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12 Incredibly Easy and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

12 Incredibly Easy and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Many people try to excuse away their poor eating habits by saying that in the mornings, they haven’t the time or inclination to eat healthy, and it’s just “easier” to shove an instant pastry in their faces before trudging onwards with their day. It doesn’t take much effort to make these simple, healthy breakfasts, and enjoying some of these instead of grease-laden fast food takeout items will do wonders for your health, energy level, and overall well-being.

1. Granola/Muesli Parfait

Granola Parfait

    This only takes a minute or so to prepare, and can be eaten either at home, or at the office. To make a portable version, just use a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid instead of a mug or glass. Keep a healthy store-bought muesli or granola like Kashi Go-Lean on hand, or make your own with a mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut flakes, toasted oats, etc. Pour a layer of this cereal into your jar/glass, then a layer of low-fat yoghurt, and a layer of fresh fruit (sliced strawberries, peaches, whole blueberries, etc.) Add layers like this until the glass is full, grab a spoon, and dig in.

    2. Breakfast Wrap

    This is one of the most versatile meals out there: just take a whole wheat wrap and fill it with what you have on hand. One great-tasting, high-protein filling is scrambled eggs with fried onions and peppers, but you could just as easily fill yours with tofu and veggies, or low-fat/vegan cream cheese and sliced fruit.

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    3. Pita Pocket

    Whether you prefer a sweet or salty breakfast, you can make this work for you. Just take a whole wheat pita and slice it in half so that you have two happy little pockets. If your morning preferences lie on the sweeter side, spread the insides of the pockets with almond butter (or other healthier PB alternative) and add in some sliced fruit such as bananas, apples, and pears. For a savoury version, slap some hummus into the pockets and add in tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, sprouts, lettuce, and grilled tempeh.

    4. Porridge

    Porridge

      You have a few different options for this one, depending on which way your personal preferences lie:

      • Steel-cut oats prepared in a crock pot overnight
      • Grain porridge made with a mixture of oats and barley
      • Macrobiotic porridge made with any whole grain (brown rice, oat, barley, or millet), with vegetables like radish, celery, broccoli, and seaweed, and garnished with sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Serve with a bowl of miso soup

      5. Smoothie

      If you’re the type of person who likes to have breakfast in liquid form, skip the coffee and aim for a smoothie instead. These combinations of fruit, vegetables, juices and/or non-dairy milks aren’t just super-simple breakfast options—they’re powerhouses of nutrition and energy that also keep you hydrated. Toss in some leafy greens like spinach into a banana-blueberry smoothie, or brighten your morning with a drink made with frozen strawberries, orange juice, and grapefruit wedges.

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      6. Breakfast Bars and Cookies

      No, these aren’t the fat-laden, sugar-coated, empty-calorie bars and cookies you can get from the supermarket, but rather healthy, protein-packed energy bars and “cookie-shaped-mini-meals” that you make ahead and keep on hand for breakfasts and mid-afternoon snacks. Skip the sugar and add in plenty of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, and you’ll have a fibre-rich snack that you don’t have to feel guilty about.

      7. Egg White Tostadas

      Toast a small corn tortilla, top it with scrambled egg whites, sliced avocado, maybe some salsa and chopped cilantro, and dig in. You can crumble in a bit of queso fresco or feta, or use tofo and peppers instead if you’re aiming for a vegan version, but either way, these tostadas come together quickly and are as delicious as they are good for you.

      8. Quinoa Bowl

      Quinoa Bowl

        This amazingly tasty pseudo-grain is also one of the healthiest, and most versatile. Many people use it in lunch and supper recipes, but you can also use quinoa in both savoury and sweet breakfast dishes. Mix it with fruit, cinnamon, non-dairy milk, a drizzle of honey and some toasted nuts for a hearty sweet breakfast, or add in tofu or tempeh, chick peas, tomatoes, sunflower sprouts, sliced cucumber, toasted seeds, and a bit of tahini for a savoury version.

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        9. Congee

        A rice-based porridge, congee (also known as “jook”) can be made overnight in a crock pot or rice cooker, and is fantastic comfort food. It’s usually eaten with savoury additives, such as shredded meat, chopped green onions, soy sauce, and peanuts, but you can also have it with soy milk and fruit if you so desire.

        10. Frittata

        This halfway-point between an omelette and a quiche pairs sauteed vegetables with beaten eggs and spices for a light, protein-packed, and low-fat breakfast. Try combinations like caramelized onion and Swiss chard, mushroom and spinach, tomato-zucchini, red pepper and goat cheese, or countless other pairings.

        11. Fruit Salad

        Fruit Salad

          Create a salad of your favourite fruits and store it in the fridge to keep it nice and cool. Douse the fruit with a bit of orange or lemon juice to stop it from turning brown, and enjoy a full rainbow-like serving for breakfast. Feel free to top it with wheat germ or oat bran for extra fibre, and depending on the type of fruit that you used, a bit of low-fat yoghurt or cottage cheese would work with it for a protein boost.

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          12. Low-Fat Huevos Rancheros

          Believe it or not, this scrumptious breakfast can actually be healthy. Toast a whole wheat or corn tortilla, and instead of a fried egg, top it with scrambled egg whites. Skip the shredded cheese, add plenty of pico de gallo (or other salsa of choice), some refried or mashed beans on the side, and a dollop of fat-free Greek yoghurt instead of sour cream, and you’ll begin your day with a well-rounded, delicious meal that will fuel you for hours.

          Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and with these tasty, healthy ideas at hand, you have no reason to skip it anymore.

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          Published on November 14, 2018

          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

          With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

          For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

          In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

          Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

          Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

          It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

          For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

          Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

          Symptoms of Fatigue

          Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

          • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
          • mental blocks
          • lack of motivation
          • headache
          • dizziness
          • muscle weakness
          • slowed reflexes and responses
          • impaired decision-making and judgement
          • moodiness, such as irritability
          • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
          • reduced immune system function
          • blurry vision
          • short-term memory problems
          • poor concentration
          • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

          Causes of Fatigue

          The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

          • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
          • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
          • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
          • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

          Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

          Medical Causes of Fatigue

          If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

          Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

          Anemia

          Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

          Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

          There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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          This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

          Diabetes

          Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

          Sleep Apnea

          Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

          Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

          Thyroid disease

          An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

          Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

          • Lack of sleep
          • Too much sleep 
          • Alcohol and drugs 
          • Sleep disturbances 
          • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
          • Poor diet 

          Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

          • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
          • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
          • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
          • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

          Psychological Causes of Fatigue

          Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

          • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
          • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
          • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

          How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

          Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

          1. Tell The Truth

          Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

          To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

          Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

          The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

          One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

          • How you feel
          • What time of day it is
          • What may have contributed to your fatigue
          • How your mind and body reacts

          This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

          2. Reduce Your Commitments

          When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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          If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

          When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

          Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

          3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

          If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

          Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

          If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

          Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

          Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

          4. Express More Gratitude

          Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

          It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

          Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

          5. Focus On Yourself

          Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

          There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

          But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

          We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

          6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

          Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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          Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

          The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

          Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

          7. Take a Power Nap

          When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

          Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

          This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

          8. Take More Exercise

          The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

          Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

          The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

          You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

          9. Get More Quality Sleep

          To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

          Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

          My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

          10. Improve Your Diet

          Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

          Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

          On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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          To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

          Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

          Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

          11. Manage Your Stress Levels

          Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

          When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

          Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

          My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

          12. Get Hydrated

          Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

          Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

          If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

          The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

          The Bottom Line

          These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

          If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

          Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
          [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
          [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
          [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
          [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
          [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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