Breakfast is important, not just as the first food of the day. Studies have found that when you eat breakfast, you are less likely to be obese or develop diabetes, and that what you eat for breakfast influences your food choices all day.
Eating breakfast every day is a single action that can have a huge positive effect on your health. But a healthier breakfast that provides the energy you need is best.
1) Watch your portions. The three parts to a good breakfast are a serving of whole grains, a serving of dairy or other calcium-rich food, and a serving of fruit. For example, you could have a bowl of multigrain cereal with strawberries and low-fat milk. A breakfast like this totals about 300 calories. A serving of high-protein food, like a meat serving or one egg, is not needed, but is okay if it doesn’t add a lot of extra fat or calories.
2) Try a bowl of brown rice in place of processed cereal. Brown rice is packed with B vitamins and fiber. Cook the rice a day ahead. In the morning, spoon it into a bowl with honey, cinnamon, raisins, and a diced apple. You could also try barley, rye, millet, or other grains.
3) Make a smoothie in the blender with a cup of strawberries, a banana, a cup of crushed ice, and protein powder. Add a cup of yogurt to this antioxidant-rich concoction for some calcium. Plus, you’ve taken care of three daily servings of fruit.
4) Organic eggs cost only slightly more than regular eggs, and they contain significantly more omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 benefits include lowering your risk of depression, as well as avoiding heart and circulatory problems.
5) Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to cereal, yogurt, eggs, or your smoothie. Along with organic eggs and fish, flaxseed is one of the best omega-3 sources.
6) Instead of butter, use a soft spread made with plant stanols. Using only 2 tablespoons each day significantly lowers total cholesterol.
7) Have your toast with 2 tablespoons of tuna fish instead of butter, as a source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein. Or try smoked salmon or lox.
8 ) Put a whole-wheat burrito and 2 ounces of grated low-fat cheddar into the broiler for three minutes. Have an orange as well, and this breakfast provides you with vitamin C, calcium, fiber, and plenty of protein.
9) Make granola yourself, without the fat and sugar of granola from the store. Combine 2 cups of rolled oats and a cup of dried fruit and seeds with a pinch of brown sugar. Toast this mixture in a warm oven for 3-5 minutes. Keep it in an airtight container.
10) Studies have found that people who eat high-fiber cereal have less fat in their breakfast and in their diet.
11) Eating half a grapefruit twice a week provides folate, which cuts your risk for a stroke. But grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interact with some medicines, so consult your doctor first.
12) Start your day with green tea, which has both heart-health and weight-loss effects.
13) Try soy milk on your cereal. The phytoestrogens in soy milk protect your heart and strengthen your bones. Use soy milk that’s been fortified with calcium.
14) Have a “build-your-own” breakfast event. Let everyone mix, match, top, and select from a variety of sliced fruits, yogurt, whole-grain cereals, and whole grain pancakes, waffles, or toast.
15) Take your vitamins and other supplements with your breakfast. Taking them with food lessens the chance they may upset your stomach, and helps you to absorb mineral nutrients.
16) Slice an apple and put peanut butter on the slices. The peanut butter gives you protein and fat to start your day. The apple, with its quercitin, gives you fiber, helps protect your heart, and guards against certain cancers.
17) Make a breakfast sandwich out of a whole-wheat English muffin, a sliced boiled egg, a slice of tomato, and some melted low-fat cheese, such as part-skim mozzarella.
18) Pound some cold cereal inside a plastic bag. Roll a peeled banana in it for a quick breakfast, featuring potassium to reduce stroke risk.
19) Use vegetarian breakfast meats – veggie burgers, soy crumbles, or soy sausage – for lots of protein, but no saturated fat.
20) A half cup of blueberries added to cereal will provide antioxidants that help keep your brain from aging. Or, add them to pancakes or waffles.
21) Have three cups of orange juice in the morning. In one study, participants who drank three glasses of orange juice every day for four weeks elevated their “good” HDL cholesterol levels by 21%. If you don’t want to drink that much OJ at once, two oranges are the equivalent. For juice, the calcium-fortified kind is best.
22) Three times per week, have a bowl of sliced strawberries for the vitamin C. Vitamin C helps protect your eyes from developing cataracts, among many benefits, and it’s best to get your C from foods rather than supplements. Strawberries also contain many other antioxidants, have few calories, and have a low glycemic index to avoid blood sugar spikes.
23) Make a smoothie with 2 kiwifruits. According to a British study, every ounce of vitamin C-rich kiwi you consume daily lowers your risk of dying prematurely by 10%.
24) Make sure your breakfast provides 5 grams of fiber. This will help you to reach the daily recommended goal of 15-25 grams for every 1000 calories in your diet. Fiber fills you up without filling you with calories. Ways to incorporate five grams of fiber could be by having one larger raw apple, a half cup of high-fiber cereal, or two slices of a whole-grain dark rye bread.
25) Top a whole-grain bagel or toast with nonfat cottage cheese and flaxseed, or with a slice of fruit with a slice of low-fat cheese melted over it. Or, try soy butter and banana slices, or a slice of baked ham with tomato slices.
26) An ounce of dark chocolate shaved into a cup of nonfat yogurt provides calcium to help you shed pounds. Meanwhile, the antioxidants in the dark chocolate help to clear the “bad” LDL cholesterol out of your blood vessels.
More ideas at Healthy Cooking Recipes