“The alarm clock has rang, the shower has washed the sleep from your eyes, and you have chosen your clothes for the day. Are you going to dash off to work without breakfast?” asks Romi Pattison, Registered Dietitian at Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital. “You have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it is true! When was the last time you ate? Did you eat dinner at 6 p.m. the previous evening, and your body is running on fumes?”
Our bodies need fuel to function properly and not eating until lunch leads to feeling sluggish, irritable, and having difficulty concentrating. Eating a healthy breakfast jump-starts your metabolism and helps you concentrate at work. A nutritious breakfast is essential for children and teenagers to give them the energy to concentrate and focus on their studies at school.
It’s a common misperception that skipping meals is a good way to lose weight when actually, studies show that people that eat breakfast tend to maintain a healthier weight than those that regularly skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast leads to overeating at lunch and throughout the day to compensate for the calories you missed.
A healthy breakfast should include whole grains, fiber, protein, and fruit. Keeping breakfast simple makes it easier to fit into a family’s busy schedule. Here are some fast, healthy breakfast ideas to start the day and keep you going until lunch:
- Oatmeal: Instant or homemade oatmeal contains fiber to help you feel satisfied longer. Garnish with almond slivers, fresh or dried fruit, or cinnamon.
- Cold cereal: Set your bowl, spoon and cereal box out the night before to make it even faster to enjoy a bowl of fiber-rich bran flakes with low-fat milk. Make it portable by replacing the milk with yogurt and mixing it in a to-go container. Increase the fiber and vitamins by adding nuts or fresh or dried fruit, such as chopped pecans or blueberries.
- Fruit and yogurt parfaits: Mix fruit and yogurt and top with granola for little to no preparation time. Your body will utilize the protein, fiber and antioxidants to keep you full and healthy.
- Eggs: Cook them in the microwave for a quick egg sandwich, muffin, or burrito with cheese, lean ham, and vegetables. Make it a to-go breakfast by wrapping it in foil. Spray a microwave safe bowl with nonstick cooking spray, crack eggs into a microwave safe bowl, whisk until scrambled, and microwave for one minute per egg. Use a fork to fluff eggs and make sure they’re fully cooked. Hard boiled eggs make an easy sandwich as well.
- Muffins: A large batch of bran muffins can be baked and frozen for a quick grab-n-go breakfast. Enjoy with peanut butter or a piece of fruit. Waffles and pancakes can be made ahead of time and frozen too.
- Whole wheat toast: A delicious slice of wheat bread can be toasted and topped with peanut butter, a banana or apple slices, cheese and tomato, or other combinations.
- Fruit smoothie: Fresh or frozen fruit make terrific smoothies. Add yogurt or milk for a protein boost, or your favorite fruit juice and blend to make a healthy smoothie. Enjoy with trail mix or toast topped with peanut butter.
Romi Pattison adds, “For more information on making healthy food choices, call us at Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital’s Nutrition Services Department for a one-on-one consultation. We may be reached at 608-357-2000.”