As a society, we seem to be more on-the-go than ever before and this has taken a great toll on some of the food choices that we make as well as how we schedule our meals. Everyone grows up with a mom or doctor wagging their finger at them to remind us of the importance of breakfast. It has become far too easy to simply grab something prepackaged, filled with sugar and chemicals and dash out the door or worse yet, to skip our healthy breakfast options entirely. There are many benefits to eating a good breakfast, and if you are watching your weight, you will want to read more.
First and foremost, the body needs nutrients in the morning to replenish all of the work it has done while you were sleeping. A healthy breakfast will help to make the mind alert and add the vitamins that you need to start the day. Your body will not give up, just because you skip breakfast; it will continue to ‘badger you’ until you give in at a later time. It is then that you will be tempted to overeat something that may not be a good choice and will cause weight gain.
So what are some of the right choices for healthy breakfast options? The experts say you should blend a combination of good carbs, protein and fiber, and there are many tasty choices that will start your day well. Organic selections are always suggested for the best results.
Healthy Breakfast Options:
- Oatmeal: That heart-shape on the box really means it’s good for you! Oatmeal contains beta-glucan, a fiber that reduces bad cholesterol. They are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and folate. Rolled oats cooks faster, but steel cut oats have a higher fiber content. Stay away from the flavored instant oats, as they are high in sodium, chemicals and sugars.
- Greek yogurt: Why Greek? It has more protein than regular yogurt and is an excellent source of calcium. The healthiest is plain or non-fat with a touch of fresh fruit. Bananas are one of the best fruit (especially just lightly green), as they contain what is called a ‘resistant starch’, which is a healthier form of carbohydrate that keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time.
- Wheat germ and Flax Seed. Wheat germ has long been a great way to add Vitamin E and folate to the diet. Two tablespoons, sprinkled over cereal or yogurt accomplishes 15% of the daily requirement. Flax seed is a powerhouse of omega-3 fatty acids and just two tablespoons on cereal or yogurt can be a tasty treat.
- Grapefruit has incredible fat-burning abilities as well as the benefits for insulin and blood sugar levels. Half a grapefruit eaten prior to each meal has been shown to assist in weight loss. If you are taking any medications, you need to check with your primary care physician before adding grapefruit or grapefruit juice to your diet due to potential harmful medicinal interactions.
- Eggs have come of age again as one of the best breakfast proteins and vitamin D. New studies are showing the benefits of eggs outweigh the past cholesterol prejudices and it is now elevated to a choice for those that have a lean diet.
- Almond butter is an excellent replacement for dairy and/or eggs for the protein you need. It contains a ‘good fat’, monounsaturated fat, and is about 100 calories per tablespoon.
- Watermelon is not only tasty and refreshing, it has a high content of lycopene, which is marvelous for heart health, cancer prevention and vision. At only 40 calories per cup, it burns more calories in digestion than it actually contains.
- Blueberries and strawberries are part of the ‘super fruit’ group. Low in calories, blueberries can be eaten frozen or fresh and still contain the antioxidants that assist in memory improvement, blood pressure, motor skills and metabolism. If you can get wild blueberries, you will have access to the highest antioxidant content. As a super fruit, strawberries have been shown to be heart healthy with antioxidants and high quantities of vitamin C, fiber and folic acid.
- Coffee: yes, you read it right! Studies have shown that the blend of antioxidants and caffeine in coffee have been associated with the lowered risks of a few diseases (prostate cancer and diabetes, to name two). Of course, the benefits are reduced when you add sugars and high fat dairy.
- Tea offers more hydration with its lowered amount of caffeine and while antioxidants are in all types (white, black, green), it is the green teas that bring the most benefits. Studies have shown that five cups per day can assist in metabolic functions, and weight loss.
- Cantaloupe and Kiwi: Cantaloupe is high in vitamins A and C and kiwi is rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium and copper.