabetes or diabetes, there is a lot of motivation on why to eat that balanced breakfast.

KARA: The American Journal of Nutrition published a study about this in 2019. The title of this study was “Low Carb Breakfast Improves Control of Blood Glucose Levels”. We'll talk more about why it matters what we eat for breakfast and how we balance out these meals. But the participants in this study were given two different breakfasts on two different days. All of their other meals, their lunch and dinner were identical. Day one they gave the participants oatmeal and fruit. Day two they gave them an omelet. Then they monitored their glucose levels with a with a continuous glucose monitor for the next 24 hours.

LEAH: Yeah. So yeah. So Kara, in essence, they were comparing a breakfast that was high in carbohydrates and very minimal protein and fat, comparing that to a different breakfast that was rich in protein, fat, fiber and very few carbohydrates. So what the, these researchers found was that eating the omelets completely prevented a blood sugar spike after breakfast. And this is the really interesting part. And I love this part. The effect was so beneficial that over, the overall glucose numbers improved for the next 24 hours. So again, the way you start your day can set you up to be stable or to be unstable even throughout the rest of the day.

Now, compared that to the oatmeal and fruit breakfast that created a significant spike in glucose after breakfast. And I, I like to point out, because I hear this from clients a lot in terms of, well, I eat my oatmeal because it's, it has so much fiber in it and fiber, yes, fiber does blunt that blood sugar response when there's enough fiber in there. So you would think, you know, oatmeal, fruit that should have some good fiber in there, but in this particular study, they found that that just that carbohydrate load still spiked those blood sugars up after that meal.

And so again, my guess is those clients or those research participants probably had more unstable blood sugars and kind of felt those effects later on in the day. So as dietitians and nutritionists, we understand the importance of adding protein and especially those healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar levels and also reduce hunger and reduce cravings.

KARA: Right. You know, when we're talking about this topic today, breakfast and how it can improve and set us up for a good day, it's not just about eating anything for breakfast. What we choose for breakfast really does matter. As mentioned earlier, cereal is the most common breakfast Americans eat. Two cups of cereal with milk will turn into about 15 teaspoons of sugar in our bodies.

LEAH: Yeah, that's a lot of, I mean, nobody would sit down at the sugar bowl and just spoon 15 teaspoons of sugar into a bowl or into your mouth. Like nobody would start their day like that, purposefully like that. But so think about the average breakfast cereal. It is made up of about 75% sugar or refined carbohydrates. So you are by far getting a huge bowl of carbohydrates right away in the morning.

So spiking that blood sugar first thing in the morning can really set you up and derail the whole day. It creates hunger. You know, think about an hour or two later after a breakfast like that. It sets you up to have more hunger, more cravings for sugar, more cravings for carbohydrates in general, low energy, lack of focus, low moods and, and just even that irritability or that hangry during the rest of the day.

KARA: Exactly. So we're going to take a quick break. We'll talk more about all things breakfast when we come back. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And before we go to break, I am going to give you a quiz. See if you can get the answer correct before we come back from break and no internet cheating, listeners.

I am going to read off ingredients from a fairly common food. Your job is to guess what the food is. So here it goes: whole grain oats, sugar, oat bran, corn starch, honey, brown sugar syrup. Okay. So keep in mind that out of those six ingredients that I mentioned, three of them are sugar; the sugar, the honey, and the brown sugar syrup. We will be back soon with the answer. So stay tuned.


LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Leah Kleinschrodt, licensed dietitian here with Kara Carper, licensed nutritionist. Now before break, Kara gave all of our listeners a little quiz. She listed off the top six ingredients from a common food label. So I'll just rehash those really quick: whole grain oats, sugar, oat bran, corn starch, honey, brown sugar syrup. So do any of you have any ideas what that brand or that food is? And Kara pointed out the first three ingredients in there are sugar. So that's that honey, brown sugar syrup, regular sugar. And I will even point out those top six ingredients, they're all carbohydrates. They all break down into sugar. So this is, I think you can kind of guess this is a high sugar type of food.

