A balanced breakfast can provide you with many health benefits throughout the day.
You’ve probably heard people say, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” countless times throughout your life. But why do people say this so often? Does breakfast really matter? Is it as important as people say it is? The short answer is yes. A balanced breakfast can provide you with many health benefits throughout the day.
Learn more about the importance of a healthy breakfast and check out some quick and delicious recipes to try.
Why Does Breakfast Matter?
Not everyone likes the idea of eating right when they wake up. Not everyone has a schedule that allows time for a sit-down breakfast in the morning. So why can’t we just skip it? There are a lot of potential health benefits you can get from starting your day with a healthy breakfast:
- Give yourself the energy to start your day. With the right mix of foods, you can give yourself a boost in energy and set yourself on the right path for the rest of the day.
- Stay focused. Studies show that a healthy breakfast can improve your memory, cognitive ability and attention span.
- Control your appetite and eating as the day goes on. Eating a healthy, filling breakfast may help you avoid overeating later in the day or making poor food choices when you’re really hungry. For example, eating a breakfast that contains fiber and protein can keep you feeling full and energetic all day long.
- Reduce your risk for several health conditions. Research shows that people who regularly consume breakfast also have a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and stroke.
What Should Breakfast Look Like?
Breakfast doesn’t have to be a huge meal and it doesn’t have to be complicated. But it should contain a mix of healthy nutrients, such as whole grains, protein, healthy fats and fiber.
- Try to avoid sugar-filled breakfasts. Many breakfast foods don’t give your body what it needs in the morning. Pastries, donuts and sugary cereals do not provide you with a healthy mix of nutrients. Instead, they fill you up with unhealthy sugars and fats. Even breakfast foods like pancakes and waffles don’t offer you all of the nutrients you need. Check out some of the recipes below for some quick and easy healthy breakfast ideas.
- Prepare ahead of time. If your mornings are hectic and you find yourself skipping breakfast or grabbing a donut on the way to work, try preparing your breakfast the night before. Cut up some fruit ahead of time to throw on top of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. Slice and store some veggies to throw into an omelet. Measure out your smoothie ingredients and place them in a bag in the freezer. Check out the recipes for overnight oats and egg muffins listed below for two easy make-ahead breakfast ideas.
What Breakfast Recipes Should I Try?
The great thing about healthy breakfasts is that once you learn a little bit about what nutrients you need to include, there are endless combinations to create. For example, if you start with eggs for your protein source, you can add new vegetables and cook them in different ways. If you like Greek yogurt, you can add different toppings each day, such as fruit, nuts, dried fruits, seeds and more. If you enjoy whole grain toast, you can add fruit or veggie slices, avocado, peanut butter or another nut butter to mix up the flavors. Here are some recipes you might like to try:
Berry-Vanilla Overnight Oats – This recipe can be made ahead of time and is low in saturated fat and high in protein and fiber. You can make large batches to use throughout the week.
Berry-Yogurt Protein Bowls – This is a quick and easy recipe that’s high in fiber and protein and can be easily modified to make it work for you.
Spinach Egg Bites – This recipe makes 12 egg bites using a muffin tin, so you have a week’s worth of healthy breakfasts ready to go.
Banana Oatmeal Protein Pancakes – If you’re craving traditional pancakes, give this recipe a try. It uses bananas, oats and eggs to give you more of the nutrients you need
Check out the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthy Teaching program for more healthy breakfast recipes. You can also get advice from VA’s registered dietician nutritionists. They can help you create a personal nutrition plan that fits with your health and wellness goals.
Reap the benefits of a healthy breakfast and get a good start to each day!