Moms and nutritionists all agree: Breakfast is vital for focus, energy, and stamina throughout the day. It’s your body’s first chance to refuel. When you miss nutrients at breakfast, they’re rarely made up for during the day, which starts a vicious cycle of eating a larger meal toward the end of the day and not being hungry for breakfast the next morning.
To get the nutrients you need first thing in the morning, focus on a blend of protein and carbohydrates at breakfast. Hearty carbohydrates will give you a boost of energy to jump-start your day, mixed with protein for the staying power to keep your body going strong over the next three to four hours until lunch.
If you’re not hungry first thing in the morning, start small. Try a piece of fruit or half a carton of yogurt. Get ready for work and pack a breakfast to eat later. Select grab-and-go items you can bring to work or school, and when hunger hits, pull out your breakfast.
A Week’s Worthy of Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Try a new breakfast menu this week. Here’s some inspiration:
Monday: Whole-grain, high-fiber cereal with diced bananas and low-fat milk or alternative milk
Tuesday: A bagel with hummus or peanut butter and a piece of fresh fruit
Wednesday: A breakfast smoothie and hearty whole-grain muffin
Thursday: Old-fashioned oats with dried fruit, sliced almonds and low-fat milk or alternative milk
Friday: A breakfast burrito with turkey sausage, diced peppers and tomatoes, shredded low-fat cheese, and salsa with 100 percent mango juice
Saturday: Low-fat yogurt with fruit and cereal
Sunday: Frozen whole-grain waffle, toasted and topped with low-fat ricotta cheese and sliced strawberries
More Breakfast Ideas
Preparing a healthful breakfast is easier than you might think. Here are some tips and ideas to get you started:
- Make mini loaves of pumpkin, apple, zucchini, or banana bread the night before, then serve with a breakfast smoothie.
- Set out your bowls and cereal at night and you’ll be one step closer to eating breakfast the next morning.
- Make a shopping list and purchase grab-and-go items at the grocery store, like individual cartons of pudding, fruit, applesauce, cottage cheese, raisins, oatmeal packets, string cheese, milk chugs, and granola bars.
- Buy bite-sized, whole-grain cereal.
- Keep whole-grain frozen waffles, bagels, and English muffins on hand.
- Make a yogurt parfait. Mix low-fat yogurt with crunchy granola, dried fruit, or nuts.
- Top a pudding snack pack with 1/2 sliced banana and granola for a breakfast banana split.
- Toast a waffle and top it with yogurt and a small sliced banana.
- Serve canned fruit like pears or peaches with cottage cheese.
- Eat leftovers from the night before.
- Create a breakfast smoothie.
- Have a fruit pizza for breakfast.
- Toast leftover pancakes and spread with peanut butter.
- Roll a tortilla wrap with diced avocados or low-fat shredded cheese.
- Stuff a pita pocket with fruit salad.
- Bake muffins or breakfast bars over the weekend or the night before. Freeze extras for future breakfasts.
- Create a nontraditional breakfast like a homemade veggie pizza.
- Take an apple and hard-boiled egg on the go with you.
Fuel up, start the day right, and give breakfast a chance!
Guest Post by Kindy Peaslee, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach for EverydayHealth.com and its calorie counter tool. Kindy loves creating family-friendly recipes at her personal nutrition site healthy-kid-recipes.com.
Editor’s Note: Want more healthy eating advice? Don’t miss 10 Healthy Eating Rules from Our Nutritionist.