Health Matters – Breakfast: Off to a Good Start

What does your breakfast look like in the mornings? Is it a carefully prepared meal?or non-existent? Or perhaps it varies, a hurried affair on weekdays but a leisurely one on the weekend. For some of us, giving breakfast the short shrift is a result of a rushed morning. For others, It’s a deliberate skip That’s part of our weight loss plan.

Whatever your situation, though, It’s important to start your day out right with a healthy breakfast. Breakfast essentially ?breaks the fast? from your last meal of the night before, giving your body an energy boost when it needs it most. Food in the morning offers your brain adequate glucose for proper functioning; a good, balanced breakfast also gives essential nutrients and protein, the latter of which is important for cellular repair.

To help you give your day the nutritional boost it needs, here are some quick, easy, and healthy breakfast ideas.

Breakfasting well

If You’re a fan of cereal for breakfast, steer clear of boxed, sugar-packed cereals. Although at first you’ll feel energized with the sugar rush, this energy is temporary, leaving you feeling deflated once you arrive at the office. Instead, opt for fresh-cooked oatmeal porridge or cold cereals and granolas with high fibre content and little or no added sugar. To make porridge more exciting, try adding raisins while cooking, or garnish with chopped almonds and a drizzle of raw honey.

Another light breakfast option is fresh fruit served alongside a protein (like Greek yogurt). Whole grain toast spread with nut butter is a good choice, too.

Or you might choose an egg breakfast; if cooked without a lot of fat or cheese, eggs are indeed healthy. they’re an excellent source of protein, and the yolk contains B vitamins. For variations, experiment with different preparations (poached, scrambled, over easy) and sides (toast, cottage cheese, whole grain muffins, or fruit). If You’re vegan, consider a tofu scramble, which cooks up quite quickly if you have the add-ins prepared.

In a hurry? If you have a blender or shaker, you can whiz up a healthy shake in two minutes. Add a cup of milk (any type, including almond, soy, or rice), half a banana (fresh or frozen), and a handful of berries. You can also drop in a tablespoon of pre-ground flax seed (although this will thicken your shake if you let it sit too long). Some people like to add powdered multivitamins (available at a health food store), their daily dose of liquid multivitamin, or protein powder. Be wary of shake mixes that are loaded with extra sugars.

Snack attack

If a light breakfast is your preference, you may experience mid-morning hunger pangs or cravings. Be prepared with a healthy snack so that you don’t need to avail yourself of junk food from the vending machine. Yogurt offers a calcium boost and a small shot of protein to help your blood sugar stabilize until lunchtime. Try looking for yogurt that doesn’t contain extra ingredients like cornstarch and flavouring; the health benefits of yogurt are derived mostly from the bacterial culture (probiotic) and the milk It’s cultured in.

Or give your brain a boost with a handful of nuts; nuts like walnuts and cashews are full of EFAs, the ?good fats? you hear so much about. EFAs are also helpful for alleviating dry skin, which is a benefit if your environment is dry. A caution: while nuts are healthy, they are high in calories and should be eaten in moderation. A handful is adequate.

If You’re a ?crackers and cheese? person, try substituting a piece of crispy flatbread (which contains less fat than crackers and often is made from alternative grains like spelt) topped with almond, cashew, or peanut butter.

But what about the calories?

Concerned about calories? Although skipping breakfast can make you feel in control of your daily calorie count, It’s not the ideal for weight loss. In fact, eliminating a key meal like breakfast can put your day off to a sluggish start, meaning that you’ll be working less effectively and with less energy all day. In fact, early-morning activities set your metabolism for the rest of the day, so skipping breakfast may actually interfere with your ability to burn calories.

If mornings are sluggish and difficult for you, considering renovating your breakfast and morning snack routine. You may just find a boost to brain power and energy!

Katie D?Souza is an AU graduate and a licensed naturopathic doctor. She currently practices in Ontario.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for personal interest only; it is not intended for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. Readers are always encouraged to seek the professional advice of a licensed physician or qualified health care practitioner for personal health or medical conditions.

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