oatmeal with pomegranate

Breakfast – The Most Important Meal of the Holidays

As the holidays approach, so many of our day to day routines go out the window.  Nothing though, more than our eating habits.  From office parties and happy hours, to food gifts and unexpected treating, we can find ourselves mindlessly eating and overindulging.  To stave off those seasonal pounds, many people might feel tempted to skip a meal or two to save up calories. Breakfast, of course, being the biggest loser in this scenario.  So, I’m here to convince you why maintaining your daily eating routine, including breakfast, is the best way to prevent the holiday bulge.

First, when we skip meals, our blood sugar drops and our cortisol begins to increase. You may know cortisol as our stress hormone, but it also helps control blood sugar levels. So, when you wake up in the morning, you’re waking up from a fast (low blood sugar) and your cortisol levels are at their natural peak of the day.  Eating breakfast, helps to bring those blood sugar numbers to a healthy level and sends a
“all clear” signal that your cortisol is off duty and can relax.  When you decide to skip breakfast because you’re too busy (or saving them for later) you’re likely to start feeling irritable or even a bit hangry before lunch time. And that’s just the beginning.

Skipping a meal is likely to make you binge and eat more calories than you would have otherwise – that’s because that missed meal was not missed by your brain. If you purposefully skipped a meal to save up for later, that means your mind is fixating on that next meal, already giving you a free pass to overindulge when you do finally eat. The best way to combat this? Keep to that regular meal routine, starting with breakfast.

On most days, breakfast for me is likely oatmeal with peanut butter or a Greek yogurt with fruit. On days where I know a feast is pending, I try to be a bit more deliberate.  Two of my favorites, overnight oats and egg frittatas, can be made the night before and are chock full of fiber and protein.  That means you will approach that big mid-day celebration with smaller eyes and take more realistic portion sizes.  If your festivities are later, start with a hearty breakfast, followed by a lighter lunch like soup or salad.  I’ve included my favorite recipes below.  Check out: https://nourishfamily.com/category/breakfast/  for more breakfast inspiration!

Just remember, if you stay on target with meals and snacks on the day of the holiday celebration, you can then just experience the holiday meal as a normal meal and enjoy it for its true purpose, to spend time with the ones we love.

Crockpot Apple Pie Protein Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium Granny Smith Apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup protein powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 cups Low Fat Milk (or soy milk)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chia seed
  • Toppings: chopped nuts, like walnuts

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients (except toppings) to the crockpot. Cover and cook on low 6-9 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours. Stir just before serving to blend everything together. If oats are too dry, add more milk. Top with walnuts.

Note: Make it Pumpkin Pie Oats by swapping apples for 2 cups of canned pumpkin puree and apple pie spice for pumpkin pie spice!

Veggie Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees f. In a large bowl, whisk eggs with milk, season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In an oven proof skillet, add a teaspoon of olive oil and sauté mushrooms, peppers, and onions until tender, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir in spinach and cook until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Stir in egg mixture and place the skillet into the preheated oven. Bake until top is set and golden, about 14-15 minutes. You can serve immediately or allow to cool, cut into 4 servings, and refrigerate.  To reheat, place in microwave for 1-2 minutes.

 

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