Eating a healthy breakfast can really set the stage for healthier eating all day long. The right foods in the morning provides you with the energy you need to power through until lunch. And, with a healthy breakfast in your system, you’re less likely to experience mid-morning cravings for junk because you’ll feel satisfied and energised until your next meal or snack.
What is a good breakfast?
A good breakfast is a meal that achieves the following:
- Keeps you fueled until your next meal or snack. A well balanced breakfast should provide you with staying power. Protein helps to satisfy hunger, while high fibre foods help to fill you up.
- Supplies your body and brain with energy. In the morning, your body’s gas tank is running close to empty. When you eat the right breakfast, you provide your muscles and brain with the fuel they need for optimal performance.
- Helps avoid blood sugar swings and reduces cravings. A balanced meal that contains both protein and healthy carbohydrates can provide sustained energy throughout your system, and prevents wild swings in your blood sugar that trigger cravings for sweets and other junk food. However, this is only true if don’t have any medical issues regarding your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar.
- Helps you make better food choices throughout the day. Breakfast skippers often experience food cravings for sweets and fats that can persist throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, any cravings for sweets drop dramatically and if the breakfast is high in protein, it also reduces your cravings for salty, fatty foods. So, the right meal in the morning can reduce cravings for unhealthy foods later in the day, and steer you towards healthier choices in general.
- Provides enough protein to support muscle health. Enough protein in the morning not only helps satisfy hunger, it also maintains muscle health. For many people, typical daily meals tend to provide little protein at breakfast, a bit more at lunch, and a much larger amount at dinner. This is a pattern that may not provide the best conditions for building and repairing muscle tissue. Muscle protein synthesis can improve when protein intake is more evenly distributed throughout the day.
10 healthy breakfast ideas
Here are 10 healthy breakfast ideas that will get your day off to the right start:
- Cook fresh or frozen spinach in the microwave, and top with scrambled eggs or egg whites and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, with fresh fruit on the side.
- Protein shake made with protein powder, low-fat milk or soy milk and fruit.
- Plain low-fat yoghurt or cottage cheese topped with fresh fruit and cinnamon, or chopped raw vegetables and some fresh black pepper.
- Rolled oats prepared with milk or soy milk, with protein powder and fruit stirred in after cooking.
- Corn tortillas, heated and spread with black beans. Top with grated low-fat cheese and salsa, with fresh fruit.
- Whole grain toast spread with avocado and topped with slices of chicken breast. Serve with fresh fruit.
- Scramble extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled in a little olive oil with fresh vegetables and herbs, and a side of fresh fruit.
- Whole grain crackers spread with non-fat ricotta cheese, topped with sliced berries.
- A salmon patty on a toasted whole-grain English muffin with fresh fruit.
- Leftovers: whole grains, protein and veggies make a great breakfast.
Article supplied by Susan Bowerman, Senior Director Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife