Do you eat breakfast? Some people wake up hungry and won’t go without breakfast, and others report not feeling hungry, not having time or don’t think breakfast is important.
September is Better Breakfast Month, and what better time to discuss why breakfast is important and explore easy ways to add in nutritious, delicious breakfast items.
Women tend to skip breakfast more than men, and studies indicate that teenage girls tend to be the group with the highest rate of skipping breakfast. Studies on school age children show eating breakfast helps kids think and concentrate better.
A healthy breakfast also helps improve vitamin and mineral intake, which is necessary for proper growth and development.
A good breakfast also jumpstarts metabolism, decreases risk of snacking later in the day and is linked with a healthier weight. Eating breakfast can also help decrease the risk of heart disease and insulin resistance, control cholesterol and help lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety.
A balanced breakfast with lean protein, whole grains and/or fresh fruit keeps energy and focus levels up until closer to lunch time. Prepping ahead makes it easier for busy or rushed mornings. If you are not a cook, explore healthier options in the freezer section, or opt for smoothies or protein bars. Having grab-and-go choices available and picking out healthier takeout options makes a healthy breakfast work for every day of the week.
Here are breakfast ideas for all days of the week:
- Eggs up: Boiled, scrambled, baked in muffins or made into a sandwich, eggs are one of the most popular breakfast items. It is easy to add fresh veggies such as tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach or whatever you like to egg muffins, scrambled eggs, and sandwiches to increase nutrition and flavor.
- Breakfast smoothies: Pack smoothie ingredients such as fresh fruit and baby spinach with a tablespoon of flax, chia seeds or oatmeal in labeled freezer bags to make it easy to pop in the blender with protein powder, peanut butter or Greek yogurt. Add milk of your choice and ice and drink on the way to school and work.
- Hot or cold oatmeal: If you like it hot, pour water over rolled oats and microwave for two to three minutes, take out and mix in cinnamon, nuts and fruit for a hot breakfast, or make overnight oats by adding milk and nuts, nut butter and fruit. Add a teaspoon of honey, maple syrup or stevia if you need it sweeter. A couple of tablespoons of canned pumpkin turn either type of oatmeal into a September fall favorite!
- Meats to eat: Instead of regular bacon or sausage, look for natural types without preservatives and make it leaner by choosing a turkey or veggie option. Serve with options such as eggs, potatoes, whole grain toast and fresh fruit.
- Breakfast cereal: Look for cereals with at least three grams of fiber and less than six grams of sugar. Add fresh fruit, a few teaspoons of chia or flax seeds and nuts for staying power.
- Tweak your toast: Make a quick sandwich or wrap. Look for whole grain options and add peanut butter with banana, hummus or avocado or cheese with fresh tomato (and other veggies) and add a side of fruit.
- Takeout breakfast: Look for eggs and oatmeal or healthier sandwich options such as veggie and egg wraps, smoothies or yogurt parfait.
- Grab and go: We all have those crazy rushed mornings. Make your own or buy protein bars and grab a banana or other fresh fruit as you run out the door.
- Traditional or non-traditional: There is nothing wrong with dinner leftovers for breakfast or the fun tradition of breakfast for dinner! Or make it traditional breakfast favorites on weekends and holidays.
For more information on adopting healthier lifestyle changes, contact Kitty Finklea, a lifestyle coach, registered dietitian and personal trainer at McLeod Health and Fitness Center at 843-777-3000.
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