You may have heard before that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why is that? The Fit team chatted with a registered dietitian to learn about the ins and outs of breakfast.
Why does breakfast matter and what does it do for your body?
Breakfast is the first opportunity that our bodies have to fuel up again after going all night without any food. That’s why it’s called “breakfast” – breaking the fast!
Just like you fill up your car with gas to drive it, we need to eat breakfast in the morning so that we can start the day off with energy. Our bodies use energy in the form of blood glucose. When we wake up in the morning, our blood glucose is typically low. When we eat breakfast, we allow our blood glucose to rise and provide energy to our cells.
Expert tip: Try to incorporate protein, fat, and a carbohydrate with some fiber in your breakfast to make sure you (and your child) are satisfied and ready to conquer the day.
Do you have any advice for people who struggle to make time for breakfast?
While breakfast is important, it can also be a challenge to incorporate this meal when your morning is rushed.
You can try prepping components of breakfast one day a week and grab and go for the rest of the week (hard-boiled eggs, muffins, egg cups, etc).
Expert tip: It’s OK to incorporate convenience into your breakfast routines.
What are some points on nutrition labels that you can look for when you don’t have a lot of time for breakfast?
When searching for quick items to serve for breakfast, remember to try and pair a protein with either a carb and/or fat. It doesn’t need to be complex!
Something as easy as a piece of wholewheat toast with peanut butter and bananas will provide protein, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates.
Expert tip: Make it simple, offer choices to your kids, and focus on small things you can do to offer balanced and easy breakfasts.
Looking for a few easy, quick, and nutritious breakfast ideas? Check these out:
- Cottage cheese and berries. Opt for cottage cheese and milk with some percentage of fat so that you can be sure this isn’t a “fat free” breakfast. Kids need fat to feel full and it’s also very important for their brain development.
- Easy parfaits. Grab Greek yogurt, peanut butter, banana or other fruit, and whole grain granola. Feel free to add cocoa powder or a little honey. This breakfast is easy, fun to make with kids, and provides a winning combo of protein, fat, carbs, and fiber.
- Breakfast smoothie. Use a blender to combine ½ cup Greek yogurt, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 banana, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon honey and a handful of spinach (if you choose) with ice until the mixture has reached your desired texture.
- Homemade energy balls + a glass of milk. Combine 2 cups old fashioned oats, ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup of honey, dash of cinnamon and ½ cup dark chocolate chips. Mix to combine, refrigerate the mixture for 15 minutes or until the mixture is firm, then portion into 1–2-inch balls.
- Overnight oats. In a jar, combine ½ cup of old-fashioned oats with ½ cup of fruit (fresh or frozen) and ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt. Add 1 Tbsp nut butter and 1 Tbsp chia or flax seeds with cinnamon, honey to taste, a splash of lemon juice, and water to fill up the jar. Let sit overnight, top with more fruit/nuts when serving. Oats are great for a quick and delicious breakfast or even an on-the-go energy boost.
- Eggs and toast. Make hard-boiled eggs with whole wheat grain toast. Add nut butter or fruit to top off the toast.
- More cheese, please. Grab a cheese stick, along with a low sugar muffin, and some fruit to make a well-rounded breakfast! Adding protein to a favorite carbohydrate can help your child feel fuller throughout the morning.
- Breakfast burritos. Scramble up some eggs and place them in a whole grain tortilla shell. Top with cheese and other toppings of your choice such as salsa or sour cream. Feel free to add more flavor and protein by including your favorite meat such as ham, steak, ground beef or ground turkey.
- Apple cookies. Slice apples into thin rings and remove the core. Top apple rings with nut butter, dark chocolate chips, and whole grain granola to make a fun but nutritious apple cookie. Pair these cookies with a glass of milk for some extra protein and dairy.
- Banana and nut butter roll up. Lay a whole grain tortilla shell flat and spread a layer of nut butter. Top off the tortilla shell with thinly sliced banana pieces, roll up like a burrito, and enjoy.
Hungry for more? You might also like: