Sunday, December 2, 2012

Think About It Thursday

Today's topic to think about: re-thinking traditional food choices.  Recently I noticed that Little Debbie Honey Cakes says they are great for breakfast.  Seriously? 26 grams of white carbohydrates, 13 grams of which come from sugar and a measly 3 grams of protein?! That is a terrible way to start the day.  In less than an hour, you'll be crashing from all that sugar and have no energy left for the day, never mind the havoc being wreaked on your insulin levels.

In North America, we seem to have this idea that breakfast foods should be sweet.  Try to find a breakfast cereal with fewer than 2 grams of sugar and you'll soon realize just how sugar-laden our breakfast foods have gotten.  Go into any restaurant and you'll find tons of pancakes, waffles, sugary muffins and sugar-filled yogurt parfaits.  IHOP even puts pancake mix into their eggs!  You can't even order eggs safely anymore.  In many other parts of the world, breakfast choices are far more savory, and protein filled.  Almost any hotel in Europe that features a continental breakfast will offer you a wide variety of meats and cheeses and while processed meats are not my favorite food choice, at least they offer you a dose of protein in the morning.  In many Asian countries, breakfast foods are meats and fishes in rich broths.  And I recently discovered that in Texas, not exactly a hot bed of health, a lot of people have tacos for breakfast and frankly, compared to what a lot of us are eating, I think tacos are pretty good choice.  Choose a lean protein like eggs or chicken, wrap it up in a corn or even flour tortilla and you have a good mix of fats, carbs and protein to start the day.

It took me awhile to wrap my head around meat for breakfast but after having leftover tacos a few times (always beef or chicken, I don't like egg in my tacos!), I realized that not only did I enjoy the taste, I felt way more energetic throughout the day.  Left over meat from the night before can be a great start to the day and it's so quick to grab a little leftovers in the morning that you have no excuse for not eating breakfast!

Now you're thinking but I love pancakes and waffles! I can't give that up! You don't have too, you just have to be smarter about what kinds of pancakes you have and when you eat them.  If it's going to be your first meal of the deal, choose protein pancakes (I have a great recipe already posted and will be posting variations over the next little while).  Skip or limit high sugar syrup and choose fruit, a cinnamon sprinkle or nut butter.  If you want the real deal or are meeting friends for brunch and want to indulge in restaurant pancakes, get your workout in right before.  Right after a workout is when your body is most able to use those quick digesting carbs.  Just make sure you add a protein source like eggs or a protein shake or at least a glass a milk or latte so you're insulin levels don't spike and then crash!

Rethinking when you eat different types of food will allow to continue eating all the foods that you enjoy, while still allowing your body to best use the foods you give it.  Kick start your metabolism in the morning with protein, recharge your body with quick digesting carbs and protein after a workout.  Stick to lean proteins and fat at dinner and you'll reap the benefits of your macro-nutrients while continuing to enjoy your favorite foods.

How do you think outside the food box?  Do eat breakfast foods for lunch or dinner? Ever tried dinner foods for breakfast?

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