The most important meal of the day…

Breakfast

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day right? I know, it’s cliche and I’ve honestly never paid much attention to this “rule” until the past few years. I always skipped breakfast. I just needed a nice big cup a joe to get me through the morning. Nowadays I realize more and more how important it is to start the day off with a healthy meal. It keeps my energy levels up and helps my mood. It also prevents me from eating unwanted calories later in the day. Trust me, if you skip a meal it always catches up to you.

I know what you’re thinking: Who has the time?!?! When you’re busy packing up the children for daycare or school and trying to get yourself ready at the same time it seems impossible. Try and make the time, get up a little earlier or prepare it the night before. Have things in the house you can grab on the go as well for those mornings when you are really rushed.

First let’s look at what makes up the perfect breakfast:

Whole grains (i.e. toast, cereal, bagels), protein (i.e. hard boiled eggs, lean meat or fish), low fat dairy (i.e. yogurt or milk), fruits and vegetables (i.e. smoothies, juices with no sugar added)

According to www.mayoclinic.com, eating breakfast has the following benefits:

For Adults:

  • Eat more vitamins and minerals
  • Eat less fat and cholesterol
  • Have better concentration and productivity throughout the morning
  • Control your weight
  • Have lower cholesterol, which may reduce your risk of heart disease

For Children:

  • Meet daily nutrient requirements
  • Concentrate better
  • Have better problem-solving skills
  • Have better hand-eye coordination
  • Be more alert
  • Be more creative
  • Miss fewer days of school
  • Be more physically active

Here are a few ideas on some healthy breakfast items:

1) 100 Calorie Cinnamon pancakes: I’ve been craving pancakes and waffles since I’ve been pregnant and finally decided I need to find a more healthy option then good old “Aunt Ya Mama”. I found this recipe on www.dailyspark.net. Trust me it’s really easy and tastes great.

2) Healthy Harvest Breakfast Muffins: I found this recipe at www.food.com. These are delicious and a great grab on the go option. Make them over the weekend and have a batch ready for the week.

3) Smoothies: A great time saving option as well and packed with nutrition. Try not to use too much sugar or fatty yogurts. There are many places you can find smoothie recipes, I found this great Banana- Berry Smoothie on the www.eatingwell.com web site. But, you don’t even need a recipe necessarily, just put the fruit you already have in a blender add some juice and a little crushed ice and blend away.

4) Oatmeal: My son and I love oatmeal. It’s a great nutritious breakfast, packed with fiber, antioxidants and it’s good for your heart… just to name a few of the health benefits. But there are a lot of sugars and other additives in most brands. I found this great organic option from Nature’s Path that has neither and tastes great.

5) Low fat yogurt and fruit: Low fat yogurts are a good option, but if you want more of the full flavored taste without the calories try Greek style yogurt. Chobani, Oikos and Fage are available now at most stores. But if you’re not interested in Greek yogurt and want the more standard brands, like Dannon or Yoplait, www.sparkpeople.com gives you a good breakdown of the nutritional content of most yogurt brands. It also talks about the benefits of eating yogurt and the setbacks of eating too much of it.

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