By Becky Ramsing, MPH, RD
Breakfast eaters have all the fun, according to recent research. People who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight and are more successful at losing and maintaining weight loss. They have fewer cravings and choose healthier foods throughout the day. In fact, at the end of the day, breakfast eaters get more fiber, vitamins and minerals. Not only that, they are late for work less often and perform better at work and school, especially on those memory tasks!
Breakfast is a great opportunity to start out the day right and get some of those food groups that we typically lack: fruits, whole grains, and low fat dairy or milk. However, breakfast can also start your day out wrong! A deluxe breakfast from your local fast food restaurant can cost you more than half the calories you need for the day as well as your entire limit of fat and saturated fat! Even a quick latte and muffin from the coffee shop will give you 650 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 8 teaspoons of sugar!
What makes a great breakfast? Start with good ingredients. Choose a whole grain, such as high fiber cereal, oatmeal, or a whole wheat English muffin. Then add some protein with peanut butter, an egg, fat free milk, yogurt, or lean sausage. Top it off with fresh, frozen or even canned fruit. Use healthy fats when cooking, such as canola or olive oil. A balance of carbohydrates, lean proteins, and fat causes a more gradual release of energy over the entire morning, maintains your blood sugar levels and delays hunger until it’s time for lunch.
In a hurry? Grab a peanut butter sandwich in the morning or microwave an egg and sandwich it in a whole wheat English muffin. A bowl of cereal with a banana is quick and full of great nutrients. Or what about last night’s leftover? Keep healthy breakfast foods at the office for those times you miss breakfast at home. Individual oatmeal packets or cereal boxes are great, but make sure they’re the low-sugar variety. You can also keep yogurt and granola on hand to grab when you’ve missed breakfast at home. And when you are on the road, choose a la carte with an egg or pancake and avoid the deluxe meal! Egg McMuffins without the cheese, yogurt parfaits and oatmeal are good choices too.