Breakfast is more than just eggs, bacon, and toast, or funny-face pancakes with strawberry lips. It’s the meal that breaks your overnight fast. The first food you put in your body each day can set you up for success … or a downward spiral.
A healthy breakfast helps you control your weight and blood sugar and gives you nutrients that help your growth and development, along with your sense of well being. A bad breakfast has other plans: It messes with your metabolism and may cause weight gain.
There’s a big difference between a bowl of berries and a biscuit covered with sausage gravy. Break your nightly fast with healthy foods and start your day off strong.
Oatmeal + fruit + nut butter. The best breakfasts have carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. In this combo, the oatmeal gives you complex carbs and fiber, keeps your blood sugar under control, and helps maintain an ideal balance of bacteria in your gut. The nut butter adds protein and healthy fats. The fruit tops it off with fiber and vitamins, plus it gives your breakfast a sweet taste. Avoid pre-packed oatmeal mixes that have added sugar and use old-fashioned oats instead.
Prep tip: Make your oatmeal with reduced-fat milk instead of water to give yourself a calcium boost.
Why is breakfast important?
Breakfast is important for several reasons. Eating a meal in the morning provides necessary fuel for your body and brain. It can also help regulate hunger, reducing the urge to snack throughout the day. For children, eating breakfast has been positively associated with academic performance, as well as a decreased risk of obesity.
What foods make a nutritious breakfast?
For the most nutritious breakfast, try to choose whole, unprocessed foods from each of the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. Try to include proteins from foods like yogurts (look for varieties with less sugar added), eggs, nuts and seeds or legumes. Also try to include complex carbohydrates such as whole fruits and vegetables, and whole grains (i.e. oatmeal) that provide fiber and will help you feel full longer.
What should my breakfast never lack?
As with any meal, it’s important to focus on your overall diet and not on any one meal in particular. Making sure your breakfast usually contains a vegetable and/or a fruit serving is a great way to make sure that you are getting in enough fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
What foods should I limit?
The main foods that I would recommend limiting in the morning are processed cereals or pastries which contain a lot of added sugars and little nutritional value, as well as breakfast meats such as sausage and bacon which have been shown to increase risk of some cancers when eaten regularly, and which are also high in saturated fats, which increases risk of heart disease.
So, what are some examples of a balanced, healthy breakfast?
Here are some ideas:
Oatmeal with fruit and flax or chia seeds
Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana
Whole wheat toast with pesto, avocado and eg
Whole wheat crepes with yogurt and fruit
What would you recommend for someone like who is never hungry early in the morning, and only feels like eating a very light meal?
The great thing about breakfast is that its timing can be flexible. Even if you don’t eat immediately after waking up, try to make sure to space your meals out so that you don’t get too hungry at a particular time, which can lead to eating too fast or too much.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be large or complex. Start with something simple like a banana & peanut butter or a cup of yogurt with fresh fruit, or make a smoothie using lots of fresh fruits & vegetables. You can even add in some ground seeds (flax or chia) for added fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.