I know you’ve heard it before -- breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is hard to dispute the benefits, actually. Consistently eating breakfast contributes to a healthy weight and can assist with weight loss efforts. Further, kids who eat a healthy breakfast perform better in school, have fewer behavior problems, and improved concentration. Yet, like so many Americans, breakfast may be the last priority as you try to get out the door in the mornings. Hence it falls to the wayside.
If you are looking for a New Year’s boost but you aren’t quite sure of a realistic place to start, consider starting with breakfast. The case for eating a healthy breakfast is a simple one - the pros definitely outweigh the cons! It’s at the beginning of the day making it easier to execute than something that falls later, there are at least a dozen easy options to choose from, and breakfast can be an easy meal to grab and go.
Make Breakfast Happen
So many benefits yet so little time. It’s still possible to make breakfast happen…daily.
- Stock up. Keep healthy breakfast items that are quick to prepare and/or easy to take with you, such as whole grain cereals, yogurt, frozen waffles, fiber or high protein bars, and fruit.
- Keep it simple. If you are not accustomed to eating breakfast, it may take time to develop this new habit. Keep it simple by starting small – a banana, a slice of toast, protein bar, a small container of yogurt.
- Think ahead. Prep your breakfast items the evening before. Place them in the refrigerator, on your kitchen counter, or in your bag so you don’t need to think about it in the morning.
Make Healthy Breakfast Choices
You’re willing to give breakfast a go, and you want to make good choices for yourself and your family. At the same time, there are so many options to choose from and many of them are loaded with added sugar, sodium and fat – especially convenience items such as breakfast pastries and granola-type bars. Even a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) indicated that most children’s cereals fail to meet the federal government’s proposed voluntary guidelines for foods nutritious enough to be marketed to children.
Quick & Healthy Breakfast Options:
- Breakfast smoothie made with 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen berries, 1 cup soy milk, ¼ cup old-fashioned oatmeal
- Slice of whole wheat toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter, medium banana and 1 cup low fat milk or soy milk
- Hot oatmeal made with ½ cup regular oatmeal (not instant), sliced apples and 1 cup low fat milk or soy milk
- Hard-boiled egg with an English muffin and orange slices
What to Look for in Cereals and Other Convenience Items:
You’re almost sold on the idea of breakfast, but you don’t have time for preparing smoothies or hard-boiled eggs. No problem. There are plenty of convenience options that meet or exceed sound nutritional standards. Here’s what to look for:
- A short ingredient list (added vitamins and minerals are okay).
- Choose high protein foods that are a good source of fiber to fill you up until the next meal. Aim for at least 7 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein.
- Few or no added sugars - avoid items with added honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, brown sugar, corn sweetener, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, lactose or malt syrup.
NuGo bars are also a great choice as an on-the-go healthy breakfast solution. With several lines to choose from, you’re sure to find a bar that satisfies your breakfast cravings. Fiber d’Lish bars contain 12g dietary fiber per serving, and NuGo Slim high protein bars that offer 15-17g protein and 7g fiber with only 2-3g sugar. Either option is a great start to a busy day.
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It doesn’t need to be complicated - choose high protein foods that are a good source of fiber, and add fresh fruit. Above all, be consistent by making breakfast a regular part of your routine to nourish yourself and to execute your health goals.