It’s no fib that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, its name says it all – break the fast from what’s hopefully a night of blissful sleep. Eating breakfast replenishes your body’s glucose supplies, boosting energy and increasing alertness. Though not all breakfasts are created equal, you can make a few tweaks to your favorite breakfast to set yourself up for a successful day or try thinking outside the traditional breakfast box. Keep these six tips in mind as you build a better breakfast:
Focus on fiber. Eat fiber-rich carbohydrates to increase the nutritional quality of your breakfast. This can be as simple as switching to whole wheat toast, pancakes, and waffles or adding more oatmeal, muesli, and granola into your morning routine. If you like a hardy breakfast, try swapping white potatoes for sweet potatoes in your hash.
Add color for more nutrients. Bring your breakfast to life by incorporating produce. Mix and match a variety of colors such as spinach, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, avocados, mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini, asparagus, beets, and beans. Consider trying a breakfast salad loaded with vegetables and dressed with your favorite vinaigrette, poached egg optional.
Pair with lean protein. We’re not saying bacon and sausage cannot make an appearance in your breakfast but use them sparingly and focus on other forms of lean protein. Think outside the egg too and try a tofu scramble or include beans with your breakfast. If you are going for a lighter breakfast, top oats, muesli, or granola with nuts and nut butter or add dairy foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, or kefir into the mix.
Get a dose of healthy fat. It’s likely that your breakfast already contains some healthy fats, like egg yolk, nuts, or avocado. But if not, adding healthy fat is easy — simply swap your butter or pan spray for a splash of olive oil when cooking. Adding healthy fats to your diet will help you to feel fuller, while slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates.
Hydrate. Sixty percent of our body and seventy-three percent of our brain is water, so it’s important to stay hydrated for optimal brain and body function. Feeling sluggish and less alert is often associated with dehydration and drinking water first thing in the morning can replenish and rehydrate your body. Hot or cold, lemon or no lemon, drink your water any way you like it — the important thing is to just drink it.
Think beyond traditional breakfast foods. Don’t like cereal, eggs, waffles — that’s ok! Any food you prefer can be the right breakfast food for you. Try a sandwich or wrap, your favorite dinner leftovers, or even a salad. The important thing is to aim to get your day started with a meal that balances the nutrients above and will fuel you through the day.
And lastly, if time is an issue (and let’s face it, we’re all short on time in the morning), you don’t have to miss an opportunity to wake up to better health. Try freezing whole wheat and nut muffins and vegetable fritters, or making some homemade granola bars or overnight oats so they’re ready when you wake up.