When you’re running late to class and facing the unavoidable Houston traffic, it’s tempting to skip breakfast or (worse!) to grab the nearest, often unhealthy option.
But there’s truth to the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What you eat in the morning affects how you feel all day, and research shows that eating a healthy, filling breakfast makes you more likely to choose healthier options for other meals, too.
Here are a few tips for you to eat the breakfast of champions and start your day off in the best way.
Avoid Refined Sugars
Too much sugar in the morning can make you crash before lunch and crave sweets throughout the day. Instead of pouring a bowl of your favorite sugary cereal, use fruit (aka nature’s candy) to naturally sweeten your breakfast. Try mixing some banana slices into whole grain cereal or top off waffles with strawberries and blueberries. The natural sugars will satisfy your sweet tooth without leaving you feeling sluggish.
Keep it Well-Rounded
Being healthy isn’t just about avoiding sweets and fatty foods. It’s all about maintaining a balanced diet. (Remember that food pyramid you learned about in elementary school? It’s still relevant!) To make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need, focus on a well-rounded breakfast that includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains and a bit of dairy. The best way to do this is to combine servings into simple recipes, such as oatmeal with different types of fruit, or toast topped off with tasty greens.
Get Some Fiber
Not only does fiber lower cholesterol and promote healthy digestion, it also makes you feel fuller longer — which means you’ll be less likely to overdo it during lunch. Kickstart your day with a little bit of fiber in the form of avocado toast, blackberries, bran flakes or whole-grain oatmeal. Any of these delicious options will help your body function at its peak.
Stick to Whole Grains
Carbs are essential to helping you feel full, but refined flours (which make up white breads) add little nutritional value. Go ahead and have that bagel or that waffle, but choose a whole-grain version instead to make sure you’re getting the nutrients and vitamins you need.
Use Protein for Fuel
Like fiber, protein keeps you feeling fuller longer, which helps you avoid overeating throughout the day. It’s also essential if you’re planning to get a morning workout, since it helps refuel your body’s natural energy. Good sources of protein include nuts, seeds, peanut butter and eggs. If you’re craving some Canadian bacon or sausage, go for it — as long as it’s lean and low in fat.
That morning cup of coffee might wake you up, but if you’re having more than one a day it could also be dehydrating you. To maintain healthy skin and high levels of energy throughout the day, start your morning off with a glass of water as soon as you wake up. It’ll keep you hydrated even if you do end up in that Starbucks line before class/work. Other hydrating drink choices for your morning include orange juice that’s low on sugar and herbal tea.
By Priscilla Aceves