Not only is breakfast the jump start everyone needs to energize their day, but breakfast is also linked to many health benefits, including weight control and improved performance (as long as you choose a healthy breakfast of course). Breakfast provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast – that’s where its name originates, breaking the fast. Without breakfast you are effectively running on empty, like trying to start the car with no gasoline.
Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast can help give you a more nutritionally complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Breakfast skippers have a harder time fitting important nutrients into their diet. Many foods eaten at breakfast contain significant amounts of vitamins C and D, calcium, iron, and fiber. Apart from providing us with energy, breakfast foods are good sources of important nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins as well as protein and fiber. The body needs these essential nutrients and research shows that if these are missed at breakfast, they are less likely to be compensated for later in the day.
Breakfast also restores glucose levels, an essential carbohydrate that is needed for the brain to function. Many studies have shown how eating breakfast can improve memory and concentration levels and it can also make us happier, by improving mood and lowering stress levels. In studies among children, the first meal of the day can improve performance with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and hand-eye coordination. Eating breakfast is part of a healthy lifestyle that includes making wise food choices and balancing calories with exercise and provides more strength and endurance to perform physical activity.
Eating within two hours of waking can actually reduce hunger throughout the day, and enable better food choices at other mealtimes. A healthy breakfast meal should contain a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low or non-fat dairies, and lean protein. Try any of these quick options for a healthy breakfast:
• Whole grain cereal topped with fruit and yogurt
• Whole grain waffles topped with peanut butter, fruit, or ricotta cheese
• A pocket pita stuffed with sliced hard-boiled egg
• Peanut butter on a bagel with fresh fruit and lowfat milk
• Hot cereal with cinnamon or nutmeg
• A breakfast smoothie blended with milk, fruit, and bran
• Vegetable omelet with a bran muffin and freshly squeezed juice
NUT AND BERRY PARFAIT
Source: Eating Well from May/June 2014
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 tsp honey
Layer yogurt, berries and almonds in a bowl, glass or jar. Drizzle honey on top.
Per serving: 376 calories; 15 g fat (1 g sat, 9 g mono); 11 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrates; 12 g added sugars; 25 g total sugars; 30 g protein; 6 g fiber; 83 mg sodium; 602 mg potassium.