If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, what’s the most important part of a healthy breakfast?
Making sure what you eat is nourishing and sustaining.
Healthy fats do both better than any glass of orange juice or frozen waffle, making them the foundation of any healthy breakfast.
The Role of Fat in our Bodies
- Fat helps us utilize Vitamins A, D, E and K.
- Omega 3 and saturated fats regulate hormones, therefore are vital for healthy fertility and energy levels.
- Fat slows down nutrient absorption so you feel full longer.
- Butter and coconut oil promote a healthy immune system.
- Saturated fats strengthen bones and improve liver, lung, and brain health. Saturated fats are in every cell of your body.
Which fats are Healthy Fats?
Although modern medicine still eschews saturated fats as artery-clogging monsters, the tide is beginning to turn back toward traditional fats that humans have consumed for centuries: butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil. These fats are the building blocks of human breastmilk and play vital roles in keeping our bodies healthy.
Coconut oil has the added benefit of metabolizing for quick energy. Fat is not stored as fat in the body; excess carbohydrates are. (Check out two success stories of people switching from a low-fat/fake fat diet to real, full fats HERE.)
Omega 3 fats:
Omega 3 fats are also essential to a healthy lifestyle, and therefore a healthy breakfast. Omega 3 fats, found in walnuts, wild salmon, and the flax seeds in Uncle Sam’s [whole wheat cereal], reduce inflammation, help to balance mood, and protect against heart disease and stroke by regulating cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.
Omega 3s generally accomplish the opposite of the other polyunsaturated fat, the inflammatory omega-6s. These are rampant in the American diet: Soybean, corn, and vegetable oils top the list. Try to avoid these industrial oils, products of our century, as much as possible.
These deserve mention as well, as almost every dietary philosophy agrees that there’s not much wrong (and may be a great deal of good) going on with peanuts, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil. Monounsaturates promote digestive health, regulate insulin and have potential to raise HDL (not an easy task).
I hope it goes without saying that trans fats (aka hydrogenated oils) like shortening, margarine, and many fats used in most processed foods, are fake fats. Liquid oils are transformed at the molecular level to become solid, but our poor bodies can’t recognize and don’t know what to do with the foreign substances.
Trans fats course through the body causing damage that leads to many of the diseases of civilization: diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and obesity. They have no place in a healthy breakfast (or in your mouth at any time of day).
And thank goodness, the FDA is now saying trans fats aren’t GRAS (generally recognized as safe) even though people have been eating them for years! ‘Bout time. Hopefully not too little, too late! We can even start educating out kids to identify trans fats so they aren’t outsmarted by the companies trying to sneak them into our diet.
Ways to Incorporate Healthy Fats in Breakfast
The vital role of fats in the body is why when you have a bowl of oatmeal or healthy cereal, you’ll want to choose whole milk.
If you can’t eat dairy, try a full fat coconut milk, include some walnuts in your cereal, or add a hard-boiled egg on the side, as most non-dairy milk substitutes have very little fat. You can read more about why full fat dairy is important HERE.
Break free from the cereal box and fuel your day the right way with The Healthy Breakfast Book.
Here are some other ideas for healthy breakfast fats:
- Peanut butter on…well, anything! Toast, apples, a spoon…
- Trail mix for an on-the-go healthy breakfast, preferably with a glass of whole milk
- Eggs, any way you like them
- Bacon or sausage made from pastured animals
- Toast spread thickly with high quality butter
- Whole milk yogurt with berries
- Add coconut oil or butter to your oatmeal – coconut oil (and cinnamon) have the added benefit of tasting a little bit sweet, so you can often cut down on the amount of sweetener you use
- Fry your pancakes in lots of butter or coconut oil
- Grain-free Almond Apple Pancakes
- Use coconut oil in your baking: muffins, coffee cake, pancakes
- Fruit and avocado salad
- Whole milk/yogurt smoothies; can add coconut oil
- Soaked baked oatmeal (add flax for another boost)
- Vegetable and potato hash fried in tallow
- Homemade pastries made with lard
- Banana Flax Muffins
- Grain-free Apple Flax Muffins
- Leftover cold salmon on eggs or made into a spread for toast
- Greens fried in bacon grease, with an egg on top
- Chia seeds in anything; chia pudding
For more information on healthy and unhealthy fats check out my Fat Full Fall Series.