For most of us, mornings are hectic. We rush around, organizing the kids for school and getting ready for our own workday. With all the bustle, we rarely have time to sit down for breakfast.
However, eating a healthy breakfast helps replenish our body with the nutrients it needs to start the day off right. Plus, skipping breakfast may lead to extreme hunger by lunchtime. This can lead to overeating later in the day or choosing unhealthy but quick options like fast food.
More Benefits of a Healthy Breakfast
In addition to helping us to maintain our weight, eating a nutritious breakfast has more benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults who eat a healthy breakfast on a regular basis tend to consume more minerals and vitamins and eat less cholesterol and fat. Meanwhile, children who eat a healthy breakfast on a regular basis are more likely to meet their daily nutrient requirements and tend to be more alert and able to concentrate at school.
What Is a Healthy Breakfast?
So, what is considered a healthy breakfast? Your breakfast menu should contain one or more of the following food groups:
- Food that contains whole grains, such as whole-grain rolls, bagels or toast, crackers, or hot or cold whole-grain cereals. Try choosing cereals that have at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving. Also, avoid high-calorie, sugar-packed cereals. Aim for cereals that have less than 160 calories per serving and don’t contain added sugars like high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, dextrose or honey.
- Dairy that is low in fat, such as milk, low-fat cheeses, plain or low-sugar yogurts.
- Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits. This can also include 100-percent fruit juice or smoothies with no added sugar. This is a good start to getting in the 2-3 cups of vegetables we need a day.
- Protein, such as hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, lean meat, fish or poultry.
Eating a breakfast that combines fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates and some fat will boost your body’s overall health. It will also keep you feeling full for a longer amount of time. This will prevent snacking throughout the morning or resorting to junk food for lunch. Some breakfast options include: hot oatmeal topped with fresh fruit, a vegetable omelet or frittata, whole-wheat pita with vegetables and hard-boiled eggs, a fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt smoothie, whole-grain pancakes with fresh fruit, whole-wheat sandwich with lean meat, vegetables and low-fat cheese, leftover vegetable pizza. The sky is the limit.
3 Tips for Making Breakfast Happen
If you are a fan of breakfast but just can’t seem to fit it into your tight morning schedule, here are three tips to make it work:
- Plan ahead. Prepare your breakfast the night before. This way, you can pop it into the microwave the morning while feeding the kids, checking their homework or getting dressed.
- Set the table. The night before, decide what the breakfast menu will be for the next morning. Set out any dry ingredients, dishes or pans so you can dive right in come morning.
- Ready to go. Make a transportable breakfast the night before and pack it up. You can take it with you the next morning.
Breakfasts don’t have to be time-consuming or unhealthy. With a little preparation and self-awareness, you and your family can eat healthy breakfasts on a daily basis. Your mental and physical health will be nourished.