Do you find yourself regularly foraging for snacks soon after unhealthy snacking eating breakfast? Do you often crave doughnuts and other sweets at 10 a.m.? If you are in a cycle of insatiable hunger and sugar crashes every morning, boosting your breakfast may keep you full, energized, and out of the cookie jar before lunchtime.
Eating a well-balanced and filling breakfast is a great recommendation, but the advice often stops there, leaving you to wonder: what makes up a sustaining breakfast?
The answer is a simple formula of three essentials the body needs at the beginning of the day. With these fundamental nutrients (and a little creativity), you can boost your breakfast from a meagre bowl of highly sweetened cereal to a bountiful variety of healthful foods that work together advantageously.
First, you’re going to need some protein…
Protein provides the body with energy and keeps your stomach feeling full and satisfied. Who can find this breakfast essential in a wide variety of foods, including lean cuts of poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts and nut butter? Replace unhealthy snacking spreads, such as cream cheese, butter, and jam, with natural peanut butter for extra protein.
Add a little fat…
Fat (an essential for sustaining energy) is available in many breakfast choices, but low-fat dairy is the easiest source of fat to incorporate into a breakfast menu. Only a small amount of fat is needed. Low-fat shredded cheddar cheese mixed into scrambled eggs, skim milk in a bowl of low-sugar cereal, and unsweetened yoghurt blended into a fruit smoothie are regular examples of the simplicity of adding a little fat to your morning meal.
And combine with complex carbohydrates.
Though you can get complex carbohydrates from skim milk and nuts, adding whole grains and certain fruits and vegetables will round out your breakfast and produce long-lasting energy. Simple carbohydrates, found in, for example, cinnamon rolls and toaster pastries, give you an intense burst of energy, but that energy depletes quickly, making your body plunge into an unpleasant sugar crash soon after consumption.
You can choose from various whole-grain options, from classic oatmeal to breakfast favourites, such as bagels, waffles, and English muffins (one of the main ingredients has to be whole grain). Fruit, like strawberries and apples, contain complex carbohydrates and are excellent for sweetening whole grains. Spinach and onions can be chopped and added to protein-rich scrambled eggs.
Putting these three components together for a meal is easy and, surprisingly, quick. The following four recipe ideas inspire you to create breakfasts that work for you.
- Adult and Kid-Friendly Toast one whole-grain waffle and liberally spread with natural peanut butter. Top with sliced banana and serve with low-sugar cereal, skim milk, and dried strawberries.
- Upgraded Breakfast Burrito Chop and sauté mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers, and spinach and add to two scrambled eggs. Top with shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese. Stuff scrambled eggs into a whole-grain tortilla and add desired fillings–fresh salsa, black beans, or a dash of hot sauce.
- Light but Just as Effective Mix a small handful of fresh blueberries, low-sugar cereal, and an optional drizzle of real maple syrup into one serving of unsweetened, plain yoghurt. Add a slice of whole-grain toast smeared with almond butter on the side.
- Fast-Food Copycat Split a whole-grain English muffin and cover one side with a slice of low-fat cheddar cheese. Toast in an oven until cheese is starting to melt. In the meantime, fry (in a healthful oil), bake, or poach one egg and add to the cheese-covered side of the muffin. Continue to build your egg muffin sandwich to your liking, whether it’s adding sliced turkey breast, cooked spinach, or a few shakes of hot sauce.
Using these ideas, swap ingredients where you see fit. As long as you keep the formula in mind, you can kick the 10 a.m. cookie and chips habit and still have energy and a satisfied stomach until lunchtime.