Do you think a nutritious breakfast is out of your reach because of your busy schedule? Or do you perhaps feel it is not as important as some people say?
Why breakfast makes a difference
Eating breakfast every day helps in making your body feel full as well as promoting proper metabolic function and is a key part of managing proper weight. According to the American Dietetic Association, “starting your day by eating a healthy breakfast can actually help people lose weight or maintain their weight better than those who choose not to eat breakfast each day.”
The National Institute of Health recommends that eating breakfast on a regular basis makes it less likely that a person will overeat later in the day. The majority of individuals who successfully drop pounds and keep them off eat breakfast every morning.
The fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day cannot be stressed enough. In a sense our bodies are fasting for a period of anywhere from eight to twelve hours while we sleep. For that very reason the body needs energy to get it moving and functioning to its optimum best come morning.
So what makes a nutritious breakfast?
It is important to think, “1-2-3 energy” when deciding what to eat for breakfast. In other words, think one serving of protein (such as peanut butter, cheese, yogurt, eggs or milk), two servings of fruit and three servings of grain. Including fruit with your breakfast helps you get your recommended daily requirement of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Fruit also helps prevent constipation. An excellent suggestion for breakfast would be to have two slices of wholegrain bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a glass of orange juice. Oatmeal is a good breakfast choice, especially for those trying to lose weight as oatmeal helps slow down the process of digestion and makes a person feel fuller for a longer period of time.
Getting enough protein at breakfast should be high on the priority list. A nutritious and quick breakfast for those anxious to get out the door right away is a bowl of oatmeal or high fiber cereal, a banana (which is high in potassium) and a glass of milk. To get even more protein, have a piece of whole grain bread (or toast) with peanut butter on it and a decent sized glass of low fat milk (skim or one percent is best).
Fiber is a must at breakfast time, the more the better. Fiber helps keep the digestive system on track. Buy high fiber cereals and breads and choose fresh fruit over fruit juice (if fresh fruit is too high in price then opt for frozen fruits. Avoid canned fruits if possible, as they are loaded with sugar.). Add wheat germ and flax meal to your foods whenever possible. Both flax meal and wheat germ taste good on cereal, oatmeal and yogurt. Make sure to buy ground up flax meal, as flax seeds are difficult for the body to digest. All-Bran is one of the healthier cereals on the market but there are many generic (no name) brands that will cost you less and are just as nutritious. Another plus of these high fiber cereals is that they contain little if any sugar.
An option for those who don’t have time for a hearty breakfast or who don’t enjoy one very much is whipping up a fruit smoothie. Get out the blender and make yourself a healthy alternative to a sit down breakfast! A good one to try is to add ½ to 1 cup of frozen or fresh fruit (fruit of your choice) to a blender with ¾ cup of yogurt and fruit juice until you reach the desired consistency. Then blend and you’re all set.
Another fruit smoothie to try is to blend milk with yogurt, frozen fruit (a banana is essential) and a scoop of protein powder to balance it out. Blend and you’re out the door in a snap! It’s both a healthy as well as tasty breakfast choice.
Skipping breakfast is a no-no
Whether you are dieting or not, breakfast should never be skipped. When you are busy throughout the day your body requires a great deal of calories and nutrients. Going without breakfast serves to slow down the rate at which the human body burns calories. This has an adverse effect as it very often leads to overeating at night, a time of day when the demands of energy are not at a high point and calories are more likely to be stored as body fat.
Don’t wait too long!
One last point to mention is that it is not a good idea to wait too late in the morning to eat the most important meal of the day. If you are one of those people who cannot stomach the idea of eating when you first get out of bed, then eat at least within two hours of rising. Your body needs its breakfast fuel as soon as possible so don’t deny it by waiting any longer than that!