Breakfast – The Most Important Meal of the Day
With 6 Healthy Breakfast Ideas
You have heard all your life that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And yet . . . you may be among the huge number of individuals from all over the world who have never taken that admonition seriously. As a result, they skip breakfast and fill up on coffee instead.
Even if you do not want to accept it, breakfast is the most significant meal of the day. I promise that eating a healthy breakfast is a great first step toward improving your diet and your health, plus you will have much greater success at weight control.
The term breakfast describes exactly what the first meal of the day represents – It breaks your fast. You have essentially fasted for 8 to 12 hours (since your last meal the night before) and your body’s energy source needs to be replenished.
Obviously, you do not eat when you are sleeping and your body is at rest, so eating early in the day is necessary in order to nourish your body and have the energy you need to function well throughout the day – both physically and mentally. Some nutrients, such as proteins, cannot be stored in the body and a new supply must be provided. Breakfast is the match that lights the energy fire.
Tony Goldstone, MD, PhD, a consultant endocrinologist with the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperial College London, states, “When people skip meals, especially breakfast, changes in brain activity in response to food may hinder weight loss and even promote weight gain.” (Web MD, 3 Jul 2014)
People who do not eat breakfast tend to crave high calorie foods to quell their hunger pains and over-indulge with high-calorie mid-morning snacks or stuff themselves at lunch. Both practices contribute to weight gain. Obviously, overeating leads to obesity, which leads to a number of health issues – including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and others.
Healthy foods, such as whole grain toast and bagels, eggs, bran cereals, lean meats, and fruit are good sources of vitamins and minerals that will provide energy throughout the day.
When a healthy breakfast is not eaten first thing in the morning, it is difficult to compensate for the loss during the remainder of the day. It is critical to remember that when the body does not receive the appropriate levels of nutrients, the body cannot function properly.
Studies show that anyone who eats a healthy, nutrient-rich breakfast, tends to eat healthier foods throughout the rest of the day, which ensures that his/her body has a consistent supply of necessary nutrients for good health.
If you do a little planning the night before and allocate 15 to 20 minutes each morning to enjoy breakfast, it can make a huge difference in your health and your daily energy levels and productivity.
The ideal breakfast will incorporate at least three different food groups. For example: A 100% whole-wheat English muffin (whole grains group) topped with pure peanut or almond butter (protein food group) and a fresh orange or freshly-squeezed orange juice (fruit group) is a good combination. Of course, you can add your favorite coffee to the mix with a healthy dose of milk (which adds dairy); just don’t use the coffee as a substitute for the meal.
Even though it is wise to sit down and eat your healthy breakfast, sometimes time simply doesn’t allow for that delightful luxury. In that case, avoid the temptation to skip it altogether and remember that breakfast doesn’t need to be complicated – grab a fresh bagel, a homemade nutrition bar, a hard-boiled egg, or a couple of cheese sticks – plus an apple, banana or orange – all of which can be eaten on the road, if necessary. That is much better than skipping the meal completely.
The bottom line is . . . eat breakfast to sustain your energy and stay healthy.
6 Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Egg White Omelet
This is an excellent choice for heart health and weight management.
If fat intake and cholesterol are concerns, egg white omelets eliminate a lot of fat. Each large egg yolk has 4.5 grams of fat and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, and contain ~200 milligrams of cholesterol, as opposed to egg whites which do not. Egg whites have only 17 calories and no fat. They also contain most of the egg’s protein, about 4 grams of protein in 1 large egg, plus other essential nutrients.
However, it is important to note that the yolk contains essential fatty acids and according to the American Heart Association healthy adults can safely eat one whole egg per day. Your choice should be guided by your personal health concerns and your dietary goals.
Be creative and add lean turkey slices, ham, turkey sausage or even turkey bacon. You can also add cheese and a wide variety of vegetables, such as, tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms and even fresh garlic. The possibilities are endless in making these delicious and hearty breakfast meals that are full of protein and provide a lot of energy for the day ahead.
To round out the meal add a slice of 100% whole-wheat toast and freshly-squeezed juice, or a piece of fresh fruit.
Oats are whole grains that offer high-fiber and a protein-filled start to your day. Warm oatmeal makes a hearty, healthy wonderful breakfast. Add fresh berries or bananas for some sweetness and delight.
Rolled oats can also be eaten cold. Mix 1/4 cup oats with 6 oz. Greek non-fat (or vanilla) yogurt, a little milk to thin it out a bit, a small handful of pecans (walnuts or pine nuts), a dollop of honey (or sweetener – with non-fat yogurt only) and cinnamon to make a great “muesli” that can be prepared the night before and eaten the next morning. If you are partial to sugar, I recommend Stevia®, which has no calories and is an all-natural sugar substitute.
How about some delicious buckwheat pancakes?
Buckwheat is a whole grain that is much healthier than white flour, is loaded with nutrients, and is much less fattening. Since it is low in carbs its impact on blood sugars is minimal and will not cause the spikes that cause you to crash and burn half way through your day.
One 4” buckwheat pancake has 37 calories, 1.34 grams of fat, 5.1 grams of carbs and 1.42 grams of protein. If you need a great recipe, I recommend this one: Buckwheat Pancakes from Cookie + Kate – it also includes a wonderful recipe for roasted strawberries.
If you must use syrup, use real maple syrup (and use it sparingly), or opt for fresh berries with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, or a swirl of peanut or almond butter.
Bagel and Fruit
Another healthy breakfast idea is a whole grain bagel with a swirl of cream cheese (or peanut butter), served with fresh fruit.
This is the easiest of all the suggestions – any good blender will work. A fresh fruit smoothie with protein powder is an quick, delicious, healthy way start to your day. Slice and blend! Add a little ice to make it thick and cold. Use only fresh fruit or fresh juice without added sugar for the best energy boost. Canned or bottled juice is basically liquid sugar.
Whole Grain Cereal
Personally, I am not a big fan of cereals, there are usually too many additives for my taste, but if you are a devotee of the packaged cereal, choose wisely. In addition to additives, many of them are loaded with sugar, so read labels carefully. Cereal can add a lot of good stuff to your diet — or it can add a whole lot of nothing.
One of the best is Grape Nuts (Original). Contents: Whole Grain Wheat, Wheat Flour, Sugar, Malted Barley Flour, High Oleic Vegetable Oil (Canola or Sunflower Oil), Salt.
The only other two I can recommend are: 1) Kashi Go Lean – full of fibre and contains seven whole grains. According to Kashi it contains no artificial ingredients. 2) Kellogg’s All Bran Original – a high-fibre, iron-fortified cereal that is fairly dense without a lot of taste. I recommend that you eat it in small portions or mix with fruit and low fat yogurt to make it more interesting.
The nutrients in whole grain cereals give you long-lasting energy; and because they are so filling, you are less likely to overeat throughout the day.
Add fresh berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries to cereals for added sweetness, vitamins and anti-oxidants – avoid refined sugar.
You can also add a little milk (regular or lactose-free), almond milk, rice milk, etc.
Eat Hearty! Eat Healthy! Live Longer!