Cereals might be a staple for the average Joe, but your body deserves better if you want it to grow, get leaner and perform stronger. This is what the start of your day should look like.
Mom was right all along: breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and the lab coats are fast supporting this notion. A solid breakfast not only supports your muscles, but also stops you craving poor food choices later in the day, found research at the University of Missouri. But with all of advertising’s nutritional dogma, how can you tell which ingredients are the best?
Use this guide to start your day off the right way, and you’ll never dread your alarm clock again.
Step 1: Drink your whey
Your muscles have been fasting while you were asleep, so refuel them with a protein hit. Research in the British Journal of Nutrition shows whey protein does this the best because it’s one of the proteins absorbed fastest.
Step 2: Cook your oats
They may look like prison food, but oats still pack a punch. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 100g bowl serves upwards of 80% of your oomph-yielding B vitamins and 163% of your iron RDA. Instead of sugar, add a diced apple during the cooking process for some extra sweetness. Apples are rich in ursolic acid, which has been proven to increase muscle growth, found research in Cell Metabolism. A sprinkle of cinnamon will also complement the flavor.
Step 3: Become an egg head
Providing you don’t have high cholesterol, the amount of good fats you get from the eggs will promote muscle gain. Research at Texas A&M University found cholesterol actually helps add muscle when athletes are doing resistance training. While you’re cooking eggs, add a handful of spinach, as it’s rich in tyrosine (as are the eggs), which will help improve your reaction speed, found research in Neuropsychologia. You’ll prime yourself for performance all day.
Step 4: Toast of the day
The best kind of bread? White rye bread leads to better insulin and blood sugar levels compared with wheat bread and rye bran, found research at Lund University. Butter it with fresh avocado for some healthy fats. Dig in for bigger guns.
Step 1: Green tea
Swap your mug of regular tea for the green variety. Not only has it been proven to be a killer of cancerous compounds, but also it hikes up your metabolism by as much as 4.6%, found research in Phytomedicine. It’s far better than coffee.
Step 2: Spice up your omelet
Whether you’re bulking or getting leaner, eggs are a wise choice. They’re rich in muscle-building protein, and even if you’re trying to get lean, you still need some fat to be healthy. To give them some blub-burning bling, spice them up with cayenne pepper. Researchers at the University of California found that a compound in hot and spicy seasoning – capsaicin – dramatically increases your calorie burn. Whip up three eggs with cayenne and you’ll have the bread-free start to your day.
Step 3: Fill the tank
The best choices for omelet fillings are salmon and mushrooms. Including a daily helping of the omega -3-rich fish on your breakfast plate increases your weight loss by up to 26%, found research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Mushrooms can provide as much vitamin D as supplements, found a Boston University School of Medicine study. And a deficiency of this vitamin can cause obesity. So think of them as essential when the sunlight starts to give way to snow.
Step 4: Get some culture
A small bowl of plain, sugar-free yogurt is the glue that binds the above ingredients together. Yogurt is another source of vitamin D, which will help you absorb the calcium from the salmon. Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that these calcium and vitamin D benefits are not just limited to strong bones, but essential for metabolizing fat and keeping you lean.
You can also add a few fresh blueberries because when antioxidant rich foods are eaten on a full stomach, they help promote satiety throughout the day, found research in the journal Nature.