One of the most important meals of the day is breakfast. Sadly, it’s one of the most skipped meals. Many people wake up, fill up on coffee, and rush to work in a hurry without getting valuable nutrients and vitamins that they need for the day.
You can say breakfast is important because it fuels your body with energy for your morning ahead, but there are so many more reasons than that.
Breakfast jump-starts your metabolism:
When you skip breakfast, you let your body know that there is plenty of food to be had (and plenty of calories) throughout the rest of the day. Our bodies save up energy for later when you’re fasting, which means they store them up as fat. So if your goal is weight loss, try to start eating breakfast more to start burning your day’s calories right away.
Studies have also shown that people who eat breakfast do eat more calories than those who don’t, but that doesn’t actually mean it’s a good thing for weight loss. People who don’t eat breakfast usually have a higher BMI (or Body Mass Index) than the breakfast-eaters.
If you’re not familiar with BMI, it’s a way to calculate your body weight. Getting fit is not always about weighing less. It’s about having the right ratio of muscles and fat and about maintaining a healthy weight so you don’t end up getting overweight and getting consequences like Diabetes and high cholesterol.
You should also not get too thin, because that can lead to malnutrition, anorexia, or anemia. Rather than simply weighing yourself, you should be measuring your BMI instead. If it’s higher than the suggested range for youth and adults, this may be a wake-up call to look into healthier eating and better fitness.
Eating breakfast helps to meet your nutritional goals for the day:
If you’re switching to a vegan diet, you’re probably extra aware of your need to consume enough protein every day, on top of all the other beneficial vitamins and nutrients.
A vegan breakfast is a great option to get extra protein in your diet since there are so many vegan options for a high protein breakfast. Not only that, but you’ll get more fiber in your diet as well. Many breakfast foods contain a high dose of fiber. People often think of bread as the main fiber source, but you can also find a lot of other high-fiber breakfast foods. Oatmeal with nuts is just one option for loading yourself up on that necessary ingredient.
You’ll also gain more calcium through breakfast foods. While non-vegans often use dairy products for their breakfast, you can find lots of alternatives for calcium-filled vegan foods. Some of those are non-dairy milks like soy milk or hemp milk, or beans.
Eating breakfast helps your brain function better during the day:
When your body gets a burst of healthy energy sources at the beginning of the day, it gives the brain the proper energy it needs for your memory and attention span. Many people reach for coffee the second they start to feel sleepy during the day, but it’s usually not because they need more caffeine. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
Caffeine is not great for a healthy diet throughout the day. It dehydrates you, depriving you of the daily water requirement your body needs. It also suppresses your appetite, which means you deny your body the chance to get healthy doses of ingredients it needs to properly function throughout the day.
You’ve probably heard of giving up caffeine and claiming to feel more energetic throughout the day. Well, that's true. It’s because they reach for healthy options like water or herbal tea instead of the coffee. Also, most people don’t drink their coffee black anyway. When you take several cups of coffee with cream and sugar every day, you’re putting a lot of unnecessary sugar in your body that can be harmful and counteractive to weight loss and muscle building.
For vegan athletes or even the beginner who is looking to jump-start their fitness, protein is an essential ingredient. It’s so important that you meet your daily recommended protein intake every single day. Without it, you can have seriously negative effects to your muscle growth.
Not getting enough protein can not only slow your muscle growth but it can cause problems like anemia or bone weakness.
Anemia generally happens when you have low iron, but many of the products that contain iron also contain protein. Since we know that nothing is isolated when it comes to health and the body’s functions, we know that a lack of iron also means a lack of protein, much of the time.
Long-term effects aside, let’s take a look at the short-term consequences of not eating protein in the morning.
Lack of protein in the morning affects your workout. Most people work out in the morning. They choose it because it’s much easier to get it done when you first wake up. Distractions happen in the evening. Social events come up, you feel tired from a day of work, or maybe you just don’t feel like doing it. Energy levels are usually higher in the morning.
For those of you who are night owls, rather than early birds, you’ll find that you need to get a workout in the morning and a high protein breakfast.
Typically trainers and experts recommend that you eat carbs before a workout (for energy) and protein afterward (for post-workout muscle rebuilding), but energy can come from protein as well. The good thing about vegan protein is it usually comes with a form of carbohydrates as well. Many people associate oatmeal as a carb, but it also contains high levels of proteins too. So you’re killing two birds with one stone.
We’re not recommending that you stuff with a huge breakfast from the diner, but rather give yourself enough of a boost to get that energy that you need. Some people are different from others. While some wake up with a ravenous appetite that can’t be ignored, others have to force themselves to eat something. How much you eat is up to you.
Do you eat before you workout? Then just have something small, to provide the carbs and protein you need. Try a banana with some peanut butter.
