Many of you might be tempted to hit the snooze button in the morning and skip out on breakfast, but there are plenty of reasons to wake up and join in on the breakfast fun. Just like your mother always said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Having breakfast allows your body to refuel and get energized for the day ahead. Studies have shown that adults who eat breakfast tend to eat more vitamins and minerals, less fat and cholesterol, and are able to control their weight better. These benefits don’t stop with just adults; studies have also shown that children who eat a regular breakfast are more likely to meet their daily nutrient requirements, be at a healthy body weight, miss fewer days of school, and concentrate better.
If fitting in breakfast is a challenge, try to make a plan the night before, know what you have in stock, and prepare ahead of time. If it requires cooking, try preparing breakfast the night before so you only need to reheat the food in the morning.
Not all breakfasts’ are created equal, so be sure to choose the right foods for breakfast to get the best health benefits. See the tips below and build your breakfast smart!
1. Protein. Avoid the mid-morning stomach rumble by adding lean protein. This will help keep you full until lunch. Eggs, peanut butter, cheese, lean meat or poultry are all good sources of protein for breakfast.
2. Dairy. Choose low fat or fat free milk, cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt. Try choosing plain yogurt (or Greek yogurt) with your own toppings instead of fruited yogurt that can be high in sugar.
3. Fruits and Vegetables. Fresh, frozen, or canned produce make a great addition to any breakfast. Try fresh fruit that is in season on oatmeal or frozen fruit in a smoothie. If you like to have juice for breakfast be sure to choose 100% juice to avoid the extra added sugar.
4. Whole Grains. Whole wheat bread, whole grain cereal, or oatmeal all are great whole grain options for breakfast. Whole grains are higher in fiber than enriched non-whole grain products, the extra fiber in whole grain products will help keep you full longer.
Stumped on ideas for breakfast? Try these combinations below:
1. Veggie omelet with whole wheat toast
2. Whole wheat English muffin with low-fat cheese, a scrambled egg, and a slice of tomato or lean ham
3. Smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt (you could even add spinach to get in a vegetable!)
4. Whole grain cereal with fresh fruit and low fat milk
5. Oatmeal made with skim milk, raisins and nuts, with a small glass of orange juice
6. Low fat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit
7. Hardboiled egg and a banana
8. Yogurt with crunchy cereal and fresh fruit
9. Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and sliced banana
10. Poached egg with an English muffin and fresh fruit.
Although it’s easy to skip breakfast, it is crucial to make eating in the morning a top priority. You’ll find that starting your day off right with a nutritious breakfast will help you to maintain energy levels throughout the morning and feel your very best.