We’ve heard for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but we don’t hear enough is that it needs to be healthy in order to be beneficial. That’s right, the greasy breakfast sandwich and sugar filled donut you may rely on just don’t cut it.
As you work towards cleaning up your diet during this challenge, I’m going to guide you through evaluating your meals and snacks so that
you can make sure they’re as healthy as possible, while still being delicious and easy to make.
To get our day started right, we need an unprocessed, nutrient-filled meal that doesn’t force our bodies to process an excess of unhealthy ingredients. A healthy breakfast will keep you full, keep junk food cravings away throughout the day, and will provide you with long-lasting energy and focus.
Breakfast should be quick and easy to prepare, especially on work days, so that you are more likely to actually make and eat it, and so that you can get back to whatever it is you need to accomplish.
Let’s start by taking a look at what you currently eat…
Nothing, or just coffee: You’re missing out on a big opportunity to fuel and nourish your body! If you find you aren’t hungry in the mornings, it’s likely because your body has gotten used to not being fed in the morning, so your metabolism and appetite are suppressed. Once you make having a healthy breakfast a habit, you’ll find you both crave and look forward to eating first thing, and you’ll feel great all day long.
Cereal: It’s what we all grew up on, but is it really the best option? Take into consideration what type of cereal you’re having; if it’s a sugar-filled kids cereal, it’s almost certainly getting in the way of your health. If it’s a fibre-filled, minimally-processed, sugar-free kind, it may not be the worst thing you could eat, but I recommend adding some fruit either in the bowl or on the side. Keep in mind that milk isn’t as healthy as it was once believed to be, and causes problems for a lot of people, including digestion issues, inflammation, and much more. Switch to non-dairy milk if you suspect that’s the case for you, and see how you feel!
Bagels, toast: These common breakfast staples offer very little as far as dense nutrition goes, and are often paired with toppings such as cream cheese or sugar-filled jam. Additionally, like milk, today’s wheat products can cause issues including digestion problems and inflammation among other things, and they may not be the best option for you. If you really can’t give them up, consider cutting back on the amount you have (half a bagel or just one slice of toast) and make sure you’re eating them with a healthy option, like nut butter and fruit or a natural, no-sugar-added jam.
Muffins or donuts: These two are grouped together for a reason; one is nearly as bad as the other and should be classified as dessert, not breakfast! If you’re regularly consuming either of these for breakfast, I highly recommend reconsidering and swapping them out for a healthier alternative.
Breakfast sandwiches: A popular option at fast food restaurants, these usually consist of an English muffin, processed meat, processed cheese, and an egg. Providing your body with several forms of processed, difficult to digest foods first thing in the morning isn’t a wise way to start the day, but if you’re in a pinch and it’s your only breakfast option, skip the cheese.
Bacon, hash browns, breakfast sausage, etc.: These other breakfast favourites may be tasty, but should only be enjoyed on occasion, as their repeated long-term consumption can contribute to many health issues. We’re not saying you can never have them, but just don’t rely on them as your breakfast staples!
If you’re busy getting the kids out the door, have to be on the road for an early commute, or are in the truck gearing up for a long day of driving, a healthy breakfast doesn’t always seems like a possibility… Unless, of course, you’re prepared and committed. Making a healthy breakfast in the truck every day may sound a little daunting, but I promise you that after a short time you’ll not only find it easy, but also delicious and budget-friendly.
Here are my top recommendations, that have also been trucker-tested and approved:
- Oatmeal, but not the packaged kind! Stock up on a bag of plain oats for a couple dollars, and cook them with hot water, milk, or dairy-free milk. Add whatever you have on hand – walnuts, berries, coconut flakes, a little honey, or even some dark chocolate chips, but skip the sugar!
- Smoothies pack a tonne of nutrition into one drink. Start with your choice of fresh or frozen fruit and a green leafy vegetable, like spinach. From there you can get creative by adding avocado, chia or flax seeds, nut butter, cocoa powder, greens powder, or whatever else you have on hand. Skip the milk and juice, as these really aren’t necessary; you can add creaminess by using banana, peaches, or mangos. Protein powder is optional, but if you choose to use it, just make sure it has a short ingredient list and you digest it well (no bloating or constipation). You can get a single-serve blender for under $20 at Walmart, perfect for life on the road and something many of our drivers use daily.
- Energy bars, homemade of course, are great for those who like to prep some food at home before heading out for the week. Whip up a batch and keep them in the fridge/cooler for the fastest on the go breakfast you can find. There are hundreds of recipes online, so do a quick search and see what looks good to you. Most use a variation of raw oats, peanut or almond butter, honey or dates, nuts, coconut flakes, cocoa powder, and maybe a little dried fruit. Get creative! You’ll love having these stocked in the fridge or freezer when you’re busy and on the go.
- Eggs… Scrambled, fried, boiled…anything goes! If you’re feeling fancy, whip up an omelette with any veggies or (quality) meat you have. Don’t want to cook them in the truck? Take hard boiled eggs, or pre-cook little egg muffins by baking them in a muffin tray with veggies and meat, and take them on the road for a super easy breakfast you can eat cold or pop in the microwave.
- Fruit is a great option if you don’t have the time or energy to prepare something, so try and keep a couple of pieces of fruit handy for a quick breakfast. It may not keep you full for long by itself, so if you can, pair an apple or banana with some almond butter, or have your choice of fruit with unsweetened regular or Greek yogurt for a little more substance.
It may seem like a tough habit to get into, but once you start preparing your own healthy breakfast and enjoying the benefits, you’ll never go back. This can be one of the most positive changes you make to your lifestyle, which is why it’s crucial that you take this step as soon as you can!