When you are trying to lose bodyfat and get lean, the trick isn't necessarily knowing what to eat, but more so how to eat the right stuff without it being an almighty pain in the ass. What was once a time of rejuvenation, and essential preparation for the day ahead, has now been turned into a whirlwind of getting ready, and scoffing down whatever you can grab to hand. Enter the breakfast cereal, the killer of breakfast time! Breakfast cereals are made to be convenient, whichis the upside. The down side (which far outweighs the upside), is that pretty much without exception, breakfast cereals have about as much nutrition in them as a piece of tumbleweed, and about as much sugar as Willy Wonka's everlasting gobstopper. The end result is that you end up with an empty meal that gives you a bit of instant gratification but in general gives very little back and makes it more likely that you will have an energy crash later in the morning, overeat, or reach for another sugary snack, and overall not get lean or burn bodyfat. Do not be fooled by the claims of cereal boxes that they are 'fortified with Vitamin such and such', or that they are healthy. Real food doesn’t need to be fortified with anything. It comes with vitamins and minerals included as standard. Real foods laugh at breakfast cereals!
So the trick to having a breakfast fit for a king or queen in the morning, is not knowing what to eat, as we have already established real food is what we want. Foods, not food products. On the finer detail, it’s a good idea to have a breakfast that is high in protein, and relatively low in sugar. Eggs, fish, meats, and even natural Greek yogurt with a few cashews on top would hit the mark. A hearty bowl of porridge is also a good way to start the day when couples with a piece of chopped fruit, milk, and a sprinkling of nuts. We could go into varying degrees of depth here when discussing breakfast, and the benefits of a zero carb breakfast compared to the higher carb breakfast of porridge etc, but the absolute most important thing to take away from the post is to get into the habit of eating a top quality breakfast every single day. Here are a few tips on how you can achieve this with ease, without the seemingly obligatory headache that comes with most changes.
Cook extra at dinner time
When you are making dinner, cook enough of the protein source (meat, fish etc) to do you for the breakfast the next morning. You could even cook enough for lunch the next day as well. When you wake up in the morning, hey presto, breakfast.
Having oats soaking overnight makes to most delicious porridge known to man, as well as making it less time consuming and more likely that you will take a 5 minute time-out to eat a nutritious and delicious breakfast to get you set up for the day ahead.
Have eggs ready to boil
When I plan to have eggs in the morning, just putting them into the pot with cold water the night before leaves that I only have to flip the hob on in the morning and in a few minutes I will be cracking those bad-boys open for a high protein, high fat (the good kind) breakfast. Most of the time I add an extra 2 or 3 eggs and hard boil them so I have a snack for later or so I can chop them up into a salad at dinner or the next day.
Make the breakfast in advance
Making your own breakfast bars can be a super way to make sure you are getting the day off to a good start, as long as you are not filling them up with lots of sugary foods. Cashews, mixed nuts, oats, and a good quality protein powder can be great additions to the bars and helps to keep the nutritional makeup along the lines of what you need at breakfast. Make plenty of bars in one go and freeze those puppies up so you can have high quality food at hand when you need it. A word of caution stemming from the reason that I don’t make bars for myself very often; DO NOT eat them all in one go. They may be healthy and full of goodness, but if you eat 20 of those suckers in one go, you will be fighting an uphill battle for the next few weeks!
Do as much of the prep the night before as possible
Similar to the oat-soaking, do as much as you can of your preparation for breakfast the night before. Add contents to smoothie machine ready to be blitzed, have the bars out of the freezer, meat defrosted, eggs in pots, plate and cutlery ready to go etc. etc. Even the smallest thing can make a big difference, as most of us are not functioning to our best in their first 30 minutes out of bed. Make it easy to have the breakfast. Another positive to this is that having the stuff on the worktop the night before can even make you look forward to breakfast a bit, and makes it more likely you will give yourself the time to enjoy it in the morning.
Establish a morning routine
Last but not least, establish a morning routine that fits your work and family schedule. Figure out what time you need you be leaving the house at in the morning and work back from there. The more time you give yourself to eat breakfast and get set up for the day the more likely it is that you will have a productive and fulfilling day. My own morning routine at the moment consists of getting up, having a glass of water, bowl of porridge, and cup of coffee. This is followed by reading my book, 10 minutes of meditation, and a quick run around the fields behind my apartment.
So there you have it. Sort your breakfast out and you will be onto a winner for the rest of the days when it comes to energy, productivity, and getting lean.
This article is by Ainle Ó Cairealláin MSc CSCS.