We all know that eating breakfast can help jumpstart our day, yet many of us don’t do it. Here’s a few ways to get started if you’re looking to make it part of your health routine.
Did you know that 93% of Americans agreed breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet only 44% reported actually eating it everyday?
Eating breakfast is positively associated with general health and well being: better overall health, consistent body weight, better diet quality, reduced risk for chronic diseases, and cognitive benefits. Starting your day with a nutritious meal also reduces your risk for heart disease and high cholesterol.
So what makes a good breakfast?
Breakfast should be about 15-25% of your total energy (meaning about 225-375 calories if you’re on a 1,500 calorie diet). Ideally, aim to include three or more food groups, especially protein-containing foods such as lean meats, meat subs, legumes, nuts, and dairy. Eating protein at breakfast improves satiety– meaning it helps you feel full longer! Studies have shown that breakfasts high in egg and meat protein led to better food intake regulation and reduced evening snacking compared to skipping breakfast.
One other area to keep in mind: added sugar! Studies have shown that Americans eat 15-20% of their total daily intake of sugars at breakfast. Limit the servings of sugary cereals and fruit juices with added sugar to avoid a potential large blood sugar crash.
While many of us understand that eating a quality breakfast is important, many of us tend to skip because of common barriers.
Reasons include an absence of hunger in the morning, not having easy options, and lack of planning. Luckily, you can address these barriers by using simple strategies for managing time, preparing foods and kitchen items in advance, getting non perishable items ready, and buying in bulk.
Here are 8 tips on how to make breakfast a routine:
- Set out dishes, utensils and nonperishable items out the night before (such as bread, oatmeal, bowl, spoons).
- Move refrigerated items such as low fat milk, fruit, yogurt, and juice to the front of the fridge for easy access.
- Wash and cut up fruit the night before.
- Make overnight oats and have breakfast ready to go the next morning.
- Make freezer “smoothie bags” with bananas, strawberries, spinach, and blueberries ready to go in the freezer for faster smoothies.
- Prep parfaits ahead of time– combine yogurt, fruit and granola in to-go cups.
- Hard boil a dozen eggs at once and store in the fridge for grab and go eggs.
- For those who aren’t hungry in the morning, keep trail mix, dried fruit, fiber-rich cereal bars in cars, purses, briefcases, to eat on the way to work.
Now there’s no more excuses to skip out on breakfast!
HEADER IMAGE: CHRISTINE SIRACUSA
Emily Weeks, RDN, LD is a nationally-recognized nutrition and culinary expert based in Fort Worth, TX. Emily believes the path to a nourished, happy life is to develop a healthy relationship with food, our minds and our bodies. She focuses on helping others achieve a life of balance and harmony through mindfulness and nourished bodies. Read more from Emily at Zen and Spice.