The benefits of eating and not skipping breakfast are now well known and proven – it can prevent weight gain, boost brain power and short term-memory, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, and even make us happier! These health rewards, however, depend on you choosing the right foods to start your day.
Generally speaking, a healthy breakfast consists of protein, complex carbohydrates, good fats, fruits and/or vegetables. Typically, you want to include foods from at least three of these groups. Portion sizes will depend on your age, activity level, and diet goals. As a guideline, your plate should consist of about 30-35% protein, 25% carbohydrates, and the remainder fresh fruits and/or vegetables. Make sure you add some good fats also. If you stick to these rules you will most definitely supercharge your energy levels and stop blood-sugar fluctuations, leaving you less likely to reach for sugary, nutrient-void foods, and less food in general for the rest of your day. In addition, research shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner and are more successful at losing weight in Mississauga and Oakville, and keeping it off!
Here are some healthy breakfast options to make sure you start your day off right:
Eggs: these are in fact your friends as it is now known that saturated fat increases ‘bad’ blood cholesterol and not cholesterol found in foods. One large egg contains only 70 calories and 6 grams of protein, and don’t throw out the yolk! The yolk of an egg contains many good nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for your body, and can even help prevent eye diseases.
Whole-grain bread, cereal, or oatmeal: breakfast is one of the easiest times to get in heart healthy fiber from whole grains like cereals, oats, or grains. These options can all help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. They also contain fiber which helps keep you full all morning and gives you energy. Avoid high glycemic refined carbohydrates like sugary cereals and white toast/bagels. Other great options for whole grains or cereal for breakfast could include: quinoa, amaranth, or buckwheat.
Peanut or other nut butters (almond, cashew, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.): there are 8 grams of protein in two tablespoons of peanut butter, which equals roughly 20% of the daily recommended amount for adults. By adding protein at every meal it helps your blood sugar levels regulate themselves, instead of crashing when you eat only high sugary foods like pancakes, syrup, and juice for breakfast. Peanut and other nut butters also contain the ‘good’ unsaturated fats. Another great choice for fats with breakfast could include a few slices of avocado, which contain ‘good’ cholesterol-lowering agents and is packed with fiber and other essential nutrients and antioxidants.
Fruits and veggies: there’s pretty much no such thing as unhealthy fruits or vegetables, so take your pick. You should mix your fruits and veggies up daily to take advantage of the different nutrients and vitamins contained in different ones. For example, blueberries are high in antioxidants, while oranges are loaded with vitamin C and potassium. Also, a few spears of asparagus or slices of cucumber on the side will add a plethora of other vitamins and nutrients to your breakfast.
Yogurt: Greek yogurt is a great choice as it contains in some cases almost double the amount of protein than regular yogurt (a 6 ounce serving of regular yogurt contains as much protein as a serving of meat). Yogurt with berries, raw & unsalted nuts and seeds, and even some healthy granola is a great convenient option for breakfast. Watch for fruit-flavoured yogurts as they can contain a lot of added sugar. Choose a natural, unsweetened kind, or Greek yogurt.
Smoothies: are great and convenient on-the-go breakfasts. You can use yogurt and/or a healthy protein powder as your protein base, as well as fresh or frozen fruit. Then just add water or your favourite dairy/non-dairy option. In addition, add some veggies like kale or spinach to your smoothie to get in some more nutrition.
Foods to avoid or limit are: bacon, sausage, hash browns, processed cheese, white breads/bagels, and granola bars. Most of these foods contain a lot of saturated fat and are high in sugar.
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