Eat breakfast yet? Good. Read this first.
That "healthy" cereal or "low fat" yogurt might be getting in the way of your goals. Sarah Freytag, RD, answers all of our breakfast questions--- giving us the cold hard truth about what actually makes a wholesome breakfast.
(hint: put down the granola bar)
Why should I never skip breakfast?
We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I'm not going to tell you any different. There are plenty of reasons why we shouldn't skip our morning meal, and there is science to back those up. For example, when trying to lose weight, it has been observed that people who make breakfast the largest meal lose the most weight. Those who skip breakfast have limited success in keeping weight off. Additionally, by eating breakfast you can keep blood sugar levels under control (especially important if you have diabetes) and maximize cognitive function. Kids who eat breakfast actually perform higher in memory and concentration than those who do not. In short, breakfast is vital for optimal health and performance.
What's an ideal breakfast?
Unfortunately, not all breakfast choices are created equal. When choosing what to eat for breakfast, it's important to consider the quality of the foods you're putting on your plate. Try to incorporate a mix of protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and fiber to adequately keep you full until lunch time. The biggest mistake I see people make in their morning meals is eating only refined carbohydrates (things like cereal or toast). An ideal breakfast should be well rounded, preferably with something like eggs or Greek yogurt for a great source of protein, paired with a whole grain bread or oatmeal. If possible, breakfast is also a great time to sneak some vegetables in by adding them into omelets or mixing them up into a smoothie!
What are some of the worst foods to eat for breakfast?
Be wary of the sugars contained in items like cereal and granola bars. Although these are marketed as healthy choices, they aren't going to be your best breakfast selections. Choosing to have only a bagel or a piece of toast is also not going to be a great breakfast. Choose whole grains whenever you can, as those have the fiber to help keep you satisfied until your next meal. Do also remember to measure out toppings like nut butter and cream cheese, which can tally up calories really quickly.
What are some good options for when I don't really have time to make breakfast?
Again, grab-and-go items can be tricky due to the potential of added sugars, but if you're really crunched for time a protein bar could be an adequate option. Try to stick to varieties with less than 7 grams of sugar. Even better though, if you know you're not going to have time to sit down and eat, hard boil some eggs the night before and combine one or two of those with a piece of fresh fruit. When eating any carbohydrate (something like toast or fruit), try to pair it with a good protein source. Adding a tablespoon of peanut butter to your apple can help keep you full until you're able to eat lunch! Another good, quick option is Greek yogurt. Look for unflavored brands and feel free to add your favorite fresh fruit, granola, or cinnamon to spice it up a bit. Skipping breakfast could lead you to overeat later in the day, so always try to get something in - even if it's small!