A well-balanced breakfast of yogurt with walnuts and fruit.So many of us blame our time-crunched mornings for making measly, sad, bad-for-us breakfasts -- from nothing but a cup of coffee to just a banana or a big bagel and a sugar-laden cappuccino. While celeb spa-style breakfasts with fresh juices and fancy omelets aren't exactly everyday options for most of us, there are still ways to do our breakfast better. And it's worth the effort. After all, who wouldn't want to maximize that boost of energy a well-balanced breakfast provides?
Here, five ways to make sure your a.m. meal is healthy, tasty, and of course, easy to throw together.
- Pack in the protein - Lots of Americans are in the habit of goin' for a carb/grain-heavy breakfast -- i.e. pancakes, low-cal cereal, a granola bar -- but without enough protein, you're bound to be hungry an hour later. Adding protein also ensures be satisfied for longer, because it helps keep blood sugar stable. Some yummy sources: Eggs or egg whites (scrambled or hard-boiled), peanut butter, cottage cheese, non-fat (Greek!) yogurt, lean turkey sausage.
- Always go for whole grain - Although tons of foods are now touting that they're "whole grain," it's actually not just a silly buzz word for companies to slap on their products. Making sure your breakfast incorporates whole grains -- as opposed to refined grains or no carbs whatsoever -- is an awesome way to boost its healthy factor. That's because studies show eating whole grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and also contribute to body weight management and gastrointestinal health. Some delish choices include: Granola or higher fiber cereal or oatmeal, whole wheat bagel or toast, whole grain toaster waffles, etc.
- Add in a fruit - Nutritionists tend to recommend people get at least two fruit servings a day, and breakfast is a prime time to sneak one of those in. It's also a great way to get your sweet tooth fix or add more texture/flavor to your meal. You could do a banana, apple, berries (in that yogurt or cereal), or an orange.
- Be creative - Eating the same ol' thing every day works for some people, but others get bored, and of course, that's no way to stick with a healthy plan. Mixing up your breakfast (think looking up new recipes online, switching up fruits and veggies from week to week, etc.) on a regular basis will ensure it stays delicious and well-balanced.
- Plan ahead - Most of us are so frazzled and rushed in the morning that we end up grabbing something on-the-go that's less than ideal. Taking a minute at night to think about what you're going to have in the a.m. and maybe setting the ingredients aside in the fridge or on your shelf can help you stick to a healthy choice in the morning. You can also prep certain dishes (like a frittata or granola mix) ahead of time, so you can grab and go in the morning.
What's your go-to delicious, well-balanced breakfast?
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