Can cereals be a healthy breakfast?
INthis post I want to explain you why breakfast is the most important meal during the day and its quality counts for your wellbeing while you are pregnant or breastfeed. I will show you how to make the right choice (as not all breakfasts are the same) and give you some quick and healthy breakfast ideas so you can start your day with tons of energy, is this what you are aiming to right?
So let’s start
Is breakfast really important?
Let’s say that you had your last meal at 8 pm. You wake up 12 hours later (which is a half of the day) a little bit dehydrated which is the normal situation and your body needs fuel to start repairing process and get some energy throughout the entire day. That’s why I think breakfast is the crucial meal of the day, you need those nutrients to nourish your cells and activate the metabolism that was put on “off” while you were sleeping.
The balanced breakfast helps you manage sugar cravings balancing your glycemia in the blood, makes you feel more focused and concentrated, reduce your hunger and overall makes you eat less during the entire day. All these factors gave breakfast the reputation to be able to help you metabolism regulation, in other words, you gain less weight.
I will show you how to get the best from your breakfast and make the real healthy choices in pregnancy and lactation
But first, let me tell you a story ( a common one). It’s 10:30 am, you are in the office and the only thing you hear and feel is the emptiness in your head and…in your stomach, you are starving.
You can’t believe why it’s happening, again. You had your regular fluffy, colourful, cereals at home and now you find yourself counting minutes to lunch. And you promised yourself, again, that today it’s going to be a good day. You resist 15 minutes more but those croissants your colleague brought to celebrate his birthday are calling you from the break room. Well you have also some crackers in the drawer “for emergencies” so weighing the options you choose crackers (they are not sweet so healthier ones, right?).
After half an hour you continue to visualize the only thing in your head, warm and soft croissant that at this point not seems so sweet and unhealthy anymore. You think that your good intentions are already compromised so you head back to the kitchen and grab one. At least you can “survive” until lunch and concentrate on the work instead of the food.
Finally, lunch. And guess what? You are starving, AGAIN. So you end up eating far more respect what you planned. Your energy is falling down , you feel like you could fall asleep right now in front of the pc.
Many women suffer this roller coaster effect multiple times a day and find themselves in the cycle of carvings and guilty. You are fed up to feel like that, you angry to yourself not to maintain your early morning promises and give yourself permission to eat “bad stuff”, you are tired to be without energies throughout the day.
And the only one guilty for all of this is your BREAKFAST (or lack of it) or you didn’t eat enough, or it wasn’t nourishing (e.g well balanced)
Risk of fake healthy breakfast
Making healthy breakfast choices isn’t always as easy as it seems. If you consume cereals flakes or puffs first of all these are already refined as their original structure (grains) were modified and so their nutritional composition. They are deprived of fiber, germs, the majority of vitamins ( especially B complex) and minerals all which allows sugars to be well controlled in the blood.
But actually it doesn’t matter if cereals are refined or wholegrain (and most of them are also loaded with added sugar) it’s actually the same thing both are carbohydrates and both increase your blood sugar which sooner or later will crash down making you feel exhausted and willing to eat whatever you have on hand.
Why does it happen?
It’s the natural way your body protects itself from ups and downs of sugar in the blood. It’s known that a high level of glucose is dangerous for brain, for kidney, for eyes, for the nervous system. So, in response of the sugar spiking, it necessarily needs to fall down (because of the insulin action) and this creates an emergency in our body that constantly needs fuel (sugar) just in case “fight-or-flight” situation occurs (stress, threat)
So, your body does what it’s designed to do. It makes you feel hungry for something that will raise your blood sugar and give you energy: more carbohydrates. Here’s how carvings for sugar arise.
How fake healthy breakfast impact pregnant and breastfeeding moms?
In the first stages of pregnancy eating high glycemic carbohydrates expose your body to sharp blood sugar fluctuations which trigger nausea. This is related to sugar cravings and fatigue.
In the second and third trimester, high carb breakfast can impact your baby’s growth, development and metabolic health in his/her adult life.
Your baby’s blood sugar levels reflect yours, and if it’s high, your baby has more possibilities to accumulate fat and to born excessively large (which is not synonymous of healthy). This can expose your baby to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in his lifetime. You as a mother are also at risk to develop gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and gain excessive weight. And gaining too much weight drives up insulin resistance so it results in big spikes in blood sugar, so the cycle continues. Read here more about the consequences of excessive consumption of sugar during pregnancy
The same applies while you breastfeeding. Even if you need some extra calories (about 500kcal to be precise, yes breastfeeding is demanding) you should continue eating dense in nutrients food the same as during prenatal diet to recover properly during postpartum phase and boost your milk supply. High in empty calories and added sugar breakfast alternatives won’t help you to get all the nutrients that you and your baby need and for sure will not help you in weight loss. Remember however that restricting calorie too much, especially during the first few months of breastfeeding, may decrease both your milk supply and much-needed energy levels, so take it slowly and not undernourish yourself.
So what should you eat for real healthy breakfast?
Your diet plays a huge role in your body sugar levels balancing and cutting out the refined carbohydrates goes a long way in helping to manage your blood sugar. You need to pay special attention to your breakfast choices and your food cravings increasing the satiety factor with adequate protein and fats intake and reduce the carbohydrates.
Proteins foods are naturally very filling and help to stabilize blood sugar levels preventing it from going too high or too low. This is helpful when you deal with low energy, imbalanced blood sugar, frequent hunger, sugar cravings or headaches. Moreover, protein level during pregnancy needs to go up especially the complete ones that contain all the essential aminoacidic and can be found in animal products like meat, fish, eggs and dairy.
Real food source of protein naturally tends to come with fat like meat, eggs, nuts and seeds, avocado, coconut oil and dairy. Your body needs fat food to obtain fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients important in pregnancy and breastfeeding. For example, requirements for choline and Vit A both find in high concentration in liver and egg yolks need to rise. Maybe liver is not on your fan list, but eggs are perfect breakfast option as they are full of nutrients, they keep you satisfied and stabilize your energy levels.
The better breakfast options than cereals can be:
1. An egg or two scrambled, sautéed spinach or kale and some veggies
3. Avocado toast with eggs
4. Omelette with spinach and goat cheese
5.Almond paleo oats with pomegranate and nut butter
6.Leftovers if you like dinner for breakfast with some protein and veggies
Want to receive the full recipes of these quick and really healthy breakfast ideas? They will change the way you start your day, make you feel energized and satisfied, without croissant cravings, I promise
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