So did you guess a candy bar? If so, that's not the correct answer. Kara and I were talking earlier. Actually my first guess was a granola bar but the actual answer is Honey Nut Cheerios. So for those of you that guessed that you were right. Almost all cereal contains 75% of the, you know, 75% of the ingredients in most cereals are coming from sugar and some kind of refined grain. So whether that's whole grain, like wheat, corn, rice, oats, something along those lines. Now starting the day with cereal is basically like eating dessert or a candy bar. And so sometimes I'll talk to my clients about like, we're trying to get away from eating dessert for breakfast. Today, we're talking about breakfast here in the studio and we want to steer you kind of more in that right direction on what to eat instead of dessert for breakfast.

KARA: Right. Yeah. I think that I, when you said granola bar, I bet a lot of people may have guessed that.

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. And it's, it's not too far off.

KARA: Granola bars would be very similar in the ingredient list as well.

LEAH: Yeah.

Health risks associated with high sugar beverages


KARA: Well, so a balanced breakfast, we, so before break, we were just talking about the benefits of eating a protein, healthy fat, moderate carbohydrate breakfast. And you know, it helps with energy, focus, moods, all of that. So a balanced breakfast, it's really important for all ages. And you know, all ages of kids and adults, but many teens specifically are really struggling they, these days to properly fuel their bodies. Coffee shops are the latest trend for teens. Some common drinks are the Frappuccino, bubble tea. There's this pink drink. It's a basically it's called a “Refresher”. And that has 20 to 40 grams of sugar. Chai tea, which sounds like it would be healthy, but that's actually high in sugar as well. And a caramel Frappuccino; I looked this up. It has 54 grams of sugar. So that's almost 14 teaspoons.

LEAH: Wow.

KARA: So they order these drinks before school, during school and after school. And frequently drinking sugary beverages is associated with weight gain, type two diabetes, tooth decay, and over the long term, even things like heart disease and kidney disease. Our bodies, they're just, they were not made to metabolize the, those high levels of sugar.

LEAH: Right. Absolutely. And I think a lot of teens aren't necessarily thinking about heart disease and kidney disease down the road, but working clinically with teenagers or with parents and things like that in the case of teenagers, just more sugar or that chronic sugar intake can exacerbate things like acne or skin problems, mood swings, more anxiety, or even having problems staying awake during school. Like those are a little more short term or noticeable effects when it comes to our kids.

Now another poll that we came across regarding kids, and this one was one of the largest polls ever done on breakfast habits. It had 14,000 Americans in this poll. The poll found that nearly all toddlers and preschool aged children eat breakfast each day. 77% of elementary students eat breakfast every day, but only 50% of middle schoolers and 36% of high school students eat breakfast every day. So we do want to spend some time giving ideas for recipes and ways to get the, those right nutrients into our younger kids and our teenagers.

When should you eat breakfast?


KARA: Yeah. That's going to be, in just a few minutes here, we're going to start giving some specific examples of what a balanced breakfast looks like. But Leah, you did a little research on the origin of the word breakfast. Many people probably know the word breakfast, it literally means to break a fast, meaning when we sleep we're naturally in a fasted or a non-eating state. The practice of eating a morning meal, it's been around since ancient times, but the word breakfast started being used during middle English. So think in the 1400s. And traditionally the fasted state has been broken with a morning meal. So this has been going on forever.

LEAH: Yeah, for a very long time. And again, just think about that term breakfast. That's, it's exactly what it means. It's breaking the fast that happens after a night's sleep. And so it might be eight hours, 10 hours, 12 hours, somewhere in that range. And this will vary depending on meal timing and on a person's schedule. So, I mean, for example, if you work the night shift and you sleep from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, so it's, it's more reverse of, of the typical schedule, you might be someone who breaks your fast at 4:00 PM with a meal.

