I gave up on the 23-ingredient green smoothies and fruit-laden oatmeals. I replaced all of it with three simple ingredients.
Walnuts, bananas, and dark chocolate.
I had enough of health gurus promoting their products. I didn't have the time, let alone the effort, to create vegan, gluten-free, nutritious, and colorful smoothie bowls. Look, I'm not an expert or nutritionist, so take my experience with a grain of salt. You should always consult a doctor before undergoing any diet change. That said, I wanted something quick, accessible, light, tasty, and healthy. It didn't have to be the next power-packed superfood bowl, but I didn't want sugar for breakfast. The three items I chose were walnuts, bananas, and dark chocolate. Check out this Prezi for all their health benefits.
When I eat a handful of walnuts, I don't just feel good. I feel supercharged. My brain is sharp and observant. Starting online classes doesn't feel like I rolled out of bed, even if I did. Walnuts are my secret superpower and maybe they will be yours too. Walnuts are rich in antioxidants, reduce a host of aging-related diseases, improve blood fats, and improve your brain function. Walnuts are easy and convenient. We buy two bags from Costco and they last me about a month each. I grab the bag, pour out about a handful, and I'm done. Easy, available, and nutritious.
Bananas are the perfect complement to bitter walnuts. Even though they are sweet, they increase cardiovascular health, regulate blood sugar, and help lose weight. I think the kind of fruit doesn't matter, as long as it's in stock and it's easy to eat. You don't want to peel a pomegranate for the morning. Sometimes, I replace the banana with a cup of raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries. It just depends on what we have. Most of the time, it's bananas.
To top it all off, I add one or two squares of dark chocolate. Like walnuts, dark chocolate also has cognitive-boosting effects on the brain. Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure and increases skin hydration. It has enough caffeine in to wake me up. My favorite is the Fair Trade Organic Belgian Dark Chocolate from Trader Joe's. It isn't too sweet, but its creamy texture is irresistible. I take it out of the refrigerator, take off the wrapper, break a small part off, and I'm ready to go.
Food is like focus. At the start of your day, you don't need 15 different kinds of vegetables that supply you with every single nutrient. In the morning, I need something that kickstarts my brain, so the foods I've selected help to provide that. Your goal might be different. Maybe you need something in the morning for a good workout or to support your immune system while you're sick. The individual components of your breakfast don't matter too much. But together, they should serve a healthy focus and be simple, accessible, and nutritious. I always look forward to my breakfasts because I'm not reacting to what I have. I am proactive in making sure I get what I need.