Healthy Must-Have Morning Foods
Monday mornings. Tuesday mornings. No matter which day it is, the energy you’ll need to face those eight—or ten-hour—work days depend on what you consume for your fuel. But with kids to get ready, emails to answer, too often we grab something on the go and deprive our bodies of the essential nutrients it needs to get through the day. The result? By mid-day we crash. Or worse, we press on and drain our adrenals—which helps us manage stress. But top nutritionists say that if you stick to these must-have morning foods you’ll be surprised at the focus and energy your body—and brain—maintains throughout the day.
1. Lean protein
Grabbing a bagel for what you believe is a filling meal is so not the way to go. Did you know that one bagel is equivalent to five slices of bread? And that’s just way too many carbs for your body to take in the morning. Half a bagel before a workout, maybe, but not before jumping in a car and driving to a job where you’ll be sitting down all day. While we do need carbohydrates to help fuel energy, carbs contain L-tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid with a documented sleep inducing effect. Carbohydrates stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin. When this occurs, some amino acids that compete with L-tryptophan leave the bloodstream and enter muscle cells. This causes an increase in the relative concentration of L-tryptophan in the bloodstream. Serotonin is synthesized and you end up feeling very sleepy. So consuming carbs—or candy bars at mid-day—will give you a quick high, then a complete crash. And who wants to doze off at work? Lean proteins on the other hand will facilitate the synthesis of chemicals that are made from tyrosine (i.e. dopamine and neropinphrine ), which usually help in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, ensuring that you are mentally alert and on top of your game. So stick to a huevos rancheros wrap for a quick meal on the go—or any meal with lean protein.
2. Low fat yogurt and nuts
Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and lysine aminos, which help us deal with anxiety and stress. This makes it perfect to enjoy before that big meeting or interview. Try it with granola, fground flax seed or organic fruit for a balanced, energizing snack throughout the day.
3. Healthy fats
It is important to consume healthy fats before going to work because Omega-3 fatty acids help your brain to perform at its peak. Omega-3 fatty acids are actually the building blocks of brain tissue and they help you to remain focused and alert. The body usually relies on foods consumed to synthesize this important nutrient since it can’t produce it naturally. Some good sources of health fats include salmon, walnuts and other nut varieties, plus olive oil and even avocados. Enjoy a smoothie made with avocados, yogurt, spinach (for some folate), a banana and you’re brain engines have been lit for the day.
4. Whole grains
To start your day you need to focus. Vitamin B is known to help you do that, plus boost your memory. Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, or barley, will help you get the much-needed vitamin B. Other sources of vitamin B are broccoli, parsley, and cauliflower. Add some brown rice to your breakfast wrap—or switch things up. Enjoy a small meal of salmon (lean protein) and quinoa) for quick energy.