"What should I have for breakfast?" This is a question we get asked often and one that seems simple, but often leads to a lengthy discussion. Not too long ago a simple bowl of cereal or a piece of toast with margarine was considered an adequate breakfast. Both options are easy to prepare before rushing off to start the day and are low in fat. But according to today's nutrition recommendations, they are anything but a good breakfast. So what kind of meal should you start your day off with?
1. Breakfast needs to have protein. For most people, breakfast is typically a very high-carb meal. The most common breakfast foods are cereal, bagel, muffin, pancakes/waffles, toast, and eggs. Out of all these options, only one contains a substantial amount of protein- eggs. Why is protein important at breakfast? It starts off your day by keeping your blood sugars stable so you won't have any dramatic spikes and falls and find yourself craving more sweets a few hours later. It will also help keep you full so you won't need that "second breakfast" that we so often hear people having.
Protein options: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, ground turkey.
2. Breakfast should be low in added sugar and refined carbohydrates.
A breakfast high in sugar will only keep you craving sugar throughout the day. Breakfast is your first meal of the day so if you start out the day with a meal high in refined carbohydrates that is only going to lead to a downward spiral of high-sugar meals the rest of the day. Instead, have whole grains like steel cut oats or sprouted whole grain bread or a piece of fruit and pair it with some protein.
3. Breakfast is your first meal of the day and should be a nutritional powerhouse!
If you start off your day with a healthy, well-balanced meal you are more likely to want to continue that trend and make the rest of your meals just as healthy. Also, if you have the right amount of protein, carbs, and fat then you will not have those strong cravings for high-sugar foods later in the day.
Well-balanced plate: 20g protein (1 cup Greek yogurt, 3/4 cup cottage cheese, or 3 eggs), 1/2 cup whole grains or 1 fruit, healthy fats like nuts or avocado