Today is National Breakfast Day part of National Breakfast Week. I know, you’ve heard it before – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But let’s be realistic. Schedules are busy, kids need to get to school on time and you are running late for work – at least that’s what happens in my house. I know the drill. Do any of these sound familiar?
- I don’t have enough time…
- I’m not hungry…
- I don’t like breakfast food…
The number one reason I would encourage you to eat breakfast? Energy. Ever feel that mid-morning slump, overly tired in the morning or the lack of get-up-and-go? Your body needs fuel and that comes from breakfast. Breakfast provides essential nutrients your body needs. Number two reason? So you don’t overeat later on in the day. Studies show that skipping breakfast leads to overconsumption of calories later on in the day because your body is starving from lack of nutrients! And what happens with a trend of overeating? Overweight. In fact, studies of successful people who have lost weight and kept it off name eating breakfast as one of their top four strategies for maintaining that new weight.
I know I could not get through my day without eating breakfast and it starts with a balanced one. To create a MyPlate breakfast, include at least three food groups in the meal including a serving of dairy for bone-building calcium and satisfying protein.
But that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Here’s my five favorites in the morning:
Five Breakfasts in Five Minutes
- Low-fat yogurt (Greek yogurt will have twice the protein) with blueberries and granola
- Blend a smoothie with strawberries, banana, low-fat yogurt and milk (do this the night before if mornings are a hurry and store in the refrigerator)
- Breakfast sammie – in a whole grain pita bread, layer a slice of cheese, 1 ounce of ham and a handful of spinach. Microwave to melt the cheese.
- Breakfast quesadilla with reduced-fat, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced apples inside a whole grain tortilla. Just microwave to melt the cheese and serve with a glass of milk.
- Breakfast-in-a-bag by combining shredded wheat, raisins and almonds in a resealable bag. Out the door you go.
If you are not waking up hungry, then start small. Try one to two food groups (like an apple and peanut butter or yogurt and an orange) at first to get your body used to eating breakfast. You can always add more to it as time goes on or just plan for a mid-morning snack to make up the difference.
And what if you don’t like breakfast food? Well, no one is limiting you to just that? I am often eating last night’s leftovers with a glass of milk. And those leftovers tend to have a vegetable, whole grain and protein in them (think casserole or chili). Don’t ask me why – I love to eat that kind of stuff in the morning!
And here is another quick favorite that you can take on-the-go in a mug out the door.
Berry Good Oatmeal
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
- 1/2 cup oatmeal (old-fashioned, quick-cooking or even oat bran will do)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 1/4 cup sliced strawberries
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (I keep a bag of these in the freezer at all times)
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (reduced-sugar dried cranberries are a great option)
- 1 tablespoon low-fat strawberry Greek yogurt
- Combine milk, oatmeal, brown sugar and cinnamon into a large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Stir, add an additional minute if necessary (if liquid isn’t completely absorbed).
- Top with strawberries, walnuts and cranberries. Serve with a dollop of low-fat strawberry Greek yogurt.
Share your favorite breakfast that includes at least three food groups from MyPlate!