So maybe you call that breakfast. Maybe you just call it meal number one. Typically people sleep from around 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. So that's their more fasting state. And so they break that fast maybe around 7:00 AM or so. This is, it's not a hard and fast rule, but it's a good guideline to get started with a, a breakfast routine of eating, you know, maybe about an hour, maybe an hour and a half or so after waking. And so Kara, I do want to talk a little bit more about, just a little bit more about the why of eating breakfast.

KARA: Yeah. The why is so important because that's really what deep down motivates people.

LEAH: Yeah.

KARA: And the key to staying motivated and excited is to know what your personal why is. And a client I saw a while ago found her reason why making breakfast was a priority. When she first came to see me, her goals were to lose weight and get nighttime cravings and binge eating under control. And it was those cravings at night that felt uncontrollable for things like chips, ice cream, anything in the snack cupboard. And this was setting her back from achieving her weight loss goal. So even though she tried so hard to eat good during the day.

LEAH: Yeah, that is, I mean, that's a super common thing. I hear that all the time, that, that evening time, the nighttime, that tends to be a really tricky time for clients when they have more of those cravings. It's hard to kind of put the kibosh on just one that leads to more overeating.

Skipping breakfast can cause undesirable blood sugar swings


KARA: Exactly. And so well it turns out she was skipping breakfast because she thought that it would help her to cut calories and help her with her weight loss goal. And what happens to a lot of people when they skip breakfast or any meal is that blood sugar drops too low. And it might not be as noticeable in the morning, but as the day goes on, the blood sugar levels tend to spike and crash pretty rapidly.

And so a common pattern that I see is skipping breakfast and then eating a snack or lunch, maybe grazing all day and then eating a huge dinner and still feeling like someone is starving before bed.

LEAH: Yes.

KARA: So we're going to finish this up when we come back from break and, you know, we've been offering our Nutrition for Weight Loss program for years. We’re very excited to announce that a continuation to the series is going to be launched in a couple of days. We’ll talk a little bit more about that on the other side of break.


LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Our owner, Dar, has created an addition to the Nutrition for Weight Loss program that is designed to provide graduates with continued education and support. This is a huge announcement. This is the first time we're bringing it onto the show here. So for those of you listening, mark your calendars, because this will become available starting Monday. So Monday, September 26th. As of Monday, you can go to our website,, for more information and to register. So I just wanted to clarify also again, like this is a continuation of Nutrition for Weight Loss. And so it is designed to be added on after clients or students have done that foundational course, that 12 week original series.

KARA: Yeah. That's very exciting that we're launching that in a couple days.

LEAH: It's been a long time coming. I know Dar and I mean really a whole team effort in trying to get these, these new offerings up and going. So again, don't go on the website today. You won't find anything but starting Monday, September 26th you should find more information about that. And if you have questions, you can always call us or go on the website, or if you want to register, just give our offices a call.

Sign Up for Nutrition 4 Weight Loss-Ongoing Support and Education!

So before we went to break, Kara was telling a wonderful story about one of her clients from back in the day who got in that vicious cycle. And I see this a lot with my clients too, of kind of trying to eat “light”; air quotes there, during the day, or like intentionally or unintentionally skipping meals earlier in the day, and then having a kind of snowball and backfire on them at the end of the day, where then you're tired. You, you kind of don't have as much say, I don't want to say willpower, but like barriers or, or being able to ward off some of those cravings. And so her client was getting stuck in that vicious cycle of overeating later in the day, but then skipping things, skipping meals and snacks earlier in the day.

KARA: Mm-hmm.

LEAH: And I notice this time and time again with my clients too. The things that people crave at bedtime or in those evening hours, it's never like chicken and broccoli and butter.

KARA: Right.

LEAH: It's, it's the stuff that it's hard to stop at one, or there's no breaks to those foods. These are usually the higher carb, higher sugar, really salty, crunchy types of foods. And that's because that blood sugar has gotten too low by the end of the day. And when blood sugar gets low, that's an emergency situation to your brain. So your brain is saying, oh my goodness, I need to eat something with refined carbs or a lot of sugar to it to try to get some sugar into my bloodstream so that I can have the energy that I need. And this will temporarily probably make us feel a little bit better because the body does not like to be in that low blood sugar state. So those signals are sent to eat sugar and carbs to ease the discomfort. But when we're trying to talk about regulating blood sugars or weight loss or things like that, it tends to kind of undo some of those hard efforts that we've put in.

