February 16, 2011

Fuel Up First: bene-fit Breakfast Ideas

When we first consult with a bene-fit client, we talk about lots of things - exercise history, health status, weight goals - but perhaps the most surprising every time is diet.

"I eat pretty well," a client might say, holding a chemical-filled Diet Coke and stomach growling from a skipped breakfast.  "Most of the time I try to be healthy," says another, remembering the wine-fueled cupcake overdose from the night prior.  Regardless of the exact euphemism, it is often food that brings one to bene-fit as much as fitness.

And let's be honest - for many, the diet element of total wellness is the harder part.  Though exercise can be difficult, it also feels great - heart pumping, sweat dripping, endorphins jumping.  Dieting, on the other hand, can feel repressive and empty.  No sugar?  No carbs?  NO WAY!

That said, we at bene-fit like to believe that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step - and for lots of diet-deprived folks, that can mean just adding breakfast!  Eating breakfast is one of the easiest, fastest, and most satisfying ways to restructure your food intake in a healthier way.

But what to eat?  And how much?

Surprisingly, most people underestimate the calorie demands of breakfast - remember, this meal is fueling the better part of your active, working day - so you want to aim for 250-500 calories (depending on your height, weight, gender, and activity level, of course).  You also want to go for a balance of complex carbohydrates and healthy lean protein to make sure your meal "lasts" until lunch, and adding a vegetable or fruit serving makes a good meal even better.

Of course, we also want to make it as easy as possible to get your breakfast prepared and ready - so we've compiled a list of bene-fit-approved, four-ingredient-or-less breakfasts to get you out the door full and healthy:

--OATMEAL with 1/2 chopped apple, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp brown sugar
--LOW-SUGAR GRANOLA with 1/2 chopped pear, 1 TB flaxseeds, and 1 tsp honey
--WHOLE WHEAT ENGLISH MUFFIN with 1 slice low-sodium ham, 1 scrambled egg, and 1/2 cup cantaloupe
--LOW-SUGAR BLUEBERRY MINI-MUFFIN with 1 hard-boiled egg
--WHOLE WHEAT BAGEL with 1 TB natural peanut butter and 1/2 mashed banana on top
--OPEN-FACED TURKEY SANDWICH on 1 slice wheat bread with 2 slices turkey, 1 slice low-fat cheese, and 1 leaf lettuce
--PROTEIN SMOOTHIE with 1 scoop zero-carb protein powder, 1/2 cup frozen fruit, and 1/2 cup 0% Greek yogurt

Never forget that even a small change makes progress toward a larger goal - so try some of our bene-fit breakfast ideas tomorrow morning and watch your energy, spirits, and overall health start to soar!

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