What Is a Healthy Breakfast and What Will It Do for Me?

I hate to eat in the morning. Why do I have to?

Of course it is your choice: whether to eat a healthy breakfast, or any breakfast at all. But the benefits of eating a healthy, balanced breakfast are many.

Remember, when you wake up in the morning, you’ve been fasting for 8 to 12 hours. Your body’s glucose level is low, meaning that your brain has been without fuel for some time, and is now begging for food to sustain your morning activities.

According to Gail Frank, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, “Eating breakfast is very important for the brain and body first thing in the morning. Breakfast skippers often feel tired, restless or irritable in the morning.” An early, healthy breakfast keeps your hunger down, so you won’t binge eat later in the day. Healthy [low calorie] breakfasts help us control our weight, she goes on to say.

What is a healthy, balanced, low-calorie breakfast?

Many breakfast eaters favor a bagel (made from refined flour), or a sweetened, low-fiber cereal, and then wonder why they feel so sluggish by lunchtime. A healthy breakfast is one that is a good source of complex carbohydrate, fiber and protein, and low in sugar, salt, and saturated fat. Balancing carbohydrates—fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—will hold off hunger all the way to lunch, and fuel all the things you do the rest of the morning.

Getting more fiber into your breakfast

A healthy, balanced breakfast includes at least 5 grams each of protein and fiber. Remember: a glass of skim milk contains 8 grams of protein, so having a small non-fat latte with your breakfast can provide a great protein boost to your morning for about 100 calories.

Some great options are listed below:

  • Plain oatmeal with fresh fruit (sliced bananas or berries, for example), cinnamon and a dash of skim milk
  • Two egg omelet (or 3-4 eggwhites) loaded with veggies on whole grain toast
  • Fat-free, plain greek-style yogurt topped with sliced almonds, fresh berries and a drizzle of honey or agave nectar
  • A bowl of high-fiber, whole grain cereal with less than 5g sugar per serving, with low fat milk and fruit
  • A fruit smoothie made with frozen berries, 1 banana, 1 cup low fat milk or soymilk and a 2 TBSP of ground flaxseeds
  • Peanut butter and sliced banana on a toasted whole-grain English muffin
  • Turkey bacon, scrambled egg, avocado and salsa in a whole wheat wrap

For even more ideas, try these recipes for a healthy breakfast from Eating Well magazine, or calculate your fiber content and evaluate your diet menu. It’s easy to create for yourself a healthy, balanced breakfast. So don’t be a skipper; make sure your every breakfast is a balanced healthy one.

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