KARA: Right, right. And it, I like what you said. It's not necessarily willpower because it is all, it's all biochemical based. Right?

LEAH: Exactly.

KARA: This low blood sugar. So I explained to her the biochemical reason for the nighttime cravings and she was willing to start a new habit of eating more of a protein, healthy fat, and small amount of carbohydrate breakfast. And personally she or she liked two eggs was kind of her preference cooked in butter, sautéed some spinach and mushrooms. And then she had about a half cup of baby red potatoes just kind of sliced up and cooked right in the pan.

LEAH: Yeah. Yum. That's I mean, that sounds delicious; well balanced. So what did you notice over time as she started to implement that new strategy or that new habit?

KARA: So it did take her a little while to get into this new habit of making breakfast. She had to first get her grocery list together, get the eggs, the spinach and the mushrooms. She even bought a new omelet pan so she could cook her eggs. And once she got into that regular habit, she just noticed pretty quickly not being as hungry the rest of the day. She noticed she wasn't overeating when it came to dinner time, and after dinner she wasn't raiding the freezer or the cupboards for snacks and treats. And it was that eating more frequently throughout the day that led her to not want to indulge at night. And because of that, she naturally started losing weight.

A protein filled breakfast creates energy and focus


LEAH: Yeah. It, it makes a lot of sense when you can kind of reverse engineer those days a little bit more and, and spread out some of that nutrition throughout the day. And that's, I mean, that's a really fantastic story, Kara. I love that. So another reason to eat a hearty protein filled breakfast with, you know, eggs, turkey sausage, or, or starting your day with a protein smoothie is so that you have that energy and focus throughout the day.

KARA: And studies have shown that including adequate protein at breakfast improves concentration, memory, energy, and it helps people feel more alert during the day. Protein is made up of amino acids, things like tryptophan and tyrosine. Those are the building blocks of our neurotransmitters; neurotransmitters in our brain that help us to feel more alert, happy and relaxed.

Personally, as someone who's struggled with anxiety and depression, I have learned over time that I have a lot of control over my moods. It's not set in stone that I'm going to be fluctuating. If I start my day out right, like by eating a balanced breakfast, it sets me up for the whole day to have more stable moods and I can avoid either feeling anxious or really down in the dumps, just based on what I'm eating.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. I, I am the exact same way, Kara. I notice that too. Especially if I start to push breakfast off a little too long in the morning, I like, I can feel more of like that adrenalized state or some of that anxiety starting to bubble up a little bit more. So that's always my signal to me to say like, you need to stop whatever it is you're doing, because right now the more important thing is that you need to feed your body and feed your brain right now.

KARA: Mm-Hmm.

Research shows increased health risks associated with skipping breakfast


LEAH: Yes. So there are even more health benefits to eating a real food breakfast. So in fact, Kara and I found a meta-analysis from 2019. So what that means is they just took a look at a bunch of different studies and tried to combine all those results. So they had data from four different studies that included almost 200,000 participants. So again, this is a huge amount of data to look at. And the data showed that skipping breakfast increased the risk factors for obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and poor cholesterol numbers.

KARA: That was super interesting. And we found that research in the 2019 publication called the Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease. Leah, what about those folks who are in the habit of skipping breakfast? You know, we talked a little bit about that earlier. How do they make the transition to start a new habit? Cause I'm, I'm guessing it might sound like a challenge for some of our listeners who are currently not eating breakfast.

How to make the transition to start a breakfast habit


LEAH: Absolutely. It's I think I talk to my clients those morning habits that we have are so foundational for our day. And when you have great habits, it really sets you up for a great day. But when you have some habits that are not serving you, they can be challenging to say the least to make some of those changes. Cause you know, some people just aren't hungry in the morning for breakfast or it's a time issue. They're trying to rush off. They try to get their kids to school, get themselves to work.

