Breakfast: Nutritious, Delicious and Worth Every Bite!

Yogurt parfait with granola and fresh berries
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Whether you are heading out to work, to school, to the beach or just about anywhere, don’t leave your breakfast at the door.  Okay, so you say you are not hungry or you are running late, but before you think that it's an easy meal to skip, keep on reading. 

There are many things about breakfast that make it the most important meal of the day.  Why sell yourself short when with a few changes you can make a huge impact on your overall nutritional health?

 

Why Breakfast Is Important

So what about breakfast makes it so important?  Breakfast is the meal that fuels your brain and body after an overnight fast that occurs while you sleep.  As you sleep it's important to realize that while your mind may shut down, your body keeps on working.  So without breakfast, you are running on empty.

Along with energy, breakfast can provide rich sources of nutrients that your body needs.  Foods rich in calcium, iron, protein, fiber and B vitamins help to get your body going.  And studies show that those who do not consume breakfast are less likely to meet their nutritional needs later in the day. 

Research also shows that most overweight people do not eat breakfast, leading us to question why this is. The studies support evidence that eating within two hours of waking up helps to enhance and feed your metabolism allowing your body to burn more calories than if you skip the meal.

Hunger also catches up to you and those who skip breakfast often report increased hunger later in the day.  And we know that when someone is too hungry they often make poor choices or overeat.  The bottom line is eating breakfast plays a key role in keeping your weight in the right place.

If you are looking at a reason beyond your waistline to eat breakfast, then start using your brain.

  Breakfast is an effective way to restore glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate that is critical to brain function.  Studies show that at school or in the office, those who eat breakfast show more success in concentration and memory tasks.  

Breakfast has also been shown to play a role in the prevention and management of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.  A healthy breakfast should provide calories in a range of about 20-35 percent of your recommended daily allowance. 

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Have we convinced you yet? If so then the next question is what are you going to eat?  There are many ways to enjoy a breakfast, even if you are on-the-go and even if you are not a great cook! Take a look at how you might benefit from these breakfast ideas:

Sun Butter and Banana Toast -  Spread sun butter on whole grain bread and top it off with slices of bananas.  It's a great way to enjoy a delicious breakfast rich in protein, fiber and vitamins and minerals.  Sun butter is made of sunflower seeds and is great for those with nut allergies, however those without allergies can opt for almond or peanut butter.

  Whole grain bread can be traditional or works on gluten-free bread as well.  

Fruit Salad with Quinoa - It takes but a minute to sprinkle quinoa atop your fruit salad for a crunchy and filling start.  Quinoa, perfect for those with a wheat allergy, is a great source of protein.  And pick your favorite fruits to keep it interesting.

Oatmeal with Toppings - Fun for the whole family with this breakfast.  Make oatmeal in minutes using your choice of milks, such as soy, almond, low fat or even coconut water.  Then set up various bowls with toppings to make it more nutritious.  Depending on food allergies and taste preference offer things like berries, slivered almonds, bananas, cinnamon, diced apples or raisins. 

Egg and Avo Toast -  Imagine how tasty it would be to start your day with avocado spread atop crispy whole grain toast, regular or gluten-free.  Then to make this healthy breakfast even better add a sunny side or poached egg on top.  The protein and healthy fats in this will keep you satisfied all morning long.

Overnight Oatmeal -  Too lazy to make breakfast in the morning? Or maybe too rushed?  Here is the perfect solution. Combine oats, milk, yogurt, berries and vanilla in a sealed container overnight in the refrigerator.  In the morning it's perfect to eat hot or cold! A great breakfast full of nutrients, fiber, protein and calcium! (use a non-dairy milk for those with allergies.)

Breakfast Smoothie -  Maybe it's kale, banana, peanut butter or mango that you prefer.  With a just a few ingredients you can make a great morning smoothie to take on-the-go. Blend 1 cup grapes,  1 cup spinach, 1/4 cup coconut or soy milk and 1/2 cup ice! A smoothie is the perfect way to pack a nutritious meal into a drink.

Yogurt Parfait - Take your favorite flavor of yogurt and layer it with berries and granola or high fiber cereal.  Not only will it look pretty enough to eat, taste sweet enough, but it will also provide you with calcium, protein, and fiber, not to mention antioxidants.  For those with allergies, this can be changed to dairy-free yogurt and gluten-free granola as well.

A Little of This, A Little of That - On those really tough mornings where you basically are eating as you walk out the door or into your office, it is often easier to eat a “little of this, and a little of that”.  Pair up a few nutritious foods together to make a great start to your day.  Maybe choose hard boiled eggs with a few whole grain crackers and berries, or a cheese stick, apple slices and almonds.  Don't be afraid to add a glass of chocolate soy milk, almond milk or a small glass of fresh squeezed juice.  Avoid allergy foods, but with so many pairings available, you can make anything work.

Breakfast can be about anything you can think of, but the trick is not to skip it! Be creative, keep it simple, mix it up and give it a chance! Your brain and body will be thanking you all at the same time for becoming a breakfast eater!

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