You wake up late because you had a horrible night’s sleep. Insert your own reason here – the baby was up, you are nervous about the big presentation, you had a cup of coffee in the evening – you get the idea. Instead of taking the extra 3 minutes to have eggs or make a nutrient dense smoothie, you quickly down a bowl of cereal or eat a bagel.
Are you ready to learn 3 Reasons Why You Should Stop Eating Cereal – and What to Eat Instead?
The box of cereal claimed that it was whole grain, as did the bagel. You wrongly believe that it must be a good breakfast choice. You grab your large cup of coffee with 2 milks and 2 sugars and head to the office.
What happens at 10:00am?
The familiar feeling of hunger sets in around mid-morning. You walk to the office kitchen to grab your fat-free, fruit flavored yogurt for 60 calories and take another cup of coffee.
By lunch all you can think about is either a burger with fries or a big plate of Thai noodles. You are famished and your healthy food choices and typical portion sizes have long been forgotten.
Why? Have you ever stopped to think about why you crave what you crave?
Let’s work through the 3 reasons to ditch cereal once and for all. *Note the reference to cereal is a general example. Replace cereal with whatever processed carb you choose for breakfast (whole wheat toast, English muffin, breakfast bar, etc.)
Reason # 1: Cereal promotes fast carbohydrate metabolism.
When we consume refined carbs (cereals, whole wheat, processed carbs) without adding in a significant amount of protein or fat the carb is quickly digested into glucose.
When carbs digest quickly into glucose your pancreas is forced to secrete insulin, a fat storing hormone. Since most of us are fairly sedentary we don’t really need the energy from the carb we just ate. Our muscle cells are full with glucose waiting to be used so insulin deposits the glucose (carbs) to your fat cells for later use (which we rarely, if ever use).
Reason # 2: Processed cereals increase food cravings.
Using the logic listed in reason # 1 we can better understand cravings. When you choose fast digesting carbs your blood sugar levels increase quickly and drop quickly.
When your blood sugar levels drop your body sends you a craving to regulate them again. It’s a physiological response that is intense and hard to ignore.
Reason # 3: Cereals lack protein and fat.
Starting your day with a breakfast high in protein and fat helps to regulate blood sugar and keep you satisfied. Protein supports your immune system and keeps energy levels stable. Fats are important for proper hormonal function and balance.
When your breakfast choices are made up of processed carbs such as muffins, refined breads, sugary cereals then you are setting yourself up for food cravings, energy lows and a day long battle with your will power.
What if the box says that my cereal is high in protein? Technically that may be true, but I am curious about the source of that protein. Is it highly processed or sourced from a GMO crop such as soy?
Instead, check out 4 of my favourite breakfasts below to help balance those hormones and curb those cravings.
Breakfast # 1
2 whole eggs (scrambled)
2 handfuls of chopped kale or spinach (cooked with the eggs)
1 tsp of coconut oil or butter
1 slice of sprouted grain bread – I LOVE Silver Hills brand
¼ – ½ of an avocado mashed
1 cup berries (any kind)
- Preheat pan over medium heat, add 1 tsp of coconut oil.
- Whisk the 2 eggs in a bowl and add the 2 handfuls of green.
- Pour into the pan and scramble.
- Toast the bread and then top with the mashed avocado and scrambled eggs.
- Enjoy with the berries on the side.
Breakfast # 2
¼ cup hemp seeds
1 cup unsweetened almond, cashew or coconut milk (add more if desired)
1 cup frozen berries
1 tbsp of chia seeds
½ tsp cinnamon
2 handfuls of spinach
- Blend and enjoy.
Breakfast # 3
½ cup steel cut or slow cooking oats, plain & cooked
¼ cup unsweetened almond, cashew or coconut milk (to mix with oats once cooked)
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 tbsp of hemp seeds
1 tbsp unsweetened almond butter
½ cup of berries
- Cook the oats as per the package instructions.
½ cup plain Greek yogurt (or coconut yogurt)
¼ cup granola (home-made is always best but if in a rush, I LOVE Nature’s Path granola)
3 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup raspberries or blueberries
- Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!
All of these choices can be partially or fully made ahead of time. They are quick and simple to make. Best of all when you eat breakfasts like the ones listed above you won’t experience intense food cravings, you will feel full, have more energy and be able to make better food choices throughout the day.