And sometimes they just don't feel that urgency or that motivation to prepare breakfast, especially if they're running low in energy. How many of our clients come in and they haven't slept well? They haven’t slept well for months or years or maybe again like, or maybe it's more recent but not sleeping well. You have low energy in the morning. Why would you want to take even a few extra minutes to prepare a breakfast?

KARA: Right. And maybe they're trying to sleep in if they're sleep deprived.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Hit the snooze button five or six times. So it can definitely, it can definitely feel overwhelming, especially if someone doesn't know what to eat. So I just try to start with people of keeping it very simple when you're short on time or energy.

KARA: Mm-hmm. One of my favorite simple breakfast recipes: It's our protein shake. So this works for really well for someone who isn't hungry, cause we hear that as well, right? Like, “I'm just not hungry in the morning. I can't imagine making an omelet.” So for someone who doesn't want to eat maybe solid food, it might be easier to transition from not eating breakfast to sipping on a protein shake, you know, instead of like a full eggs and sausage breakfast.

LEAH: Yeah. I talk with my clients all the time about that too; yes, that sometimes a liquid breakfast like that can be easier to wrap your head around as opposed to a breakfast that you have to chew. So most of our recipes that we will be talking about here are on our website. So that's There's a recipe, you know, tab on the top and there's even a tab specifically for breakfast. So sticking with that, that theme of protein shakes, there is, you know, we were just taking a look through some of our recipes as we were preparing for the show.

We have over 10 delicious smoothie recipes and this ranges from pumpkin smoothies, so ‘tis the season for everything pumpkin right now, to peanut butter and jelly and even chocolate mint. Our original signature smoothie recipe is at the very bottom of the breakfast recipe page. So scroll all the way to the bottom. You, you can't go wrong with a good berry smoothie. It's super easy. And I did just want to point out too, that when we talk about smoothies, I'm not just talking about fruit and almond milk; like that is not a balanced smoothie and that will definitely not keep you full and satisfied and keep your blood sugar stable.

We want to make sure those smoothies have an element of protein in there, whether it's yogurt, a good quality protein powder or both of those things. And also, we want that element of fat in there as well, that canned coconut milk, nut butter, whatever that might be. And when I started making protein shakes when I first started working for Nutritional Weight and Wellness, I found it really easy to just get out the big blender instead of, you know, making one every single day. I just, I wanted to consolidate that time. I'd get out the big blender and make a handful of them at a time, you know, 3, 4, 5 of them at a time; put them in glass jars, like Mason jars, stick them in the freezer and just take them out as I needed them during my week. And usually it worked well if you take them out the night before and stick it stick it in the fridge.

KARA: Oh, that's such a great idea. Right? Instead of like getting up like extra early to make it every morning, it's already made. I think that's so important for someone trying to get into that new breakfast habit.

LEAH: Yep, absolutely.

KARA: So we'll talk more about some wonderful recipes and ideas, but first we need to take a quick break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Kara Carper, licensed nutritionist. I'm here today with Leah Kleinschrodt, licensed and registered dietitian. We are on a mission to make eating veggies easier and more flavorful. And we have a virtual cooking class that's all about vegetables. Are you someone who doesn't like vegetables very much. If so, we've got you covered. Leah will share more after this break.


LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Our culinary expert, chef Marianne will be teaching a virtual class this coming Wednesday, September 28th at 6:00 PM. That's central time. It's called “Vegetables: Raw, Roast, Steam and Sauté”. Wondering how to get more veggies in throughout the day and how to prepare them so that they taste delicious? This is the class for you, and Marianne is so knowledgeable, so wonderful, so passionate about produce and how to prepare things and making it really accessible for people. So if this sounds interesting to you, you can read more about this class and register on our website at And you just click on classes and there'll be everything that you need to know about our cooking classes.

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KARA: Marianne's great. And we were hoping she could join us today.

LEAH: I know.

KARA: But she's, I believe she's out of town, but she did weigh in and, and give us some tips for today's show. We're incorporating some of Marianne's ideas. So thank you, Marianne.

