Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why You Should Eat Breakfast and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

I’m sure you’ve heard before that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But why? And what constitutes a good breakfast? Keep reading to find out :)

Eating a healthy breakfast:
  1. Jump Starts Your Metabolism. Breakfast is just what it sounds like - breaking the fast of not eating during the night. Your body responds to this fast by slowing down. Your metabolic rate decreases so that you burn fewer calories and conserve energy. By eating breakfast, you get your metabolism going and start burning calories again. The earlier you start burning calories, the more you’ll burn in a day, helping you to maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Leads to Better Performance Throughout the Day. Several studies have shown that children who eat breakfast perform better on standardized achievement tests and have fewer behavior problems in school. On the other hand, children who don’t eat breakfast can be cranky, disinterested, and unmotivated. The same goes for adults.
  3. Helps Prevent the Mid-Morning Slump. If you skip breakfast, by mid-morning you are likely to feel tired and run-down. This is where some people will reach for a cup of coffee and a candy bar. This might give you a temporary boost but will lead to a crash shortly afterwards, leaving you tired and cranky at lunch time. On the other hand, a healthy breakfast fuels your body to last through to lunch time while staying alert and focused.
  4. Helps You Make Better Food Choices Throughout the Day and Ultimately Lose Weight. People sometimes skip breakfast to cut calories but, as mentioned above, this leaves you starving by mid-morning. Oftentimes this will lead to snacking throughout the day and bingeing at lunch and dinner. This will likely lead to a higher caloric intake than a healthy breakfast and sensible eating throughout the day would have yielded. According to the National Weight Control Registry, eating breakfast is a daily habit for “successful losers” (individuals who have maintained a 30-pound or more weight loss for at least a year).
Healthy Breakfast Choices:

You don’t necessarily need a lot of time in the morning to create a healthy start to your day. Focus on meals that combine complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. You want to aim for foods that will fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied longer. High fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains can accomplish this without adding a lot of extra fat.

5 Super Fast Breakfasts:
  1. 1 cup whole grain low sugar cereal (kashi, multigrain cheerios), 1 cup skim milk, piece of fruit
  2. 1 cup oatmeal with 2 Tbsp honey and sliced banana, 1 cup of milk
  3. 2 slices whole wheat toast with 2 Tbsp peanut butter, piece of fruit
  4. 1 whole grain muffin with 1 cup low fat milk and ½ cup berries
  5. 1 cup low fat plain yogurt with ½ cup all natural granola and 2 cups strawberries

Some other ideas -
  • 1 Slice whole wheat toast with 2 Tbsp peanut butter; serve with a protein shake [1c milk, ½ c berries, 1 Tbsp protein powder, 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds]
  • 3 egg whites scrambled with
    • 1 oz shredded cheese & ½ cup broccoli, 2 slices whole wheat toast, ½ cup OJ
    • Diced turkey, ¼ cup onions, 1 oz shredded cheese, whole wheat toast, piece of fruit
    • 1 whole egg, ½ cup chopped mushrooms, 5 snow peas quartered, ¼ chopped red bell pepper, and 1 ½ tsp soy sauce; serve with ½ cup berries and 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3 egg white omelet with 1 slice whole wheat toast & ½ cup OJ
    • 1 oz ricotta, ¼ cup tomatoes, ¼ cup onions
    • Onions, mushrooms, and peppers
  • ¾ cup oatmeal with 1 cup milk &
    • 1 tsp brown sugar & banana
    • 1 small chopped mango
    • 1 cup applesauce, 1 tsp brown sugar and cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter on whole wheat English muffin, 1 cup skim milk, 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • ½ whole wheat bagel with
    • 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 cup milk, 1 cup fresh fruit
    • 2 Tbsp cream cheese, 2 slices tomato, ¼ cup yogurt
    • 2 oz cheese, 4 slices tomato, ½ cup OJ
  • Whole grain muffin with
    • 1 cup strawberries & ¼ cup yogurt
    • 1 Tbsp peanut butter & small apple
  • 3 egg whites over hard on whole wheat English muffin with
    • 1 slice ham & 2 slices cheese
    • 2 meatless breakfast patties & slice cheese
  • 1 cup cottage cheese & 1 slice whole wheat toast with ½ cup blueberries
  • 2 whole wheat waffles with 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup & 2 cup strawberries
  • 2 egg whites scrambled with 1 slice whole wheat toast, ½ cup OJ with
    • 2 meatless breakfast patties
    • 2 slices turkey bacon
  • 4 egg whites scrambled with
    • ½ cup new potatoes, ½ cup salsa, & 1 ½ oz shredded cheese; piece of fruit
    • ¼ cup salsa, ¼ cup guacamole, ¼ cup corn in whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup cereal, 1 cup berries, 1 cup milk
  • 2 whole grain pancakes with 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup and 1 cup raspberries
  • ¾ cup yogurt with ½ cup raspberries & 1/3 cup cereal
  • 2 pieces whole wheat French toast [made with 1 Tbsp milk & egg white], 1 c blueberries, 1 c milk