Memorable and Healthy Breakfast Meals

Breakfast continues to be the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that eating a nutritionally complete breakfast, rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can better help you maintain a healthy weight, increase strength and endurance, benefit your concentration and performance, and is associated with healthier meal choices and patterns through out the day.   Eating breakfast is especially important for children and teen. Children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem solving skills, and eye-hand coordination.

Many studies in both children and adults have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weight less than breakfast skippers. The National Weight Control Registry provides positive results for 80% of the people in the registry who regularly ate breakfast containing protein and whole grains. The studies suggest that eating breakfast reduces hunger throughout the day, and help people make better choices at other meals. A closer look at the medical research also finds a role for breakfast and heart disease. Men who regularly skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk of a higher attack and death from coronary heart disease than those who did eat breakfast ( Circulation, 2013). Missing breakfast was also found to have 20% less weight loss and higher insulin resistance than individuals who ate most of their calories earlier in the day ( International Journal of Obesity, 2013)

Look for protein choices to contain at least 5 grams of protein per serving. Below are examples of high protein choices.

Low fat cottage cheese, 1/2 cup
Reduced-fat cheese, 1 ounce
Stonyfield Farms Organic Low-Fat, Fruit flavored
Egg substitute, 1/4 cup
Soy milk, low-fat, 1 cup
Soy-based sausage, 2 ounces
Tofu, extra firm lite, 2 ounces
Canadian bacon, 2 ounces
Extra lean ham, 2 ounces
Turkey bacon, 2 strips
Light turkey sausage, 2 ounces
Nut butter, natural, 1 tablespoon
Light cream cheese, 1 ounce
Lox (smoked salmon), 1 ounce

Sweetened cereals are part of a 160 million dollar marketing strategy aimed at children. Studies have found that children who ate highly sweetened cereals ate twice as much as those who ate low sugar cereals. These cereals have 85% more sugar, 65% less fiber, 60% more sodium than cereals targeted to adults. An easy way to calculate the amount of teaspoons of sugar per serving is to divide the grams of sugar per serving by 4.

Look for breakfast whole grains to contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Breakfast is the perfect time to start the day with at least one or two servings of whole grains. Gluten free, protein rich quinoa flakes is a delicious hot cereal idea, steel cut oats, bran, buckwheat, and other multi grain cereals blends are all delicious ideas.

Quick and Easy Healthful Breakfast Ideas

1) Whole grain waffle or pancake with 1 – 2 tablespoons of nut butter. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, or sliced fresh fruit.

2) A slice of toasted whole grain bread toped with 2-3 tablespoons of low fat ricotta, sliced tomatoes, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle of fresh herbs and black pepper.

3) Steel cut oats with fresh fruit compote, flax seeds, and sweet spices of cinnamon, clove, and cardamom

4) Whole Wheat Pita Pocket with one ounce of Canadian bacon and a one ounce slice of cheese

5) Two slices French toast made with whole-grain bread and one egg (use a higher omega-3 type if possible) blended with 1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half or low-fat milk, 1/8 teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon. (278 calories, 42 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 14 grams protein, 6.5 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 215 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium.)

6) A Breakfast burrito made with 1 whole-wheat tortilla (weighing about 50 grams), 1/2 cup egg substitute scrambled with 1/2 cup assorted cooked vegetables, and 1 ounce of reduced-fat cheese. (304 calories, 32 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 25 grams protein, 7 grams fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 669 mg sodium.)