Meal Monday‘s…Breakfast does matter – really
with Elaine Hastings, RD
Everyone has heard it at some point in their lives – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Perhaps if you are awake enough to wrap your mind around a few important pieces of information, the concept of eating a balanced breakfast will be much easier for you to swallow.
Sure, a doughnut filled with luscious strawberry jelly might tempt your taste buds, but are those empty calories and tons of carbohydrates really worth the effort? Even if you try to balance your breakfast plate by adding a glass of refreshing cold milk, you will not tip the scales toward the “healthy breakfast” side.
The hours that pass between the time you go to bed and the time you wake up give your body the opportunity to rest, but they also leave your stomach virtually empty. So by rushing out the door and into the busy day ahead, you are leaving your body without the proper fuel it needs to perform at its optimum level.
Imagine how much easier it would be to run to the next staff meeting, focus on that important sales presentation or meet that afternoon deadline if you had all of the enduring energy that a healthy breakfast will provide.
Breakfast gives your body the energy it needs to sustain activity throughout the day. Research has found people who skip breakfast often feel more tired, irritable and restless in the morning. On the other hand, those who do eat breakfast have a better attitude toward work, higher productivity and enhanced ability to handle tasks that require memory.
Breakfast eaters also have more strength and endurance and better concentration and problem-solving ability. Plus, breakfast helps you reach your recommended number of vitamins and nutrients. A whole-grain cereal with milk and citrus juice can provide 100 percent of the vitamin C, 33 percent of your calcium, thiamin and riboflavin and a good supply of fiber, iron and folate.
Although the idea of waking up a few minutes earlier each day to prepare and enjoy a healthy breakfast might be completely out of the question, there are some great “to go” options. It’s important to plan ahead so that you have some nutritious items on hand that you can quickly combine to create a well-balanced and delicious morning meal that is light on the carbohydrates and calories but heavy on the “health and nutrition.”
By using a well-balanced combination of high fiber and protein, complex carbohydrates and low-fat items, you will not only feel energized and satisfied for longer periods of time, but you will also be adding important nutrients that your body requires to stay healthy.
Whip up an omelet using nutritious egg whites, diced onions and bell peppers, a light sprinkle of sea salt and cracked black pepper with a side of tomato salsa. Make a steaming bo*wl of oatmeal and toss in some fresh berries or a handful of chopped walnuts, a few raisins and a touch of cinnamon.
For the “to-go” option, prepare it the night before so that you can simply grab it from the fridge and be on your way. Portion out a few slices of lean meat or a serving of tuna packed in spring water, a slice of low-fat cheese, a handful of whole-wheat crackers and fresh fruit for a breakfast-on-the-go that is as good for your taste buds as it for your health.
Regardless of the combinations you choose to use, remember that you should stick with a good balance of ingredients for a healthy and satisfying breakfast that will keep your tummy happy, calm your food cravings and give you the energy and endurance that will make you feel as though you are ready to go the distance instead of running out of fuel just an hour or two after finishing your meal.
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