Eating breakfast can help you maintain a healthy weight and stay sharp throughout the day. Eating breakfast improves your concentration, alertness, and performance at home and at work. When you eat breakfast, you’re also more likely to stay at a healthy weight because breakfast gets your metabolism going and helps you avoid snacking and overeating at other meals. Here are some tips for making breakfast a better part of your day:
Forget about fast food:
We’re all pressed for time in the morning, but one of the biggest mistakes we make is eating drive-thru for breakfast. Some fast food breakfast meals can total half or more of your calorie needs for the day, not to mention their fat and sodium content. Coffee drinks are another problem because of the added calories in these drinks. Pastries for breakfast are another example of excessive calories, fat and sugar.
Focus on whole foods:
Instead, turn to whole grains, low-fat milk and yogurt, and fruits and vegetables to provide carbohydrates that give you energy. When you choose minimally processed carbohydrate foods, you get more fiber, more vitamins and minerals.
Go for the grains:
Breakfast is a good time to start the day with some whole grains found in foods like oats, quinoa, whole wheat and brown rice. Many packaged foods with whole grains now include a “whole grains stamp” which can be seen on the package. Otherwise, read the ingredient label: If the first ingredient contains the word “whole,” such as “whole wheat flour,” it is likely that the product is predominantly whole grain.
Pay attention to protein:
Protein is an important item that tends to be forgotten at breakfast because we think of protein only in the context of eating meat. However, we do get protein from grains, legumes, milk, yogurt and nut butters. To get more protein during breakfast, plan to include protein sources like eggs, sausage and ham. Think about leaner choices such as ham or Canadian bacon in the place of sausage. Nut butters, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, milk and grains, such as quinoa, can be good sources of protein at breakfast.
Be prepared with a plan:
Make a PLAN to eat fruits and vegetables for breakfast and make sure that you purchase enough when you shop. Fruits are a good addition to yogurt, cottage cheese, cereals and oatmeal, as well as a topping on whole grain waffles and a main ingredient in smoothies. You can have vegetables in an omelet, as a side dish (such as sliced tomatoes), in the form of vegetable juice, or even eat leftovers from the night before.
In a hurry?
If you’re not that hungry and you just want an energy boost in the morning, a whole grain and a protein, such as whole grain toast and peanut butter, makes a quick meal that will provide carbohydrate for energy and protein to hold you through the morning.