We’ve all heard it before…breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is it really? And does it really matter if you’re one of the millions who skip it altogether?
As registered dietitians, we don’t like to slight any of our meals (we love them all!) but we do admit that having a nutritious breakfast is extremely important. That’s because eating a nutritious breakfast sets you up for a healthier day. Breakfast gives you the fuel that you deserve to start your day and it helps to prevent you from overeating later in the day. That’s probably why people who eat breakfast are best able to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Plus, it helps kids to stay more alert so they can concentrate better and be more creative.
No Time to Prepare Healthy Breakfasts?
We grew up in a quite healthy household where we were given a nutritious breakfast in the morning before running out the door to school. Our mom took pride in spending time preparing meals that kept us energized and satisfied until lunchtime. If you’re like us, you want to eat healthfully and also give your family the best, but you simply don’t have the time to spend cooking, like our moms did. The good news is that there are so many healthy breakfasts that can be prepared in minutes, and you can feel really good about eating them and giving them to your family.
3 Most Important Components
We have our clients choose breakfasts that have the following three components:
1) A high-fiber carbohydrate: This provides long-lasting energy. Think oatmeal, whole grain breads and whole grain cereals with fiber.
2) A low-fat protein: This takes longer to digest than the high- fiber carbohydrates so it keeps you feeling full. Think hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, nonfat yogurt (Greek yogurt is especially high in protein), low-fat cottage cheese, and fish such as water packed tuna or slices of salmon.
3) A source of antioxidants/ vitamins/ minerals: This provides extra nutrients. We’re not talking about supplement pills. Always try to add the good stuff–a fruit or vegetable to your breakfast. Think berries or other fruits on cereal or in yogurt, spinach or mushrooms in eggs or a tomato on a whole grain piece of toast with low-fat cheese.
Check out these eight breakfasts faves:
1. Fiber-filled cereal with skim milk and berries
Good news for Moms: cereal and milk are the leading source of 10 nutrients in childrens’ diets and only cost 50 cents a bowl. So you can really feel good about giving your family cereal. Try hot cereals like oatmeal or high fiber cold cereals like All-Bran. Be sure to stick to the serving size. To boost up the protein content, try incorporating a hard-boiled egg as they are a great source of satisfying protein.
More good news: If you’re used to giving your kids cereals like Corn Pops or Apple Jacks, Kellogg’s has increased the fiber and the whole grains. The majority of their cereals are a good source of fiber and many of them include whole grains. More encouraging news for Mom’s whose kids love sweetened cereals: although these cereals have 12 grams of sugar (roughly a tablespoon), we’ve found that kids often add sugar or honey to other unsweetened cereals, and surprisingly, they may get fewer grams of sugar from these already sweetened options.
2. Peanut butter banana roll-up
One of the easiest things to do is spread peanut butter on whole wheat bread or on a whole grain tortilla, wrap it around a banana and run out the door. The whole wheat bread will provide energizing carbs while the peanut butter will give a boost of protein.
For an easy alternative, toss whole wheat bread in the toaster and then spread peanut butter on it. Grab a piece of fruit for the final touch for added fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants.
3. Raisin bread topped with cottage cheese and strawberries.
Top a slice of whole-wheat raisin toast with nonfat or low-fat, low-sodium cottage cheese and strawberries (or another fruit) and sprinkle with cinnamon.
4. Egg roll-up
Scramble liquid egg whites and roll them up in a whole wheat tortilla (you can microwave this when in a super time crunch!) and salsa. Toss in your favorite pre-cut veggies like onions, peppers, spinach and mushrooms.
5. Mediterranean delight
Spread 4 tablespoons of hummus on a toasted whole wheat pita. Add lettuce and tomato.
6. New York Style Breakfast
Toast half a whole-wheat bagel and spread non-fat ricotta on it with a sliced tomato and an ounce of salmon.
7. Waffle time
Toast a whole-wheat waffle. Top with low-fat or non-fat yogurt (Try nonfat Greek yogurt for extra protein) and an apple or sliced fresh fruit.
8. Yogurt parfait
Layer a non-fat or low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt with berries and a couple tablespoons of rolled oats. The yogurt is a great source of calcium and protein and the oats provide energy-revving carbs while the berries are loaded with antioxidants.
About the Authors
Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, CDN, CFT and Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFT (a.k.a. The Nutrition Twins®) are registered dietitians and certified personal trainers. They share a nutrition consulting practice and are co-authors of The Secret To Skinny and Fire Up Your Metabolism. The Twins are regularly featured as nutrition experts on The Fox News Channel, Good Morning America and Discovery Health Channel and regularly appear on international radio stations, as well as print and online publications. Visit www.NutritionTwins.com (see link below).