Breakfast might not be on the top of your morning to-do list or on your list at all. However, a healthy breakfast refuels the body, starts your day, and can benefit your health. Don’t skip it.
These quick and easy options give you plenty of ways to get breakfast back on the menu.
The Benefits Of A Healthy Breakfast
Breakfast gives you a chance to start the day with a nutritious meal. Adults who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to:
- Eat more vitamins and minerals
- Control their weight
- Control their blood sugar levels
- Perform better at work
Children who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to:
- Meet daily nutrient requirements
- Be at a healthy body weight
- Be able to concentrate
- Miss fewer days of school
The Basics Of A Healthy Breakfast
What counts as a healthy breakfast?
- Whole grains, like whole-grain rolls and bagels, whole-grain cereals, whole-grain English muffins, and whole-grain waffles.
- Lean protein, like eggs, legumes, lean meat, and nuts.
- Low-fat dairy or fortified dairy alternatives, like milk, plain yogurt, and low-fat cheese.
- Fruits and vegetables, like fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, 100 % vegetable juice drinks and smoothies.
These food groups give you complex carbohydrates, fibre, protein, and a small amount of fat. This combination packs lots of health benefits and helps you feel full.
What To Look For In Dry Cereals
Cereal can be a good choice for breakfast. Research suggests that people who eat cereal eat fewer calories at breakfast and are less likely to be overweight than those who eat something else for breakfast. However, not all cereals are good.
Read the label carefully for nutrition facts and ingredients before you buy cereal. Remember that not all cereals have the same serving size. A serving of one cereal might be ½ a cup, while another might be one cup.
When choosing your cereal, remember:
- Fibre. Choose a cereal that has at least 3 grams of fibre in each serving, but aim for 5 grams or more if you can.
- Sugar. Look at cereals aimed at adults, as these are usually lower in sugar than ones for children. Avoid cereals that list sugar at or near the top of the ingredient list, or that list multiple types of added sugar, like high-fructose corn syrup, honey, brown sugar, and dextrose.
- Calories. If you’re counting calories, choose cereals that are lower in calories. Aim for less than 160 calories a serving.
Top your cereal with some sliced fruit and low-fat or skimmed milk/plant milk. If you’re on the go, take a piece of fruit and some yogurt with you, so you’re hitting three of those beneficial groups.
Cereal bars might seem like a good breakfast option. Be sure to look for ones that meet the same basic guidelines as dry cereal and that are made with simple ingredients, like dried fruit, nuts, and whole grains like oats.
Don’t forget to eat some fruit and low-fat yogurt or milk as well to get a balanced breakfast. Even fruit and yogurt cereal bars won’t satisfy all your nutrition requirements for breakfast.
Quick And Flexible Breakfast Options
A healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be a traditional breakfast option. Healthy options include:
- Cooked oatmeal topped with almonds or dried cranberries
- A whole-wheat pita stuffed with a hard-boiled egg and a vegetable, like spinach
- A whole-wheat tortilla filled with veggies, salsa, and low-fat shredded cheese
- A smoothie made with fruits, plain yogurt, and a spoonful of wheat germ
- A whole-wheat sandwich with lean meat and low-fat cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and sweet peppers
- French toast made with whole-wheat bread, egg whites, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Fitting In A Healthy Breakfast
Try some of these tips for finding time for breakfast on a tight schedule.
- Cook ahead. Make breakfast the night before. Just reheat as you need to in the morning.
- Set the stage. Work out what you will eat for breakfast the night before. Set out the dry ingredients and any bowls, pans, or other equipment you’ll need, so they’re ready to use in the morning.
- Pack it up. Make a breakfast-to-go the night before. In the morning, just grab it and you’re out the door.
Your morning meal doesn’t have to mean you load up on fruit and sugar, and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of time to be healthy. Keep the breakfast basics in mind and set yourself up for healthier eating for the rest of the day.