You’ve heard it a million times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
And it’s true. And you probably even believe it. But still so many people skip breakfast, or they grab something fast and easy on the run—which too often isn’t a nutritious and satisfying selection.
Of course, then there’s the other end of things… the stack of pancakes drenched in butter and syrup with a big side of hash browns and bacon or sausage. Delicious? Sure. OK for a rare indulgence? Yeah. But a smart breakfast? No.
Fuel to Start the Day
Eating breakfast is like fueling up an airplane before takeoff. I don’t know about you, but I’m not heading up into the clouds in a plane with only 1/8 of a tank of gas. When you wake up, it’s probably been somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 12 hours since last you ate. Food is your energy source. If you’re going to take off and conquer your day, you need the fuel to propel you.
Keep Hunger at Bay
Hunger doesn’t help you perform well at work, at school, at wherever you have to be. It’s a distraction that keeps you from focusing and being efficient. Plus, getting too hungry makes you more likely to overeat whenever you do get around to having a meal. This is one of the reasons people trying to lose weight are advised not to skip meals; you may cut out some calories, but you’ll make up for it—and then some—later.
Your breakfasts should provide energy that lasts. That means it shouldn’t be comprised primarily of refined grains, sugar, and caffeine—things that give you a temporary boost but then soon bring your blood glucose and energy levels crashing down. Also, too heavy a breakfast, like that stack of pancakes and sausage, just leaves you feeling full and sluggish, rather than energized and ready to get things accomplished.
Healthy Breakfast Foods
So what should you and the rest of your family—kids included—eat for breakfast? Here are some breakfast foods I highly recommend; mix and match to have a variety of food groups in the meal:
- Yogurt, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese
- Whole grain toast, English muffin, etc. (with peanut butter or nut butter)
- Whole grain cereal with very little or no added sugar
- Fresh fruit, especially berries (perhaps added to oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, or cereal)
- Fresh fruit juice
- Fresh fruit and yogurt smoothie (with added soy or whey protein)
- Chia seeds, flaxseeds, or a tablespoon of flaxseed oil (add to oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, peanut or nut butters, pour the oil on toast, etc.)
- Don’t forget to have one of your all-important glasses of water, too!