It is March! Which means National Nutrition Month (I know that’s what you were thinking also ;)).
I have a few bites for you this month in honor of nutrition…
While you sleep your body is fasting.
While you sleep stored energy is used to keep your organs and systems running as they rest and recover from your day. In order for your body to come out of this restorative, fasting state, other forms of energy must be supplied, i.e. food. Therefore, eating breaks the fast. Get it? Breakfast!
Your body will naturally release the hormone cortisol in the early hours of the day to prepare you to wake. Cortisol will release glucose (sugar) to the body until food is supplied.
Once you eat and break the fast energy levels will continue to rise, cortisol decreases, and your muscles and brain are prepped and ready for action!
This does not mean you need to eat immediately upon waking. In fact, when you eat in the morning depends more on the last time and amount you ate the day before, more than when you wake up. You want enough time between your last night meal or snack to the next day’s first meal or snack to allow for full homeostasis (balance) to return to your body systems, so it is not overwhelmed, but not so long that you are putting it under unnecessary strain due to lack of fuel. This sweet spot differs per person with a good goal and average around twelve hours of “fasting” at night, including when you sleep.
Too short or too long of a fast can result both in fatigue, poor mood, low cognition and a decrease in overall efficiency of the body to function. (Note: Those who engage in purposeful intermittent fasting may be an exception.)
It is important to be aware that caffeine in the morning is a stimulant that can suppress your appetite and artificially break your fast.
There is no magic combination of foods you must have to break your fast, however a little protein, fat and fiber is always a good idea, with any meal, to satisfy the bodies needs.
A few fresh ideas to try for the first meal of your day:
Pre-heat oven to 375° F. Wisk together 5 eggs in a large bowl. Mix 1-2 cups of leftover, frozen/thawed, or fresh chopped veggies and 1 cup pre-cooked ground or diced meat or cheese into the egg mixture. (Optional: spices and herbs of choosing.) Spoon mixture into greased muffin tins and bake until fork goes in and out cleanly, about 15 minutes. These make great leftovers!
Or, put veggies/cheese/meat mixture without egg on bottom and crack an egg on top to bake (pictured below).
In a small bowl or jar whisk together 1/2 tablespoon honey or real maple syrup, 1 cup milk, yogurt, or milk alternative, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional). Add ¼ cup chia seeds and whisk again until well combined. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, or sealed in refrigerator overnight until gelled.
That’s right, what is wrong with leftover rice and stir fry in the morning, or a bowl of chili and cornbread? Or maybe take your leftover fajita fixings and make an omelet or breakfast burrito.
Stay tuned for another BITE of nutrition soon!