I’m a morning person. I love waking up early, running, showering and having a cup of coffee, all before my kids are even out of bed. Recently, however, I’ve been so focused on a work project that I’ve had to make shifts in my routine. I’m working late at night, and having to run later in the day. Not my ideal! Yet one thing has not changed- eating a healthy, wholesome breakfast and making sure that my kids get one too.
The benefits to starting your day with breakfast are endless. Better concentration, attention span and memory, just to name a few. Individuals that eat breakfast are also found to have an improved overall fiber and carbohydrate intake, greater physical activity levels and lower overall BMI’s than those that skipped their morning meal. Teens that eat breakfast are more likely to have diets adequate in iron, the nutrient that helps transport oxygen in the body, preventing fatigue and keeping your immune system strong so that it can fight infection.
Your morning meal sets the standard for your day. It’s the fuel that your mind and body will use to be focused, productive and energized.
So what exactly is a “Breakfast of Champions?”
To start with, avoid foods loaded with simple sugars, such as donuts and pastries. These foods can leave you feeling tired and do not contribute much in terms of your daily nutritional needs, especially when consumed alone. Instead, make sure to eat a balance of nutrients.
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats all have important roles in the body but contribute different vitamins and minerals; therefore, build a breakfast that offers each of these foods. Focus on getting carbohydrates from foods higher in fiber and full of vitamins and minerals such as whole grain breads and/or cereals, oats, fruits, vegetables and milk.
Be sure to balance your healthy whole grains and fruits with adequate protein such as yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, a slice of cheese or nuts/nut butters. These foods help us to feel full for longer and provide us with a variety of nutrients we will need to perform our best throughout the day.
If you are running short on time, take your breakfast to go. Be flexible and prepared. The following are a few ideas.
- Whole grain cereal with low-fat or skim milk, 1 Tbsp. crushed walnuts and 1/2 c blueberries or (take it with you) in a to-go plastic bag mix 1/2 cup dry cereal mixed, 2 Tbsp. dried fruit, 1 Tbsp. nuts and a hard-boiled egg
- Scrambled eggs, 2 slices whole grain toast, 1 slice Canadian bacon and ½ cup orange juice or (take it with you) Lox and low-fat cream cheese on a whole wheat bagel
- Egg/Egg white omelet (using I whole egg and 2 egg whites) stuffed with one slice cheese, ham and vegetables such as peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms with 2 slices whole grain toast or (take it with you) 6 ounces Greek Yogurt topped with granola and fresh fruit
- Oatmeal (add walnuts, yogurt or cottage cheese) or (take it with you) a fruit Plate: 1 ounce cheddar cheese cubes, 1/2 cup grapes
Do you have a balanced breakfast idea? Share it with us!