In the New Year, many people make resolutions to exercise at a gym. But nutrition is the first priority. A habit of preparing healthy breakfasts will kickstart your journey to wellness now.
1. Avoid high calorie, high fat, sugary coffee
Coffee itself isn’t harmful. The problem is added dairy and processed sugar, which cause significant inflammation, weight gain, and chronic disease.
Let’s take a trip to Starbucks to see the difference those ingredients make. Let’s place an order for a Grande White Chocolate Mocha. Sounds yummy but sadly it contains 430 calories, 31% fat, and 53 g sugar ( the equivalent of 13 teaspoons of sugar, in fact). This product is about the same nutritional value as a small Vanilla Milkshake at McDonalds, which is 490 calories, 26% fat and 59 g sugar.
Why does fat and sugar in your coffee matter to you?
Fat promotes insulin resistance (diabetes) and sugar causes chronic inflammation inside the blood vessels, causing them to likely clog and create issues like heart disease.
2. Drink water
Your body consists of 60% water, so you must have water to survive. The average person can survive about 6 weeks without food, but you will die within 7 days without water. There is no substitute for water. Plain and simple, the single most important decision you’ll make for your health is the decision to drink water.
If you feel water is boring, I agree, drinking water is boring, but it’s as essential as breathing and sleeping. They’re boring but awesome for you. One tip to make water more interesting is to squeeze fresh lemon or lime in your water or flavor an entire pitcher of water with something interesting like berries. For variety consider plain black coffee or unsweetened tea. Be sure to avoid artificial sweeteners, added sugars, and fruit juices. These promote problems including obesity and diabetes.
3. Eat low-fat nutrient-dense food
Busy professionals often buy breakfast food on the go. To see what that’s like let’s look at the Starbucks Sausage, Cheddar and Egg Breakfast Sandwich. It’s tasty, but you’ll be sad to know it contains 500 calories and 50% fat. That compares to a Big Mac, which contains 540 calories and 47% fat. This is exactly the reason why I recommend preparing breakfast at home. Not just any breakfast but a nutrient-dense low-fat whole food, plant-based breakfast.
Research shows low-fat, whole food, plant-based nutrition supports health and wellness. These nutrient-dense foods significantly decrease your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other diet-related inflammatory conditions.
I’m personally a fan of oatmeal, fruits and leafy green smoothies. They’re my favorite breakfast foods for an easy, low calorie, high fiber, anti-inflammatory, and nutrient-dense meal. To optimize your health in the New Year, eat more fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
In the New Year, get your mornings off to an awesome start by choosing breakfast foods and beverages wisely. Set aside high calorie, high fat, sugary coffee. Drink adequate water and prepare easy whole food, plant-based breakfasts. With your new breakfast habits, you’ll take a big leap forward toward the lifestyle and results you desire.
The nutritional information in this article was retrieved from Starbucks.com and McDonalds.com websites.
 Howard B. Wylie-Rosett J. Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation. 2002;106:523–527
 Freeman A, et al. Trending Cardiovascular Nutrition Controversies. Journal of American College of Cardiology. Vol 69, Issue 9, March 2017.
Carla Hightower, MD, MBA is a physician, health coach, workplace wellness consultant, and speaker. She helps people heal themselves with food. Through wellness workshops and courses, she helps companies create healthy, energetic teams.
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