Eating a balanced plate first thing will give you an energy surge to kick off your day STRONG, and help keep those hunger growls in check. As I state in my book Go from Stressed to Strong: Health & Fitness Advice from High Achievers, “what you eat for breakfast sets the tone for your entire day”.
I am all about integrating meal prep into your busy life and do not expect you to cook all day. Come on, who has time for that, really?!
I do a lot of batch cooking on the weekends (roast chicken, bake/roast vegetables, cut up raw veggies, and slow cook pork/chicken) so that when Monday arrives, I don’t have to stress. To help you get started, here are a few strategies and recipes to make that first meal healthy, yet flexible.
Boost your energy and fuel your workouts
Create a habit of eating something smart in the a.m. every day for 5 days by mixing and matching the strategies below. When assembling meals, follow this formula: a bit of protein along with a healthy carb and a good fat (avocado, or nuts).
Spend some time on Sunday setting up several days’ worth of breakfasts.
Bake 4 Sweet Potatoes
On Sunday, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and bake 4 medium organic sweet potatoes for 60-minutes. Let them completely cool before you add to a storage container, and then place in the fridge. You will find it easy to add a sweet potato to breakfast, lunch or dinner anytime during the week because you cooked ahead.
Elissa’s Chia Breakfast Pudding (recipe taken from Go from Stressed to Strong):
½ cup unsweetened organic almond milk
2 tbsp. chia seeds
2 tbsp. organic sulphite-free raisins
1 generous sprinkle of organic cinnamon
1 dried chopped organic date, pit removed
½ tsp alcohol –free vanilla
1 pinch of dried stevia herb powder
1 organic avocado
2 tbsp. more almond milk for blending
Directions: Combine ½ cup almond milk, chia seeds, raisins, cinnamon, chopped date, and vanilla and let stand for 5-10 minutes until it thickens. Blend the mixture with the dried stevia powder and avocado, adding almond milk for consistency. If you have a powerful blender, the chia seeds should all but disappear. Share the rest with a family member or save the second serving in a tightly sealed container for the following morning.
*Chia seeds are rich in a form of omega-3-fatty acids that may help improve cholesterol and high blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. They also have 11 grams of fiber per oz.
DIY Smoothie Packs
Grab a freezer-safe container (I don’t like using plastic baggies b/c they aren’t good for Mother Earth, but use whatever you prefer) and put 1 cup berries, half a banana and 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed into each container (make as many as you want to have on-hand during the week). Stash these away in your freezer. When your alarm goes off, grab one, toss the contents into the blender with ice, almond milk and 1 tbsp. of your favorite nut butter, and you’re done.
*Flaxseeds contain 6.4 grams of omega-3s per one ounce serving size. They provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the type of omegas found in planet-based sources.
*Avocado and nut butter are both healthy picks – in moderation. Limit yourself to ½ an avocado or 2 tbsp. of nut butter in your smoothie to keep calories in check.
No way you have time to make ahead? These eats and drinks can be ready in a jiffy.
Eggs in a Basket
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ cup chopped red pepper
¼ cup chopped red onion
1 ½ cups of chopped kale
2 slices of sprouted or whole-grain bread
2 large organic eggs
Directions: In a large nonstick skillet, warm coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add your kale and red pepper and then cook for 7 more minutes, or until soft. Remove from skillet and let rest. Using a knife or plain edge round cutter, remove center of each bread slice, leaving a 1-inch border. In the same skillet, on medium heat, lay bread slices flat. Crack an egg into each hole and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 tbsp. water to skillet and cover with a lid. Cook for 2 more minutes. Remove the lid, flip eggs and bread and cook for an additional 1 ½ more minutes. Top eggs and bread with vegetables.
Laurie’s Good Juice (recipe taken from Go from Stressed to Strong):
2 long stalks of celery
1 sprig of mint
1 medium size red/gold beet (+2 leaves from beet)
½ slice of lemon
1 inch of ginger root
1 to 2 stems of parsley and leaves
1 regular size carrot
1 small green apple
1 leaf of green chard
Directions: Run all ingredients through a standard juicer at regular speed. Drink within 12 hours and cover any stored excess juice.
Eggs, Sweet Potato Hash, and Avocado
2 large organic eggs, beat
½ cup organic spinach
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 medium, mashed sweet potato (previously cooked)
½ organic avocado, sliced
Directions: In a medium nonstick pan, warm coconut oil over medium heat and add mashed sweet potato. Flipping potatoes only once, brown each side for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and add to your plate. In the same pan (make sure you have enough coconut oil left, if you need more, add ½ tbsp. to pan) scramble the 2 beaten eggs, throwing in the ½ cup spinach as you whisk the eggs in the pan. Cook eggs to your specification (2-3 min). Remove spinach and eggs from pan and place on top of your sweet potato mash. Plate dish with sliced avocado.
When making breakfast at home is absolutely not an option, try these on-the-go options. (This should be used as a last resort)
Swing by the Market:
Don’t forget that you can easily stop by the market on your way into the office and buy only a banana and yogurt. People tend to have more control when they are able to choose their own options (in a market), versus being limited to menu items at a drive-thru.
Stock Up at Your Destination:
Have an office fridge? Stash away fresh fruit, yogurt, cut-up veggies, and hard-boiled eggs. Keep nut butter, natural & non-processed meat sticks, and plain oatmeal in a desk drawer so you know you’re always covered.
Have a suggestion for a dish you’d like to see?
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you! – Laurie