by Julie Wilson, RD, LDN, School of Public Health
I’m sure you’ve heard it many times, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” But who actually knows why? Impress your roommates at the breakfast table with these healthful facts and tips to making the most of your morning meal.
Why is breakfast the most important meal of the day?
- Eating breakfast prevents you from getting too hungry later in the day when it is hard to resist unhealthy cravings.
- Eating breakfast can help you think more clearly, improve your productivity, and improve your problem solving skills.
- Eating breakfast can give you more strength and energy to engage in morning exercise.
- Breakfast is a crucial meal-time that helps you achieve a more complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
What makes up a healthy breakfast?
The Breakfast Equation = WATER + FIBER + PROTEIN
First thing in the morning, drink a large glass of water. Your body has been busy metabolizing and detoxing while you were sleeping and is likely dehydrated. Next, break your nighttime fast with a meal. Eating within the first hour of waking will jump start your metabolism and help you burn more calories throughout the day without even thinking about it. When choosing your meal, avoid refined carbohydrates which digest quickly and will leave you sluggish and hungry for more. By pairing slow-digesting fiber with satisfying protein, your breakfast will fill you up and keep you energized longer. In addition, you will be better prepared to make healthier decisions later on in the day!
What foods have Fiber and Protein?
Healthy Foods High in Fiber: Oatmeal, Grits, Granola Whole-Grain Waffles, Whole-Grain Toast, Whole-Grain English Muffins, Bran Muffins, Fruits (fresh, frozen, or dried), Vegetables, and Beans.
Healthy Foods High in Protein: Eggs and Egg, Substitutes, Low-Fat Milk, Low-Fat Cheese, Canadian or Turkey Bacon, Almonds, Walnuts, Seeds, Peanut Butter, Tofu, Beans, and Yogurt
Eat These Power Breakfasts!
Oatmeal with Skim Milk, Dried Raisins, and Almonds
Hard Boiled Egg with an Apple on the side
Yogurt, Berries, and unsweetened Granola
Whole Grain Toast with Peanut Butter and Banana
Fruit and Nut Granola Bar and a Cheese Stick
Cheerios® with Skim Milk and Blueberries
Wheat Pancakes with Yogurt and Cinnamon
Yogurt, Fruit, Skim Milk, and Ice Smoothie
Vegetable, Egg, and Cheese Omelet
Banana, Peanut Butter, and Skim Milk Smoothie
When possible, steer clear of “breakfast foods” that are high in sugar and low in fiber and protein, such as pastries, doughnuts, and sugary cereals.
Remember! You do not have to eat traditional “breakfast foods” for breakfast. Any combination of fiber and protein will do the trick!
Like what you read? Look forward to future blogs from registered dietitian Julie Wilson RD LDN, a graduate level student at UM School of Public Health in the department of Health Behavior and Health Education.