When to Eat Breakfast
Science indicates that breakfast is the most important meal. After a long fast from food since dinner, your body requires fuel for energy to tackle mental and physical activities of the day. Have something small within an hour of waking up.
If you exercise in the morning, rise early enough to finish breakfast at least one hour before your workout. Eating or drinking carbohydrates before exercise can improve fitness performance and may allow longer, higher intensity workouts.
Satisfy Your Need For Breakfast
Eating breakfast signals to your body that there are plenty of calories for the day. When you skip breakfast, your body gets the message that it needs to conserve rather than burn any incoming calories. Various studies reveal disadvantages of skipping breakfast:
- More prone to obesity
- Less likely to consume enough fruit and vegetable
- More likely to eat unhealthy snacks
Avoid The Fake Breakfast Trap
Hollywood cinema often portrays breakfast as coffee with toast or pancakes. This can burn a subliminal message in your mind that this is appropriate—especially when in a hurry to get to morning appointments. The coffee is a diuretic that depletes fluids, and white-bread toast is a simple carbohydrate that quickly converts to glucose. With gobs of syrup and butter, pancakes are certainly no better.
Fast food restaurants cajole you with unhealthy choices by adding phrases like “meal deal.” Is it really a deal if there are no whole grains, fruit, protein, essential vitamins and minerals? Bagel, biscuit, sandwich bread, hash browns, and potato chips are the same food group. Major nutrition changes are more difficult than small ones. Accumulatively, they can add up to significant healthy rewards.
- High-fiber cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk or soy or rice milk substitute
- Low-fat protein shake with fresh or frozen fruit
- High-fiber toast or bagel with tablespoon of peanut butter
- Select protein bar and yogurt or a glass of milk
Building A Better Breakfast
Some cold cereals are high in fiber and low in sugar. However, many healthier breakfast options are available. Avoid sugary cereals that lack fiber and protein. As the most important meal, it should be balanced with all the major food groups in appropriate proportions. How might this look? Half a plate contains a cup of fruit and non-starchy vegetables; a quarter of your plate is protein; a quarter is whole grains. On the side is a cup of dairy or non-dairy substitute. At bare minimum, on days you cannot compose a balanced breakfast, consider vitamin supplements.
Fantastic Breakfast Ideas
- Savory oatmeal with an egg
- Quinoa fruit salad
- Tomato toast with macadamia ricotta
- Avocado toast with egg
- Egg breakfast muffins
- Sweet potato and black bean breakfast burrito
- Spinach and cheddar microwave quiche
- Smoothie bowls with yogurt, fruit and nuts
Your dining experience begins with your eyes. Bright colors suggest freshness. Processed food manufacturers recognizing this use colorful packaging and add artificial colors and preservatives. Endeavor to cook vibrant vegetables as little as possible to retain both nutrients and color. The crunch that remains is beneficial fiber to slow digestion, so you have a sense of fullness longer.
Vary your veggie choices to keep meals interesting. Buy fresh vegetables in season at their peak flavor. Stock up on frozen vegetables to sauté or to quickly steam (or microwave) meal sides. Vegetarians should focus on foods with protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.
Beans and peas are the mature forms of legumes. These foods are excellent sources of plant protein, and also provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc. Many people consider beans and peas as vegetarian alternatives for meat. However, they are also considered part of the vegetable group because they are excellent sources of dietary fiber and nutrients such as folate and potassium—nutrients also found in other vegetables.
You should also begin your daily intake of sufficient water. Beverages with caffeine do not count. In fact, an extra cup of water is required to offset each cup of caffeinated beverage. As you progress towards the goal of more complete meals, identify which days you can commit to having a homemade balanced breakfast. Is it Saturday morning or a few times during the week? Start with an obtainable goal. Once you reach that one, add another individual goal. Eventually, with proper fitness and nutrition, you should feel better.
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- Eating and exercise: 5 tips to maximize your workouts. mayoclinic.org
- The Science Behind Breakfast. rush.edu
- Breakfast: Is It the Most Important Meal? webmd.com
- 31 Healthy and Fast Breakfast Recipes for Busy Mornings greatist.com
- Beans and peas are unique foods. myplate.gov
- Enjoy Vegetarian Meals. choosemyplate.gov
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