LEAH: So Marianne in essence is still with us here today.

What should a balanced breakfast consist of?


KARA: Exactly. So, okay. We were talking about how do we balance out the breakfast and it really, here's a good rule of thumb. It gets down to the magic number three. So our breakfast should have three components: quality protein, and that's for metabolism, energy and focus, healthy fats. We do not want to forget the healthy fats. That's what's going to keep us feeling full and satisfied and give us stable energy and moods. And carbohydrates. And ideally, you know, not from a refined grain source, but more from vegetables and/or fruits.

And we'll talk about some breakfasts that do have some grains or starch and that's fine in moderate quantities. But what we want to get away from is the habit of just grabbing only a grain or a starch. Like we don't want that cold cereal. We just don't want to grab a piece of toast or have pancakes. Cause that is the breakfast that sets us up for failure as far as like cravings, low energy, things like that

LEAH: Yeah. Yep. Absolutely. So yeah, when we talk, when we're talking about these things and how a lot of people like to eat that toast and that cereal, one thing it reminded me of is actually many other cultures in the world don't have separate foods for breakfast. They just kind of eat the same foods day in and day out all day long so that it might be things like fish or rice or vegetables. It's more of our Western culture that, we've just become used to eating specific breakfast foods like the cereal with milk, which really probably shouldn't be called breakfast. It has, because those things really do have the same amount of sugar as a dessert.

KARA: You know, great point. And heating up dinner leftovers, that's a fantastic and a simple way to have breakfast. I remember my mom used to eat. She would say, “I'm having leftover hamburger and a leftover veggie for breakfast”, and she would heat that up. And one of our nutrition educators cooks up pork chops on the weekend. And that's her protein choice for breakfast.

LEAH: Yeah. Sometimes it just takes hearing some of those ideas to jog that brain or just to plant that seed and be like, oh yeah, like we're just trying to eat real food all day long. And it does, we don't have to compartmentalize some of these things into breakfast boxes. So we're going to talk just about a few other simple breakfast ideas. On our website, we've got a couple of these, we've got a couple protein muffin recipes: super tasty, easy. Especially if you can prepare them ahead of time. You just, they're great warm or cold, honestly. I like mine warmed up with a little bit of butter on there. And actually I just made our banana muffin recipe the other day.

KARA: Oh, did you?

LEAH: We needed a rainy day activity with me and my son. So we, we made the, the banana muffin recipe.

KARA: Oh, that's great.

LEAH: Yeah.

KARA: Here's a couple more simple suggestions: So boiling eggs; I usually boil a dozen eggs on the weekend and I even often, you know, I keep them in cold water in the fridge, but if I really want to prepare for like a rushed morning, I'll even peel like two or three the night before.

LEAH: Yes.

KARA: So there there's nothing for me to do in the morning. They're ready to go. And then the carbohydrate, I would just grab like a small apple and eat maybe two tablespoons of nut butter or a handful of nuts, usually about an eighth or a quarter of a cup

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

KARA: Plain whole milk yogurt is a second option. And you can add a little bit of sweetener. I sometimes will put a flavored protein powder and stir that in and add fresh or frozen berries and chopped nuts or seeds. And then a similar breakfast to the yogurt would be half, maybe two thirds cup of full fat cottage cheese. That gives a great amount of protein. And then I would pair that with a half cup of fruit and again, nuts or seeds. So all really simple and quick.

LEAH: Yeah, simple, quick. I mean really less than five to 10 minutes in the morning, and I would even argue, so a lot of those, like two or three minutes. I mean set your timer, even see how long it would take you. And eggs are really a great protein source for breakfast. It's, it's one of those ones that we tend to go to. And there's so many ways to prepare them. If you are more of that fan of making things ahead of time, we do have two great recipes on our website. The egg bake recipe is on there as well as the sheet pan frittata. Really great. Especially if you can just make those up on the weekend. You get your veggies in there. You kind of get everything in one fell swoop. Maybe you're pairing a piece of fruit with that, but "easy peasy" to either microwave before you leave for work or even something that you can package up. Just bring with you to work, eat, eat it when you're there.