Do you eat after your workout? Then prepare yourself a nice big meal to recharge your muscles and help you feel satisfied all through the morning.
The options are endless when it comes to vegan breakfast plans if you use a bit of creativity. We’ll provide ideas for these main categories to get your creativity flowing:
For a small breakfast recipe, many people opt for some basic fruit and nut combinations.
Banana and nut butter: If you get tired of peanut butter, branch out and try some of the other many nut butters that are out there. Cashew butter and hazelnut, and almond butter are both creamy, flavorful options that have a totally different taste than peanut butter.
Berries and almond slivers: This takes almost no time to prepare and extremely minimal dishwashing. Pour a mix of berries (strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries have the best antioxidants and vitamin C) and sprinkle the slivered almonds on top. For an occasional treat to satisfy your sweet tooth, top the breakfast bowl with coconut whipped cream. This can function as a small smoothie bowl, without the effort that smoothies take when you're running late in the morning.
Granola with almond milk: You can use any other type of milk alternative. Hemp milk (made from round up hemp seeds) also contains protein for a healthy breakfast.
Protein bars: While this is generally not recommended for your everyday breakfast, you should always keep some on hand to grab when you're in a hurry.
Avocado toast: Avocado is a healthy fat that also contains proteins and is great for a quick and tasty breakfast.
Vegan smoothie with protein powder: Use a dairy-free yogurt alternative, soy milk, or almond milk as a base, then throw in a handful of kale (this leafy green has lots of protein), a spoonful of honey, a peeled green apple, and a spoonful of flavored protein powder. It’s easy on your stomach and shouldn’t make you too full, but this green smoothie will keep you feeling satisfied for much longer than fresh fruit because of all the beneficial protein sources.
For extra vitamins, add turmeric to your smoothie for digestive and immune system building properties.
Oatmeal variations: It’s a shame that many people find oatmeal boring. There are so many creative and innovative ways to prepare oatmeal as a vegan breakfast recipe in the morning so that you never get sick of it.
Baked goods: Sometimes people avoid baking because they’re worried about the time it consumes or maybe even the mess it takes to prepare. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of vegan pre-made baking mixes yet, but it’s better to make it from scratch to ensure whole ingredients for a healthy breakfast. The good news is, you don’t have to worry about a mess or a complicated process with minimalist baking.
Make vegan banana protein muffins. For this breakfast recipe you’ll need:
Add half the flour and all the baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon to the bowl and mix them. Add half of the bananas and the vanilla and mix them thoroughly. Then, add the rest of the flour and mix it in. Finally, add the rest of the bananas and 3 teaspoons of almond milk and mix everything thoroughly. Once you’ve spooned the dough into the muffin pan, sprinkle the coconut sugar over the top.
Place in the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick is stuck in and comes out clean. Since you’re using bananas instead of eggs, you may have a bit of moisture still on the toothpick and that’s totally fine. It just means your muffins will be moist and fresh-tasting, even throughout the week. You can double the batch and put half in the freezer, and you will have enough muffins to last you for several weeks.
Tip: If you want to add extra protein, put chia seeds in with the dough before you bake. The chia seeds will add an interesting texture to the muffins.
These ideas are for the hearty vegan bodybuilders or the weekend brunch shared with the family.
Have a tofu scramble. All vegans occasionally have the craving for a good old fashioned breakfast, scrambled eggs. You can make that just as well as crumbled tofu and enjoy this yummy brunch.
Here’s how to do it:
Make the dish in two separate pans. This will prevent the tofu from turning a strange color or getting mushy and will ensure that the dish is flavored properly.
In the first dish, cook whatever vegetables you want to include in the scramble. The great thing about a scramble is you can make it as simple or complex as you want. White onions and mushrooms are delicious and can be cooked together for about the same length of time.
You can be more intricate by adding zucchini, spinach, garlic, or anything else that has a somewhat soft texture. Just be sure to add spinach at the end since it cooks much more quickly than other ingredients.
In the second dish, chop up a block of tofu until it’s in crumbles. Add spices like salt, black and red pepper, or garlic salt. Once it’s warmed through and well-seasoned, add it to your veggies. You can always change it up by adding tempeh instead of tofu for more solid texture.
To make a Mexican variety, replace the vegetable options with black beans, chickpeas, and corn. After you’ve added the tofu, top it all with finely diced red onions, avocado, tomato, and salsa. For a cheesy, yummy flavor, add nutritional yeast. Add a tortilla and you just turned it from a scramble into a breakfast burrito.
Eating a healthy vegan breakfast every day is a great idea for everyone, not just vegans. Even meat-eaters can have a vegan breakfast. People who eat less meat per day end up feeling more energetic from all the vitamins in their vegetables and fresh fruits, which makes them better at losing weight and building muscle. When your spirit is in it, your body is in it. So choose from these options, and then try your own versions on for size.