Current research suggests breakfast, more than any other meal, benefits our health. Unfortunately, not enough of us are benefiting on a regular basis.
Current research suggests breakfast, more than any other meal, is an investment in good health. Unfortunately, it’s an investment not enough of us are making on a regular basis.
A recent cross-Canada survey, conducted in July 2006, showed that 40 percent of Canadians do not eat breakfast daily. Most of the survey participants cited lack of time as their reason for skipping the morning meal.
Preparing a nutritious breakfast needn’t be time-consuming though, and its health benefits certainly outweigh the minimal preparation required.
If you’re not convinced, consider this–a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2005 showed that people who eat breakfast daily have a significantly lower body weight than those who do not. Numerous other studies have demonstrated that children who eat breakfast do better scholastically than children who skip breakfast.
Because breakfast is so crucial to good health, it’s important to make smart food choices for this morning meal. Incorporate the following four steps into your breakfast preparation to ensure you get your day off to a healthy start.
Rule 1. Choose whole grains
Whole grains demonstrate amazing health benefits, including protection against diabetes, cancer, and stroke. And if you’ve been shunning whole-grain carbs in an effort to lose weight, think again. An intriguing new study showed that women who ate the most whole grains were slimmer than those who rarely consumed them.
Choosing whole grains for breakfast helps meet the recommended goal of eating three or more servings each day. Excellent breakfast choices include millet, quinoa, or amaranth porridge; granola; spelt muffins; whole-grain waffles; sprouted grain bread; oatmeal; or kasha.
Rule 2. Add lean protein
A study published in the Obesity Research Journal found that women who added lean protein to their breakfast felt less hungry during the next four hours than those who ate a breakfast without protein.
But protein isn’t just about weight management–it’s a part of every cell in your body and plays many different roles in keeping you healthy. No wonder nutritionists recommend we include protein at every meal, including breakfast. Good choices include organic low-fat dairy products, soy or hemp milk, organic turkey sausage, organic eggs, and protein powders or bars.
Rule 3. Include produce
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre, and disease-fighting antioxidants and should be part of every healthy breakfast. It’s easier to reach the recommended daily total of five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables when they’re part of regular meals and snacks all day long.
Breakfast gives you the perfect opportunity to get in at least one or two of those servings–perhaps in a veggie omelette or fruit smoothie. Or try topping that bowl of whole-grain cereal or yogourt with berries, or mixing your protein powder with carrot juice.
Rule 4. Add healthy fat
Your body needs fats to stay healthy. Dietary fats are not only essential for most metabolic functions, we also need them to help absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. It actually doesn’t take much fat to synthesize these vital nutrients–just a handful of nuts or a quarter of an avocado will do the trick.
Remember, though, to shun saturated fats in favour of healthy omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids. It’s as easy as topping your oatmeal with walnuts or adding flax oil to your protein shake.
The evidence is irrefutable: following this simple menu plan at breakfast is both easy and essential for optimal health.
Two Time-Saving Breakfasts
- Blend together 1 scoop (2 Tbsp or 30 mL) protein powder, 3/4 cup (185 mL) orange juice, 1 banana, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) wheat germ, and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) flaked coconut.
- In a parfait glass, layer 3/4 cup (185 mL) organic yogourt, 4 Tbsp (60 mL) granola, 1/2 cup (125 mL) berries, and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) walnuts.