Today we’re chatting all-things breakfast—specifically, healthy breakfast ideas for hormone balance! As an early riser, this topic is near and dear to my heart. I often go to bed excited for my morning meal. Additionally, scoping out Denver’s best brunch and coffee spots is a weekend habit. With that in mind, do you prioritize breakfast? And is your plate satisfying and nutritious? Are you hungry shortly after waking—or do you wait hours for your first meal? In the spirit of hormonal balance and connecting with your natural appetite, let’s dive into the power of a balanced breakfast.
why you shouldn’t start your day with sugar
As the first meal of the day, your breakfast has the ability to set the tone for your entire morning. In fact, it can influence your food choices for the rest of the day! It’s proven—both physically and psychologically—that if you start with healthy choices, you’re more likely to eat nourishing foods throughout the day. Said differently: if you start with a bowl of sugary cereal in the morning, you’re more likely to crave refined carbs and added sugar throughout the day. However, if you choose quality protein (eggs, Greek yogurt, tofu scramble, etc.), complex carbs (fruit, sprouted grain toast, etc.), and satiating fats (avocado, ghee, nut butter, etc.), you’re providing your body with the calories and fuel to take on the day.
What is a Healthy breakfast?
A healthy breakfast looks different for everyone—based on your needs lifestyle, culture, genetics, and cravings. Furthermore, how much food you need to feel satisfied and satiated is going to be different than me! However, a good universal rule of thumb: a healthy breakfast contains high-quality protein, natural fats, complex carbs, and anti-inflammatory ingredients. All of these components help balance hormones, aid in blood sugar management, and support stable energy.
healthy breakfast ingredients
These are a few of my favorites: chia seeds, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, berries, chocolate protein powder, nut butter, sourdough bread, avocado, poached eggs, ghee, full-fat cheese, spinach, mushrooms, and sauerkraut. I always have an assortment of these ingredients on hand for quick yet nourishing breakfasts.
How breakfast helps balance hormones
A nutrient-dense breakfast is the gateway to supporting female hormones—all day long. Optimal ingredients and optimal timing (eating within 60 minutes of waking) help balance hormones like cortisol and insulin. And this is important because we want steady energy, temperament, and focus throughout the day. Furthermore, when you eat a nourishing breakfast, you’re also supporting your metabolism. And when your metabolism is supported, so is your endocrine system. In turn, this helps avoid imbalanced hormones. A healthy breakfast also promotes heart health and improves cognitive function.
Is your Cortisol too high in the morning?
Cortisol (our stress hormone) naturally rises in the morning. This helps us feel alert, energized, and ready to take on the day. However, when cortisol is higher than normal in the morning, so is blood sugar. In turn, this can cause a cascade of repercussions: irritability, sugar cravings, sluggishness, etc. So, how does this happen? For example, chugging coffee in leu of a wholesome meal, diving right into a stressful work task, or eating a sugary breakfast. Short-term, these scenarios cause sugar spikes and crashes. Long-term, elevated cortisol can lead to a slew of unwanted conditions, like type 2 diabetes and PCOS. To support healthy morning cortisol levels, eat one of these healthy breakfast ideas for hormone balance and eat within 30-60 minutes of waking.
See here for high cortisol symptoms and what to do about them.
the power of eating shortly after waking
Keep in mind that the timing of your breakfast is also crucial. In other words, what you eat and when you eat supports happy hormones—especially for women. Eating within 30-60 minutes of rising is necessary for re-energizing and re-hydrating your body. You can’t drive your car without gas, so don’t ask your body to go anywhere without fuel! If you don’t currently wake up hungry, aim for something light to start: a small cup of chia pudding, or a hard-boiled egg with a cup of strawberries.
What if you feel better—and prefer—to drink coffee first thing in the morning?
That’s okay! We’re all hard-wired differently. However, for the sake of hormone balance and keeping cortisol within range, try adding a scoop of vanilla collagen to your hot or iced coffee. This will provide essential amino acids (building blocks for protein!) and nutrients to start your day off on a healthy note.
