Are you stuck in a breakfast rut? For some fun new breakfast ideas for fall, we asked Rumble Dietitian Rachel Dickens to share her favourite recipes and explain what to look for in a healthy breakfast.
How do we know if our breakfast is 'healthy'?
There are two things I encourage people to focus on with breakfast:
1) getting enough fibre
2) getting enough protein
Fibre doesn't get the attention it deserves. Fibre only comes from plant foods and is the 'undigestible' form of carbohydrates that remains unblemished as it passes through our digestive system. This is different from starch or sugar, which are also carbohydrates but differ in that they can break down into glucose after about 20 minutes of eating. It is thought there are anywhere from hundreds or thousands of different types of fibre in nature! We don't know all the different types but what we do know is that the fibre we eat is important for heart health, blood sugar regulation, reducing risks of certain types of cancers and gut health!
(Read more about the importance of fibre here
Our good gut bacteria looovveee eating fibre, and the more diversity in fibre we eat, the more diversity in good bacteria in our gut (a good thing!). We know that a healthy gut bacteria environment is directly linked to metabolic health. We should all be aiming for at least 30 different types of plant-foods per week to ensure a good diversity in fibres - for example, oatmeal would be one type of plant-food, berries another, hemp another. Do you know anyone that has white toast with jam for breakfast? Ask them to switch to whole-grain toast and add some peanut butter to their toast to bump-up the fibre and fibre diversity.
In addition to including some fibre at breakfast, a source of protein is also important. Some of my favourite plant-based protein sources include hemp hearts, nuts and seeds, nut butter (ie peanut butter or almond butter). Other protein sources that are commonly eaten at breakfast include eggs, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese.
Why is it important to include protein-rich foods at breakfast?
Most of us love carbs for breakfast, even if we don't realize it. We know that cereal, bread, bagels, jam are carbohydrates, but sometimes we forget that dairy (including milk and yogurt, fruit, juice, and even healthy oatmeal are carbohydrate foods). Carbohydrates all break down into sugar, or glucose, which is what our body uses for fuel, but too much carbohydrate at one time creates a large spike in blood sugars.
After a carb-heavy breakfast of cereal, toast, milk, and fruit, the spike in blood sugar levels is followed by a steep drop in blood sugar levels. Some of us might be more sensitive to this drop and start to feel tired, irritated and hungry! Not only this, but that spike in blood sugar levels also spikes our hormone insulin, and too much circulating insulin can put our body into fat storage mode. For these two reasons, we want to prevent large spikes in blood sugar levels.
How do we do this? - by introducing protein. Protein, unlike carbohydrates, does not breakdown into glucose. Typical breakfast foods that are high in protein include hemp hearts, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, greek yogurt, cottage cheese or eggs. Protein also takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, so it sits in our stomach for longer, helping us to feel more full after meals. When we include a protein with breakfast (or any meal and snack!) we help blunt that spike in blood sugars from the carbohydrates, and instead have a more slow release of sugar/energy.
This doesn't mean to cut out carbohydrates completely for breakfast - they help give us the energy that we need for the day, and many of the unprocessed carbohydrates such as fruit and oatmeal are a valuable source of fibre which we know is important in so many areas of health. The goal is to always include a protein whenever you are having some carbohydrates. This not only helps to keep us fuller for longer but also stabilizes blood sugar levels and dampens insulin spikes, which can help with weight management, energy levels, as well as mood!
My favourite things to eat for breakfast
It's always changing, but in the summer I love smoothies and smoothie bowls, like this one.
It's a great way to get in extra fibre, since blending berries with kale, spinach, and even cauliflower makes for a tasty and refreshing drink. I love using hemp hearts or nut butter for my smoothie protein source.
In the cooler months, I love oatmeal, with frozen berries. Again I add peanut butter or hemp hearts for my protein. This high protein steel cut oats recipe
contains 10 grams of fibre and over 20 grams of protein! I love making a big batch of this and having it throughout the week.
Three Ingredient Pancakes
But right now, my go-to is 3 ingredient pancakes - all it is is banana, oatmeal and eggs. I love topping them with nut butter, and sometimes cooked-down frozen berries. I have been experimenting with an egg-free version (coming soon!).
For a healthy, on-the-go breakfast solution, grab a Rumble Supershake! With 20 grams of protein, 5 grams of fibre, and 2500mg of Omega 3's, Rumble is all-natural, nutritionally balanced fuel for your day.