Make the most of your breakfast.
It’s the most important meal of the day, so why do you either skip or skimp breakfast? After all, the benefits of eating breakfast can’t be ignored. But it’s not just eating breakfast that matters. It’s what you eat as well.
Why should you add breakfast to your already rushed morning routine? And what are the best and the worst food choices to jump start your day?
Research has shown that adults who eat a healthy breakfast on a daily basis are more likely to manage their weight; eat more vitamins and minerals; have lower cholesterol levels, which lowers the risk for heart disease; eat less fat and cholesterol; have better mental focus; and enjoy increased energy for daily tasks.
It is especially important that children and teens eat a healthy breakfast. Children and teens who eat breakfast are more likely to have all the perks adults get. As it can sometimes be difficult for younger folks to wake up and stay awake throughout the day, they need what breakfast offers to perform their best at school.
Wondering what to put on your breakfast table? When considering what to eat to break your overnight fast, it’s important to include at least two of the following types of food: complex carbohydrates for energy, fiber for digestion, protein for muscles, and dairy for bones. The combination of these foods provides the nutritious goodness needed for a full feeling all morning.
The Good and the Bad
When it comes to picking a good breakfast, you know that any breakfast is better than none. But if you want to get maximum benefit from what you’re eating, you’ll have to make the hard choice when picking between whole-grain toast or a doughnut, oatmeal or sugary cereal.
One thing you’ll want to go for is whole-grain foods. These have fiber to satisfy your hunger and complex carbs that give long-lasting energy. Great breakfast options include whole-grain toast, bagel, cereal, muffin, cereal bar, or oatmeal. A sugar-filled, refined carb breakfast, on the other hand, doesn’t contain whole grains, fiber, or nutritious goodness. Pastries, white bread, or sugar cereal may give you an initial energy boost by raising your blood sugar, but that energy will soon wear off, leaving you sluggish and hungry.
In addition to being high in nutrients, many fruits and veggies are high in fiber. Because of this, you can’t go wrong including fruits and vegetables in your early-morning meals. Add blueberries to your oatmeal or mix up a fruit smoothie. For a quick serving of this food group, try 100-percent fruit or vegetable juice. Orange or grapefruit juices are especially energizing. Just be careful to avoid fruit-flavored drinks filled with sugar and artificial flavoring.
Including protein in your breakfast will help to maintain blood sugar throughout the morning as well as keep you feeling full longer. Traditional breakfast protein options are bacon and sausage. Unfortunately, both of these are high in saturated fat and calories. While they may fill you up, they may also leave you feeling dragged out later in the morning. Healthier protein options include lean ham, turkey bacon, egg whites, or low-fat peanut butter. Dairy products are another great source of protein. Skim milk, low-fat yogurt, and cottage cheese are great choices.
If breakfast foods aren’t your thing, that’s fine. But don’t think that lets you skip breakfast. You’ll just need to be a little more creative. Fix something you do like – even if it’s a lunch or dinner food. Check the fridge for tasty leftovers. And remember to stock up on healthy foods that can be eaten on the go. Keep yummy, nutritious, easy breakfast foods on hand for you and the kids to grab as you walk out the door.