What you eat every morning sets your metabolic tone for the next 24 hours. Skip breakfast or wait to eat until several hours after waking, and you set up a cycle of crashing blood sugar, snack attacks, insulin spikes, and exhaustion that can last until bedtime. Not only that, you encourage the release of stress hormones. That means you’ll feel hungry, moody, and foggy all afternoon.
Contrary to what you may have learned from outdated diets that encouraged you to cut calories to lose weight, skipping meals also means your body hangs on to your fat reserves. If you don’t consistently eat healthy, filling food, your system figures it better hang on to any extra pounds, just in case…
If your goal is great energy and a speedy metabolism, you need a great breakfast every day.
What to eat.
To give you the most bang for your metabolic buck, your breakfast should have clean, lean protein, filling fiber, and healthy fats.
That trifecta will ensure you stay full, have plenty of energy, and burn your fat stores. It also helps you maintain better blood sugar balance so you don’t fall prey to an 11 a.m. snack attack or the dreaded 3 p.m. brain fog that leaves you reaching for carbs just to stay awake. Sadly, most traditional American breakfast options are just dessert masquerading as health food. A muffin is just a cupcake without the frosting, and it joins pancakes, waffles, and French toast in the lineup of breakfast food villains that grind your metabolism to a halt. And don’t even get me started on that glass of juice (even green juice!). It’s pure fructose, and nothing does a more efficient job of encouraging inflammation, weight gain (especially around your middle), and serious disease.
How to make the best smoothie.
I’ve been drinking a smoothie every day for over 30 years, and I can attest to the incredible health benefits. Not only is it ready in five minutes or less, but it’s portable, affordable, and offers ideal nutrition for a healthy, successful day. The recipe below is full of ingredients that give your metabolism an extra boost, so you set yourself up to burn fat for incredible, sustained energy. No more midmorning crashes or chalking up those added pounds to age!
The protein powder in your shake matters. Look for one that’s free of gluten, soy, whey, or other dairy. All are known to be potential causes of food intolerance, with uncomfortable symptoms including stubborn weight gain, fatigue, joint pain, sinus trouble, skin breakouts, and headaches. The ideal plant-based powder has clean, lean protein sourced from hemp, chia, chlorella, or pea, while paleo protein powder should be from pasture-raised eggs or grass-fed beef only. Look for one with 20 to 25 grams of protein per serving.
And protein isn’t the only important ingredient—you want to make sure your smoothie has at least 4 grams of fiber and no more than 3 grams of sugar (and ideally that number will be 1 gram or less!). Fat is also important because it helps stabilize blood glucose by slowing the digestive process so you stay satisfied and energized. This recipe also includes cinnamon, which has been shown in a number of studies to boost metabolism and help burn fat. It also has cayenne, another known metabolism-booster (spicy foods essentially "speed up" your system, including your metabolism).
Have this smoothie for breakfast every day, and you’ll rev up your metabolism in no time!
The Best Metabolism-Boosting Smoothie Recipe
- 1 serving clean protein powder, your choice of protein type and flavor
- 10 ounces unsweetened coconut or almond milk
- ½ cup fresh greens (kale leaves, baby spinach, or chard)
- ½ cup frozen organic mixed berries
- ½ small avocado
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- dash ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- Blend together all ingredients until smooth. You can add ice cubes to thicken your shake or ice water to thin it.
- For an extra boost of fiber, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds or cacao nibs.
JJ Virgin, CNS, BCHN, is a celebrity nutrition and fitness expert who helps clients lose weight fast by breaking free from food intolerance. A certified nutrition specialist, board certified Holistic Nutritionist, and Certified Exercise Physiologist, she is the author of the New York Times best-sellers The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days and The Virgin Diet Cookbook: 150 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Lose Weight and Feel Better Fast.