Do you really know what you’re eating for breakfast every day? To put it another way, do you know the nutritional value of your first meal in the morning, and more importantly, how that value may be negatively effecting your overall goals?
Everything we eat (hopefully) contains some amount of macronutrients. There are three main macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat. A nutritious diet balances macros according to an individual’s specific needs and goals. (That ratio changes according to your goals, e.g., if you want to put on muscle, or lose fat, or simply feel less depleted.)
It sounds so simple—know what you’re putting into your body. But for many of us, understanding the difference between what we’re habitually eating versus what we should be can be a bit of a shock. Many of the people who’ve signed up for our Nutrition Accountability Program (NAP) were surprised by how their habitual eating choices fell short of their nutritional needs. Now armed with a better understanding of what they need to thrive, they’ve found alternatives to make healthier, more balanced choices.
Here are some of the common misconceptions they had about what constitutes a proper breakfast, and the choices they made to correct them. Hopefully these will inspire you, or people you know, to make healthier more informed choices, too.
Misconception No. 1: I always thought I had to eat bread/toast for breakfast to fill full.
Toast with peanut butter or jam is full of empty carbohydrates. With over 40g of carbs this meal will just prime you for a giant crash mid-morning.
Healthy change: Greek yogurt (21 g of protein per serving) with granola and a drizzle of honey is not only fast and filling but balanced.
Misconception No. 2: There’s not enough time to make breakfast in the morning so I just grab cereal or Starbucks’ breakfast sandwiches.
The morning rush is real. Reduce the stress by making breakfast the night before. Having a delicious healthy breakfast that’s already made for you in the AM reduces the chance that you will make a poor eating decision later on.
Healthy change: Make breakfast when you have the time. Make overnight oats Sunday night and it lasts all week, and tastes delicious.
Misconception No. 3: My breakfasts used to be very small. Shakes, cereal, a banana—about 150-200 calories.
Breakfast is a meal—not a snack. Make sure you’re eating a meal in the morning, especially if you don’t pack your own healthy snack for work. If not, hunger will break you down by mid-morning and you’ll find yourself hitting the vending machine, or local coffee shop for a sugar- or carb-heavy snack to keep you going until lunch.
Healthy change: Focus on getting enough protein in the morning and make sure breakfasts are more like meals, hitting around 300-plus calories.
The takeaway for us all: Eat breakfast, make sure it’s sufficient and balances out your nutritional needs. If you’re struggling to do this or need counselling on what your protein-to-fat-to-carb ratio should be, talk to a coach, or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Broder McNeill is a coach and co-owner at Alchemy CrossFit.