Make no mistake… breakfast is king! That’s right: just as our parents have always said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether you are trying to decrease body fat or just trying to make it through the day, breakfast is an important step that should not be taken for granted.
There are numerous reasons why breakfast is so important. For starters, breakfast helps to set the tone for the day. It is literally a “break” from our overnight “fast,” and provides a kick-start for our metabolism. Research has shown that eating a balanced breakfast can increase metabolism and decrease our desire to overeat. It can also result in an increased level of sustained energy and ability to focus throughout the day.
Eating a balanced breakfast is not always easy. Due to busy lifestyles and demands on our time, we often resort to grabbing a quick, easy bite to eat that is often carbohydrate heavy. If this sounds familiar, it is time to get real and make a change. Doing so requires only that you practice a little “mind over mattress”. Rest assured that the positive benefit of getting up 15 minutes earlier to eat a nutritious breakfast far outweighs the benefit of that extra sack time.
Now that you have made the decision to develop this new habit, it is time to consider what you should be eating. Ideally, breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day and include protein (15-20 gm), complex “slow release” carbohydrates (whole grain/high fiber foods, fibrous non-starchy foods, fresh fruits), and healthy fats. Below are two examples of what a balanced breakfast can look like:
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).
Smoothie made with 4 ounces Greek yogurt blended with 3/4 cup frozen fruit and 1/2 cup soy milk or low-fat milk (245 calories, 45 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 15 grams protein, 3 grams fat).
Eat a balanced breakfast every morning and get your day started out right!