Over the past 12 years as a strength and conditioning professional, I have had the pleasure to work with more than a thousand clients and hear them articulate their goals. Although these goals are seemingly varied, they often fall into one of several “buckets”: body composition, performance, and general health. No matter the goal, when I get the question, “What should I eat?” I often hone in on breakfast.
Studies demonstrate that if we make a healthy decision for our first meal of the day, it tends to set us up for success throughout the day. However, what most people don’t know is that if you upgrade your intentionality with breakfast, you can optimize your drive and energy all the way through the early afternoon.
This strategy is known as “meat and nuts for breakfast.”
The old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day may just be true. What you eat for breakfast sets up your neurotransmitter production for the day. Neurotransmitters are referred to as the body’s chemical messengers. Simply put, we can influence these chemical messengers by the foods we put into our bodies.
One of the first neurotransmitters discovered was a small molecule called acetylcholine. It plays an important role in the central nervous system in maintaining cognitive function. Dopamine, on the other hand, is a neurotransmitter that is involved in many functions, including motor control, reward and reinforcement, and motivation.
Not only will a “meat and nuts” breakfast provide an ample supply of acetylcholine and dopamine, but the low-carb, higher-fat nature of this strategy slows down the release of glucose to the bloodstream, providing a stable supply of energy until midday, as opposed to the standard mid-morning crash that comes from high carb breakfasts.
Some other ancillary benefits of this nourishment strategy are:
- Reduced appetite
- Improved mood
- Steadied hand
- Accelerated fat loss
When you put this together, keep it simple. Look for one high-quality animal-based protein source along with a handful of nuts. Rotate food choices as convenient and experience a plethora of benefits—including less boredom and more variety! Not only is this an effective method of optimizing your daily function but also, it is incredibly easy and convenient.
7-Day Meal Plan
Different meats and nuts have different amounts and ratios of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, from an ancestral lens, humans typically rotated food sources regularly. From that reasoning, I like to advise rotating your selection of foods on a meal-by-meal/daily basis.
- 4-8 ounces of bison
- 1 handful of macadamia nuts
- ½ ribeye steak
- 1 handful of cashews
- 2 chicken thighs
- 1 handful of almonds
- 1-2 beef patties
- 1 handful of walnuts
- 4-8 ounces of goat meat
- 1 handful of hazelnuts
- 2 chicken sausages
- 1 handful of pistachios
- 4-8 ounces of wild-caught salmon
- 1 handful of brazil nuts
"Meat and nuts for breakfast" is a powerful strategy for those who are looking to optimize their body composition, mental acuity and drive for the day. However, all nourishment approaches need to be individualized. If you are sick of templated approaches and playing the guessing game with your nourishment approach, schedule a strategy session with a professional Central Athlete coach to see how personalized fitness can catalyze your results.