Are you suppressing your morning appetite?
Ask yourself: am I truly not hungry in the morning, or am I possibly suppressing my appetite? There’s a significant difference. To begin, consider if you’re connecting with your natural appetite—or trying to ignore it. It may be time for an honest check-in. Do you feel stressed, fatigued, or ravenous by lunchtime? If so, fasting all morning may not be as beneficial as think. Keep in mind that missing your morning meal confuses your hunger hormones, setting you up to overeat later in the day.
is protein better in the morning?
All macronutrients—protein, carbs, and fat—are necessary for healthy hormones. However, when it comes to building a hormone-friendly breakfast, protein is at the tippy top. Therefore, one more important piece of your morning nutrition should be protein. For this purpose, you can try drinking Proffee. But, how do you make it? As you brew your coffee, mix or blend protein powder in the water or milk of your choice. Some key benefits include increased energy and metabolism, improved mental focus and productivity, and enhanced muscle growth. Protein Coffee is an excellent addition to your diet. Learn more about Protein Coffee benefits here.
10 Healthy breakfast ideas
Without further ado, here are 10 healthy breakfast ideas for hormone balance. Start your day off on the right foot with these blood sugar-friendly, fiber-rich meals. If possible, opt for organic dairy, pasture-raised eggs and animal protein, and non-GMO tofu.
Need more hormone-friendly meal inspo? I have you covered. Won’t (or can’t) do eggs for breakfast? See here for healthy no-egg breakfast recipes. P.S. I’ve tested all of these recipes on my continuous glucose monitor, and they keep my blood glucose very stable!
Cottage cheese bowl
Full-fat cottage cheese (1/2-1 cup), topped with 1-2 fried eggs (cooked in ghee), sea salt, black pepper, nutritional yeast, and arugula. Sub the eggs for smoked salmon! On the side: small apple with nut butter or tahini.
To a blender, add 20+ grams protein powder (grass-fed or plant-based), large handful spinach, 1 cup frozen berries, 1-2 spoonfuls ground flax, two spoonfuls nut butter or tahini, and unsweetened milk of choice (organic cow’s milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk).
veggie omelet with fruit
Whisk 2-3 eggs in ghee with non-starchy veggies (greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, etc.); side of banana coins topped with nut butter, cinnamon, and chia seeds. Hot tip: add a small spoonful of pesto to your omelet!
Block of tempeh (1/2-1 cup) scrambled in coconut oil with sea salt, turmeric, black pepper, and garlic powder; side of sprouted grain toast with mashed avocado, cilantro, lemon juice, and sea salt.
chocolate chia seed pudding
3 tablespoons chia seeds + 2 scoops chocolate protein powder + 2 tablespoons seed cycling seeds + 1 cup of milk. See recipe here. Top with fruit of choice, Greek yogurt, and raw walnuts.
Cheesy Breakfast sandwich
Add 2-3 scrambled eggs, provolone cheese, sliced tomatoes, sauerkraut, and avocado to a sprouted grain English muffin (or gluten-free, if necessary!). Sub avocado for Violife cream cheese.
Savory brown rice bowl
Add 1/2 cup brown rice to a bowl, topped with baked tofu and sautéed greens in coconut oil (kale, bok choy, spinach, etc.); add chopped green onions, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.
Recipe here. Feel free to swap the eggs for chicken sausage, turkey bacon, or veggie-based sausage. Serve with fruit.
Keto lemon poppy seed bread with yogurt
Crumble a generous slice of my keto lemon poppy seed bread (that—truthfully—tastes more like cake) over a bowl of Greek yogurt. Mix the Greek yogurt with ground flax and chia seeds for more fiber and healthy fats.
easy Grazing board
In a rush in the morning? Throw together this quick yet nourishing grazing board to keep you full for hours. On a plate, add 1-2 hard-boiled eggs (prep the night before), smoked salmon, a handful of walnuts, and a small sliced apple (sub: oranges, clementines, strawberries, etc.).
Images courtesy of Unsplash.
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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.
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