Breakfast is basically heaven on earth. It can be cheesy, chocolatey, or even an excuse to drink champagne before noon. Obviously, any meal that allows you to eat coffee cake and chocolate muffins bright and early in the morning is spectacular, but does breakfast help you wake up? In short, absolutely — but not just any breakfast will do.
Disregarding the importance of taste here, I'm sad to report that there’s a significant difference between quality, slow-burning energy, and the quick, but short-lived energy spike you might get from, say, a delicious breakfast pastry. There's no need to swear off cinnamon rolls forever, of course, but if you need to make sure you'll be running at your best all day long, a quality breakfast should definitely be part of your morning routine.
One of the most important, yet simplest things to remember when it comes to breakfast is how much your body will appreciate good food — and I don't just mean food that tastes good. See, if you aren't eating enough nutrients to nourish your body, it just won't be able to function effectively, period. While your a.m. coffee habit may give you a temporary jolt, Sharon Brown, a clinical nutritionist and founder of Bonafide Provisions, says there's no substitute for an actual breakfast.
"Food is the body’s fuel," Brown tells Elite Daily over email. "Food provides energy, the ability to think clearly, stamina, vitamins, and minerals that can affect your mood, such as vitamin B-12." And this energy source is important to get in soon after you get out of bed, Brown adds. While this may seem obvious, the nutritionist emphasizes that it's important to eat within a few hours of waking up to be sure your body can function properly. Eating healthy foods at lunch won't cut it if you haven't eaten breakfast, she says.
But what should you actually eat? Here's the good news: You can carb the heck up.
In fact, research has shown that in comparison to a high-fat meal, eating a breakfast that's rich in carbs can increase your alertness and keep your energy up until lunchtime — OK fine, there is the tiny caveat that complex carbs, not that sweet, sweet white bread, are the nutrients that are going to do you right. But a delicious bowl of oats or a few slices of whole grain toast are both tasty and energy-boosting for a morning meal.
“High-quality carbohydrates in the morning are a must to help fuel up the muscles and brain following an overnight fast," Sonja Kukuljian, a registered dietitian and group manager of Freedom Foods, tells Elite Daily over email. "This can kickstart the 'thinking juices' and help get you focused."
If you're really looking to shake things up, Brown suggests modeling your breakfast after the fuel-powered breakfast soups eaten in some Asian cultures.
"To make sure your brain is optimal for the day ahead, start with your gut," Brown tells Elite Daily. "You can put two cups of bone broth in a sauce pan, add chopped mixed veggies and two eggs, and boil for about 10 minutes." From the rich bone broth, you'll get plenty of collagen, minerals, and amino acids, and the protein from the eggs gives you the energy you'll need to fly through the morning.
If you want to combine the power of both protein and carbs (you little overachiever, you), Kukuljian suggests trying Freedom Foods' Pink Lady Apple & Macadamia Toasted Muesli, which not only sounds like an absolute dream, but is full of whole grains and a hearty dose of protein.
In a world where things like healthy breakfast popsicles exist, there's really no reason not to kickstart your energy with some tasty eats first in the morning.