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This September is breakfast month

For many people, breakfast is a low priority. If you think you are saving time or cutting calories by skipping breakfast, think again.

By making a healthy breakfast a part of your morning routine, you can be on track for making healthier food choices throughout the day, increase your physical activity and help curb the desire to overindulge on convenience foods and overeat at lunch. Consider these tips on making breakfast a priority at your house.

Start with “powerful protein.” Research shows that including protein at your morning meal may help keep you energized and going strong for the day and stay focused until lunch time. Choose lean protein foods such as a slice or two of Canadian bacon, an egg, a slice of deli meat or low fat cheese, a container of low fat yogurt or peanut butter on toast. Think outside the breakfast box. Try microwaving a quesadilla on a whole wheat tortilla with black beans or enjoy a scrambled egg with chopped vegetables and shredded low fat cheese.

Include nutrient-rich whole grains. Whole grains provide you with more fiber and nutrients that tend to digest slower for longer lasting energy. Carbohydrates can help to “energize” your body and your brain. Serve whole grains like oatmeal, whole wheat breads or mini bagels, whole grain muffins, waffles or pancakes to help you and your family awaken and prepare for another busy day.

Add fresh fruits and vegetables. Choose fresh fruit like bananas, kiwi, pears, apples, mangoes, melon, grapefruit or whatever happens to be in season at the time. Canned fruits (pineapple or mandarin oranges) and frozen fruits (blueberries and strawberries) work well in parfaits and smoothies. And, you could try chopped vegetables in an omelet or a glass of vegetable juice.

Make it your routine.Plan ahead to eat breakfast. Here are three ways to make the morning go smoother when you are trying to start the breakfast routine for you and your family:

Get organized the night before. Make your breakfast plan when you are cleaning up from dinner. Set the table for the next morning. Do some advance prep such as chopping fruit or vegetables for the smoothie or omelet. Prepare muffin or pancake mix ahead of time so it is ready to cook in the morning.

Keep it simple. Breakfast does not have to be anything fancy. A simple bowl of whole grain cereal, low fat milk and fruit works. Or try a slice of leftover pizza and a glass of fruit juice. A peanut butter sandwich and a banana is another option.

Pack your breakfast to go. If there’s no time to eat at home, plan a nutritious breakfast you can eat in the car or on the bus.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that those who eat a healthy breakfast are more apt to have better concentration, alertness, creativity, miss fewer days of school or work and be more active. Those are all great reasons to start your day with breakfast!

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