Starting the day right
Last months blog was all about balancing blood sugar levels, so I wanted to follow on from this with a blog about starting the day in a way that can stop the sugar rollercoaster, that a lot of people struggle with. Having the right breakfast can help keep you full till lunch, reduce the amount of food you eat through the day and can help stop or reduce unhealthy snacking and may even help you make better meal choices throughout the day.
Starting the day with a filling, satisfying, slow energy release breakfast can help balance blood sugar, keeping you feeling full till lunch. I used to start my day with a bowl of sugary cereal or toast and jam, which began my sugar rollercoaster. Mid-morning I would be starving, light headed and irritable which resulted in reaching for something sweet, then mid afternoon again my blood sugar would crash and I’d once again be reaching for something sweet to keep me going before dinner and often there would be an evening snack thrown in for good measure! Does that sound familiar? I did this for years and it was one of the factors which messed up my hormones, but when I finally came off the sugar rollercoaster (which admittedly was hard to do) I was a different person.
The importance of sleep
Starting the day right, actually starts the night before, by getting good quality sleep, preferably for at least 7 hours. A good nights sleep can help control your appetite and the foods you are drawn to during the day and it can also help balance blood sugar. Sleep deprivation increases cravings for fat and sugar laden foods and it changes how your hunger and fullness hormones work. This means you are likely to feel hungrier and less likely to feel full when sleep deprived. So not getting enough sleep can be the catalyst for reaching for that sugary breakfast and eating more during the day!
What is a good breakfast?
Having a breakfast which is rich in protein, will keep you feeling fuller for longer and protein helps maintain muscle mass, which I encourage with the peri and post menopausal women I work with. Also having a good source of fibre and some healthy fats and avoiding added sugar or refined carbohydrates should sustain you till lunch and keep your blood sugar balanced. Breakfast should be something you enjoy and if you are time poor, quick to make in the morning or prepare the night before. I love things like overnight oats (see recipe below) that you can prepare the night before or homemade granola which can be prepared at the weekend for the whole week or simple things like porridge or eggs. Then leave the more time consuming things to the weekend or when you aren’t working. Try to avoid supermarket cereals and granolas as they are generally high in sugars, although I have found a wonderful low sugar, high fibre breakfast granola by TrooFoods.
Breakfast ideas to help balance blood sugar and stop the sugar rollercoaster
Here are a few simple and quick breakfast recommendations which are a great way to stop the sugar rollercoaster, keep you full till lunch, improve your gut health, energy levels, concentration, mood and keep your hormones balanced and you may also notice that your clothes begin to feel a bit looser too.
- Omelette with mixed vegetables.
- Scrambled eggs with wilted spinach leaves and herbs on a slice of sourdough or rye toast.
- Homemade granola with live full fat natural yoghurt (I like Yeo Valley or the Coconut Collaborative) or a milk of your choice.
- Overnight oats (recipe below and lots online).
- Porridge with toasted seeds and/or berries.
- Full fat live natural yoghurt or plain kefir with mixed berries and/or a small handful of granola.
- 1 serving of TrooFoods granola or porridge with yoghurt or milk of your choice and mixed berries. If you don’t have fresh berries, frozen berries are great alternative and are often cheaper and fresher. Just take some out of the freezer the night before and leave them to defrost, or if you are using in a homemade smoothie, they can be used from frozen.
Troo breakfast cereal have kindly given me a discount code: CLAIRE15. This gives you a 15% discount off of their cereals. T&Cs apply. Offer valid until 30th May 2021. Limited to one use per customer. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Excludes subscriptions and gift vouchers.
To increase the protein content of smoothies, yoghurt, porridge or overnight oats protein powder can be added. Or it is great added to a plant based milk (I like oat or almond milk) for a high protein snack. I use Pulsin protein powder and they have also kindly given me a discount code: NUT30. This gives you 30% discount off of their entire range.
OVERNIGHT OATS RECIPE (Serves 1)
100g of Natural Yoghurt, Greek Yoghurt or Coconut Yoghurt
120ml of almond milk or a milk of your choice
1 tbsp of ground flaxseeds
½ tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp of honey (if required)
1 scoop of protein powder (optional)
Place ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir the mixture.
Leave overnight in an airtight container in the fridge ready to serve in the morning.
Additional ingredients can be added:
Chocolate-peanut: Add 1 tbsp of peanut butter and 1 tbsp of cocoa to the basic mix (above) stir and leave overnight in the fridge. In the morning add a tbsp of chopped nuts.
Carrot, pecan and raisin: Add ½ carrot grated, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg and 2 tsp of raisins to the basic mix, stir and leave in the fridge overnight. Add 1 tbsp of chopped pecans in the morning when you serve
Berry and cinnamon: mix ½ tsp of cinnamon into the basic mix, stir and leave overnight in the fridge. Sprinkle on a handful of berries when you serve.
Breakfast Smoothie (Serves 1)
Half an avocado 1 large handful of spinach
1 small banana
1 small handful of frozen berries (lots of types are available in the supermarket)
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds
200ml of coconut or almond milk 1 scoop of good quality protein powder (optional)
1 tablespoon of porridge oats (optional)
Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth, then drink straight away.
I hope you have found this blog useful. Starting the day with a good breakfast and balancing blood sugar is one of the areas I encourage the women I treat in my clinic to work on, in the best possible way to fit into their lifestyle. For some women we also look at exercise and stress relief practices which can be another way to help begin the day in a beneficial way. If you are struggling with hormonal imbalances, peri or post menopausal issues or any women’s health issues then please do get in touch to book a free call to have a chat about working together. Or sign up to my mailing list which means you will get my monthly blog delivered straight to your inbox plus extra tips to help balance your hormones and also hear about any events I am involved in. I am also on Facebook so do come and like or follow my page and feel free to comment or like my posts. Have a wonderful day.