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Creating A Balanced Breakfast: 5 Tips And 5 Options

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Create a balance by choosing multiple food groups with smaller portion sizes. Most people should aim to get at least 20 gm protein for breakfast, more if you are male or very active. Include fiber and fat to stay full. Use a hunger scale to determine the correct portion sizes and control your calorie intake. Stay hydrated with fluid. Squeeze lemon in water to add flavor.

When trying to improve your eating habits it’s best not to go too hard too fast, but rather to focus on small, sustainable changes that you can commit to doing for life. I have said it a million times – consistency and patience are more important than perfection.

If you read A Non-Diet Approach to a Healthy Breakfast then you’ll know that when trying to create a healthy breakfast, the goal is to aim for balance and variety, not perfection. This ensures that we get a good balance of micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients) and macro-nutrients (protein, carbs, fat) to power through our morning, yet allows us the flexibility to choose foods we enjoy and can fit into our busy lifestyle on a consistent basis.

5 Simple Tips For A Balanced Breakfast

1. Create balance by choosing multiple food groups.

For most people, I recommend that they aim for 4 food groups at breakfast. One thing I hear many people say when I ask them to get in more food groups at breakfast is “that’s too much food”. If you also feel that to be the case when looking at the breakfast ideas below, then lower the portion size of each item.

2. Get enough protein.

Most people should aim to get at least 20 grams of protein for breakfast, more if you are male or very active. However, keep in mind, everyday doesn’t have to be perfect. Focus more on how good you feel when you’ve eaten a breakfast with enough protein.

Hint: if you are following #1, you’ll get pretty close to 20g of protein without even trying.

3. Include fiber and fat to stay full.

Again, if you’re following #1, this should happen naturally. If you can’t tell by now, I’m a big fan of variety!

4. Use a hunger scale to determine the correct portion sizes.

If you are choosing a good variety of food and eating when you need to, the hunger scale is a great way to control your calories without having to do math every time you sit down to eat.

5. Stay hydrated with fluid.

This is especially important at breakfast time. Most people wake up in a state of slight to moderate dehydration. Before you reach for that cup of Joe or hot tea, try to drink at least 8 oz of pure water. A squeeze of lemon would be fine to add some flavor.

Balanced Breakfast Ideas

Option 1

  • Whole egg(s)
  • 100% whole grain toast
  • Butter from Grass-fed Cows/cream cheese
  • Fruit
  • Coffee/tea/water

Option 2

  • Egg, veggie, and cheese scramble/omelet
  • Fruit and/or 100% whole grain toast
  • Butter from Grass-fed Cows/cream cheese
  • Coffee/tea/water

Option 3

Smoothie:

  • Protein powder
  • Yogurt/Kefir/milk (any type)*
  • Fruit
  • Spinach, carrots, beets and/or desired veggie

*If low-fat then add in avocado, nuts or seeds the fat will give it staying power

Option 4

Grab ‘n Go: Pick at least 3-4:

  • Hard-boiled egg and/or string cheese
  • Fresh fruit
  • Handful of nuts
  • Granola/cereal bar
  • Coffee/tea/water

Option 5

Oatmeal with:

  • Nuts and Fresh Fruit
  • Milk (any type) and/or an egg
  • Coffee/tea/water

Bottom Line

Breakfast is important. Don’t worry about eating a perfect breakfast, just try to get balance and variety by choosing at least 4 food groups and make sure to start the day off with adequate hydration. Even though we aren’t aiming for perfection here, some days we are going to be even farther from perfection than we’d like. Because, let’s face it, we are all bound to have “one of those days”!

Dr. Vida Talebi

Dr. Vida Talebi, ND is a board certified Naturopathic Physician who understands the challenges of keeping your body and mind healthy. She operates in Portland, Oregon, where she specializes in hormone balance, gastroenterology, weight loss, obesity, fatigue, menopause, depression/sadness, anti-aging medicine and auto-immune disease.

Dr. Vida Talebi

Dr. Vida Talebi, ND is a board certified Naturopathic Physician who understands the challenges of keeping your body and mind healthy. She operates in Portland, Oregon, where she specializes in hormone balance, gastroenterology, weight loss, obesity, fatigue, menopause, depression/sadness, anti-aging medicine and auto-immune disease.

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