KARA: Yeah. In fact, I had a client who used to make that egg bake recipe and she would just like put it in a container in the morning and then heat it up once she got to the office. But there are folks who either don't like eggs. There's people that have egg allergies. Maybe, maybe you're like me and you just can't imagine yourself eating eggs every single day for breakfast.

So we, there are non-egg options. We've given a few like the, the protein muffins, the protein shakes, the yogurt, the cottage cheese. Another one that can be made ahead of time is our turkey sausage recipe. And that's also on our website and those you can make in bulk and you can even freeze those. And I know some people take those as a snack as well.

LEAH: Yes. Yep. That's actually one of my favorite recipes.

KARA: Oh, I love that recipe.

LEAH: Actually. We made those also. There was a lot of like oven time yesterday in our household.

KARA: Rainy day.

LEAH: Yeah. Exactly.

KARA: Oven time. I love it. So I, I like to take the turkey sausage patties and just heat them up in a pan while I'm sautéing veggies in some coconut oil and then maybe half of a sweet potato. And whether that's like microwaved or baked ahead of time, or sometimes I will just like chop that up and put it right in the pan and make kind of like a hash or you could even do like shredded sweet potato.

LEAH: Yeah. No, I love that idea. And especially for more of those, that it's a savory breakfast idea.

KARA: Mm-Hmm.

Breakfast options for teenagers


LEAH: Yeah. You know, before us, we were kind of getting towards the end of our show, I did want to jump our discussion back to the older kids like those teenagers or more of those middle schoolers who tend not to eat breakfast. So a couple of ideas that, you know, if I'm meeting with a teenager or say with their parents or with both of them, you know, some of the common ideas that we'll throw out: I do really like the protein shake idea for those teenagers, because it's, you know, you can, again, you can make several ahead of time and you can freeze them, thaw them out as you need them. It has all the components that we need. As you mentioned, Kara, we want that protein, those healthy fats, those good carbohydrates in there, everything in one jar or one container. So there's no extra thought that has to go into it right away in the morning.

KARA: Yeah. That's a great one. I mean, the teenagers I'm sure that you've worked with have typically loved that protein shake option. Or the protein muffins, again that are on our website. And some are under breakfast and some are, are under snacks I believe. There's also on our website, protein balls and protein cookie dough bites.

LEAH: Yes. Yeah, no, and again, those are some of my favorite ones. And for those, for the teenagers and or adults who just are not used to that breakfast habit, sometimes even wrapping your head around, instead of trying to wrap your head around starting with a large meal, or like trying to think about trying to get that meal in, sometimes it's like, okay, I'm just going to start with a snack early in the morning.

KARA: It's a good transition.

LEAH: Yeah. Still even a balanced snack. And that's where those protein balls really come in handy. And you know, you use a little bit of protein powder in there for the protein; usually some kind of nut butter for the fat and then the carbs, like some kind of oats, maybe a little dried fruit in there, but really customizable.

KARA: Exactly. And then if there's a little bit more time, you know, cooking up scrambled eggs with cheese, a lot of, a lot of teens like that, or an, or an omelet, whether the parent’s doing it or the teen might be cooking their own.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

KARA: All of my friends from college have teens. And I had a, one of my friends said, you know, my husband cooks a big breakfast every morning for my son, who's a high school senior and he plays football. And so, you know, eggs with some nitrate free bacon or sausage. And he likes eating that way because it helps him to have energy both for school and for football. So I loved that example.

LEAH: Yeah. And it sounds like for that particular teenager, he found his why for eating breakfast. And so he was happy to do that because he really saw the benefits of doing that.

KARA: Exactly. And that's really what it all gets back to is figuring out listeners, what is your why? What is your motivation first starting a new healthy breakfast habit that contains the protein, fat and healthy carb? You know, our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple, but a powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. So thank you so much for listening and hope you have a wonderful day.

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