Its that time of year again. Majority of us all want to be healthier in some way this year, and breakfast can help. You often hear people refer to breakfast as “the most important meal of the day”, yet many of us don’t even take the time to consume it. Whether the excuse is too busy, no time, forgot, not hungry, or weight loss, the benefits of eating breakfast are proven. Breakfast is the start of your day. If you start off good, chances are you will want to continue that path. If we start our day with no breakfast, or an unhealthy breakfast, we get this mindset of “oh well I will start tomorrow”. According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, those adults that ate breakfast regularly tended to exercise more and ate fewer calories than those participants who did not eat breakfast. This is true for many reasons.
• First, people often skip breakfast to reduce their calorie intake, but often end up gorging at lunch or dinner or snack all day long due to hunger.
• Eating breakfast also jumpstarts your metabolism and research shows those who skip breakfast expend less calorie because they are more tired, irritable and restless.
• Breakfast eaters have more endurance, strength, and concentration in comparison.
Another important aspect of breakfast that must be considered is the type of meal consumed. Not all meals are created equal! (P.S. Coffee does not count as breakfast!). Breakfast is the perfect time to get in a good fuel source for the day, so opt for things loaded in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a little protein to hold you through the day. A breakfast loaded with carbohydrates (example pancakes) and no protein (add some eggs or egg whites) is a sure recipe for disaster. You will be hungry in an hour or so and feel very sluggish. You need both carbohydrates and protein to fuel each meal and snack you eat during the day! Fresh foods and whole grains are loaded with these components, are low in calories, and are quick and easy to prepare.
Keep this rule in mind when consuming breakfast:
“Strive for Five”: At least 5 g fiber and 5 g protein (aim for 10 or more)
Try things like eggs, egg whites, skim milk, greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, soy milk, soy based sausage or tofu, canadian bacon, extra lean ham, turkey bacon, light turkey sausage, nuts, peanut butter, and nut butters.
Include whole grain and/or fruit or vegetables with your protein source. Try hot oatmeal, hot whole grain cereal, cold whole grain cereal, 100% whole wheat bread, small bagel, English muffin, whole wheat tortilla, barley, quinoa, and any type of fruit and vegetable.
Estelle L. Benoit, RDN, LDN