Shawnee Mission Community Health Update: Building a better breakfast

By Megan Schlick, ND

Megan Schlick, ND
Megan Schlick, ND

You wake up on a good morning with time to eat breakfast. Great! You open the pantry and grab a sugary cereal box, or maybe you have a little extra time to toast a bagel or decide to stop by the donut shop on the way to work. What’s wrong with this, you ask?

The flour (even whole wheat) in these so-called “breakfast” foods act just like sugar in your body – revving you up, followed by a crash, followed by craving more sugar. So, you grab a coffee or some more carbs for another rush – and another crash. Sound familiar? Eventually you deplete your adrenal glands and rob yourself of your remaining energy reserves, start to pack on weight around your abdomen, and soon you start to notice depression. I see it all the time! Do your body a favor and upgrade your breakfast.

10 Tips for Building a Better Breakfast

  1. Don’t skip it. Overtime, not eating breakfast on a regular basis will lead you down the path of diabetes, abdominal weight gain and chronic fatigue.
  2. Eat within one hour of waking. This will help jumpstart your metabolism. Not hungry that early? Start off with something small, like a handful of raw nuts or a spoonful of Greek yogurt.
  3. Include a good serving of protein. Aim for around 10-15 grams at breakfast. Great sources of protein include hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, nut butter, a protein smoothie or an omelet.
  4. Stay away from sugary cereals, donuts and pastries. Think of these as treats, not breakfast. Those who eat sugary breakfast foods tend to eat more calories throughout the day.
  5. Try a smoothie. No need to buy a fancy blender. My favorite blend is coconut milk, a scoop of whey protein powder, banana, scoop of nut butter and scoop of chai seeds. Delicious. Once you get the hang of it, start adding in a handful of greens (kale, spinach, chard).
  6. Limit juice, especially with kids. Chronic juice drinker? Start cutting your juice with half water. Even though the label reads “100 percent fruit juice,” your body is going to treat it like a bowl of Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs.
  7. Spend time enjoying it. Try to make time to sit down at a table and enjoy your food. It’s called mindfulness and will allow you to feel satisfied without overeating.
  8. Avoid artificial sweeteners. If you have migraines, fatigue or muscle aches, you should definitely cut out these synthetic sweeteners. Opt for local raw honey or stevia, or enjoy the natural sweetness of whole fruit.
  9. Get some variety. Pinterest is one of my favorite websites for discovering new meal ideas, although you have to be savvy to eliminate the unhealthful recipes.
  10. Limit caffeine to just one cup. Relying on the caffeine boost? You might need to get your adrenal gland health tested.

This weekly sponsored Community Health Update is brought to you by Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

Megan Schlick, ND, is a Prairie Village resident and accredited naturopath at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. To learn more about her practice, visit To find a doctor or for free health information, call the ASK-A-NURSE Resource Center at 913-676-7777.