assorted healthy breakfast foods

What’s for breakfast? If your morning meal looks anything like Buddy the Elf’s favorite dish, it’s time to pick some healthier options.

In the movie Elf, Buddy (played by Will Ferrell), piles a plate with spaghetti for breakfast. Then he tops it with marshmallows, sugary candy, maple syrup, chocolate sauce, and pastries.

Not exactly healthy, right? Maybe you should just skip breakfast.

That may not be the best option either, according to the American Heart Association. (1)

The trouble with skipping breakfast

An estimated 25 percent of people in the U.S. skip breakfast regularly. (2)

Many who bypass the morning meal do so because they’re running late. Some forgo breakfast because they think it will help control calories or support weight loss.

But research shows skipping breakfast is associated with:

  • Higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure
  • Eating snacks and drinks high in sugar and sodium later in the day
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Lack of energy, or feeling of fatigue and tiredness
  • Depression
  • Increased levels of stress and irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lack of exercise

4 reasons to make breakfast healthy

If you regularly skip breakfast, or you start the day with donuts, fast food, sugary coffee drinks or a heaping pile of pancakes with syrup, now is always a good time to make a change.

Hungry for better health? Check out these four reasons to start your day with a healthy breakfast:

1. Prevent weight gain

In the National Weight Control Registry, 78 percent of the 3,000 people who lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off for a year said they ate breakfast every day. (3)

Plus, people who skip breakfast are 55 percent more likely to be overweight or obese.

2. Control blood sugar levels

If you don’t have diabetes, you probably know someone who does. About 34 million people have type 2 diabetes. About 96 million have prediabetes.

Left unchecked, it can lead to poor circulation, heart disease, stroke, obesity, blindness, amputations, and early death.

Research shows eating a healthy breakfast can help prevent or control diabetes and regulate blood sugar levels. (4)

3. Lower cholesterol

Want to avoid a heart attack caused by blocked arteries? Keep your cholesterol under control.

In a recent study, researchers found that eating whole-grain oats daily helped lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol. (5)

4. Improve brain function

Want to start the day out right? Need help staying alert and engaged during that morning meeting? Start with breakfast. Research shows eating a healthy breakfast can have a positive impact on mood, memory, creativity, decision-making, and attention. (6)

10 healthy-breakfast ideas for busy people

If you’re among the millions who rush out the door without breakfast, or you’re inclined to go for pastries and sweets to start your day, you need a better breakfast plan.

Put these 10 fast & healthy breakfast ideas on your menu:

  1. The 3-Way: A banana, a handful of pecans, and low-fat yogurt.
  2. Whole-Grain Sweetness: Whole-grain cereal sprinkled with berries and slivered almonds.
  3. Yogi Surprise: Low-fat yogurt mixed with fruit and whole-grain granola.
  4. Egg + 2: Egg whites or egg substitute served with fresh fruit and whole-grain toast.
  5. Fruit-Blender Fun: A fruit smoothie made with frozen berries, banana, and ice.
  6. The Whole Spread: Whole-grain toast topped with peanut butter, avocado, or low-fat cream cheese.
  7. Smooth Move: A strawberry, melon, and yogurt smoothie with flaxseed.
  8. Healthy Double Trouble: Fruit salad and a whole-grain muffin.
  9. Oat That’s Sweet: Steel-cut oats with berries.
  10. Wrap It Up: Breakfast burrito (fill a whole-wheat tortilla with sautéed onions, peppers, mushrooms, yams, and tomatoes seasoned with garlic and thyme).

Eating a healthy breakfast isn’t hard. But you do need to do a little work to make it happen.

  • Make a shopping list of healthy breakfast foods that you like.
  • Go to the store to stock up on everything you need.

When you wake up in the morning, put together a healthy breakfast and be on your way. It’s that easy.

Sources

  1. American Heart Association. (2017). How to make breakfast a healthy habit. From: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/how-to-make-breakfast-a-healthy-habit
  2. Pengpid, S., et al. (2020). Skipping breakfast and its association with health risk behavior and mental health among university students in 28 countries. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity. Targets and Therapy, 13:2889-2897. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7443458/
  3. Dow, C. (2015). Breakfast consumption and weight loss. American Society for Nutrition. From: https://nutrition.org/breakfast-consumption-weight-loss/
  4. Jakubowicz, D., et al. (2015). High-energy breakfast with low-energy dinner decreases overall daily hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetic patients: A randomized clinical trial. Dibetologia, 58(5):912-919. From: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-015-3524-9?sv1
  5. Hollaender, P., et al. (2015). Whole-grain and blood lipid changes in apparently healthy adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(3):556-278. From: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002916523126955?via%3Dihub
  6. Tang, Z., et al. (2017). The effects of breakfast on short-term cognitive function among Chinese white-collar workers: protocol for a three-phase crossover study. BMC Public Health. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241917/

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