You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While I wouldn’t say it’s the MOST important, it is certainly a meal you shouldn’t skip. And to highlight breakfast’s valuable role in our diet, September has been designated as Better Breakfast Month.
Breakfast not only fuels the body after a long overnight fast but also boasts an array of additional benefits. Research has found:
- Kids who eat breakfast have better attention, memory and performance in school
- Breakfast eaters are less hungry, consume fewer calories at lunch and maintain a lower weight compared to breakfast skippers
- Men who eat breakfast have a lower risk of developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes
So what makes a good breakfast? A balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats are key in creating a breakfast that delivers health benefits.
- Choose high quality protein like eggs, Greek yogurt, cheese, milk, lean pork, beef or beans that help build and repair body tissue and keep you feeling fuller longer.
- Fruits, veggies and grains supply carbs to power your body and brain and fiber to fill you up and promote digestive health.
- Healthy fat in nuts, avocado, peanut butter and vegetable oils like corn, canola and olive provide an additional form of energy, aid in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and reduce risk of heart disease.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated to be good for you. Try these quick and easy options when you’re pressed for time in the morning.
- Mix a cup of light Greek yogurt, a cup fresh or frozen fruit, 1/4 cup dry cereal and 2 Tbs. chopped almonds
- Scramble 2 eggs in the microwave and fold in a whole-wheat tortilla with 2 Tbs. low fat cheese, 1/4 avocado and salsa. Wrap in foil or a paper towel and pair with a piece of fresh fruit.
- In 1 cup of oatmeal prepared with fat-free milk, stir in 2 Tbs. peanut butter and 1/2 banana and a packet of sweetener like aspartame
With 400 to 450 calories, 20 grams protein, 50 to 60 grams carbohydrate and 7 to 10 grams of fiber, these breakfast meals combine good taste and good nutrition to start your day off right and keep you going all morning long!
Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Dallas. She serves as a nutrition communications consultant to a variety of food and nutrition organizations, including the Calorie Control Council. She is passionate about promoting fact-based food and nutrition information to help people enjoy nutritious eating. Follow her on Twitter @NevaRDLD and check out her blog at www.NevaCochranRD.com.