Breakfast: Yes, it really is the most important meal of the day.
We’ve all heard it, over and over again: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But we’ve also all been there – when we’ve overslept, are running late to work, trying to get the kids fed and out the door and just don’t have time for ourselves to prep and eat. Yes, we are going to have mornings like that, but (hopefully) more times than not, breakfast can be an easy and quick meal to give our body the morning kick start it needs.
So, what makes breakfast so “important?” • It replenishes blood sugar that is typically low first thing in the morning.1 And as I have experienced on “those” mornings when I’ve skipped my first meal, I find myself more tired – maybe even irritable if I’m being honest – than usual, and am starving by mid-morning. • People who skip breakfast are more likely to overeat later in the day (been there, done that). • Nutrients we get from food are impacted when we skip any meal – so by skipping breakfast, we’re not as likely to get all of the vitamin and mineral requirements our body needs for the day.1
On average, people who eat breakfast weigh less than those who don’t. One contributing factor could be that the protein and fiber consumed in the morning keeps you full until lunch, helping to regulate our appetites for the day.1
A filling, healthy breakfast, like all of our meals based on the MyPlate guidelines, should consist of a combination of carbohydrates (whole grains), fruit and vegetables, protein and dairy (as in milk or yogurt).
Here are some easy, quick ideas to get you started, even on those crazy mornings: • Whole grain cereal with low/non-fat milk and fresh fruit • Greek yogurt topped with granola/nuts and fresh fruit • Whole grain granola bars (good for on-the-go) • Oatmeal with nuts, raisins and a little brown sugar • Bananas, Greek yogurt and raw nuts (good for on-the-go) • Eggs, whole grain toast and fruit • Fruit smoothie with Greek yogurt or low/non-fat milk and granola/nuts • Whole grain toast with avocado or peanut butter and banana
Photo: The Skinny Fork
I can promise, Scout’s honor, that eggs do not take a lot of time. I’m a little bit of a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast, and I eat one scrambled egg with 1-2 teaspoons of cheese, half of a whole grain toasted English muffin with a little butter, whatever fresh fruit is in season (my go to’s are grapefruit in the winter, cantaloupe in the summer and any kind of berries year-round) and a glass of skim milk every single day. I will eat cereal on mornings when I’m in a hurry, but it just doesn’t fill me up until lunch the way my egg does. From the time I open the refrigerator door to the time my egg is scrambled and on my plate, it takes less than 10 minutes. To prove it, I timed it this morning:
This time includes toasting and buttering my English muffin, and I bet if I was in super speed mode, I could do it under 5 – I think I’ve found my next challenge!
Another tip: make your yogurt/granola/fruit mixture the night before. This also doesn’t take but a few minutes, and in the morning when you’re rushing, you can grab it and walk (or run) right out the door. Layer one cup of plain or flavored Greek yogurt with a scoop of whole grain granola and chopped up fruit of your choice.
Hate cutting up fruit? So do I. The best time to cut it? As soon as you get back from the grocery store. Your brain is already in food mode, so why not? Trust me, you will be SO glad that you chopped the next morning when you need your breakfast fruit serving and are packing lunches for the day (if you’re like me and put it off until the morning…such a procrastinator, I know, I know). If you’re feeling ambitious, you can go ahead and prep your yogurt parfait while you’re at it. Then you’ll be really happy the next morning when you’re early for work!
Lastly, don’t forget to be careful of what you put in your coffee. Stray away from the unhealthy additives and skip the sugar. Tea is a good alternative to get your morning caffeine in.
Find some more great healthy breakfast ideas here.