When you’re on the go, it’s easy to skimp on breakfast or, even worse, skip the first meal of the day altogether. But as the word “breakfast” implies, it’s meant to “break the fast.” By the time morning rolls around, it’s usually been at least 10 to 12 hours since most people ate a full meal. And while swinging into a favorite coffee shop on the way to work may be a part of many morning rituals, coffee isn’t actually a food group.
Bodies that need to get us through a busy day at work, school or wherever life takes us need healthy sources of vitamins, minerals and protein to keep up energy levels, brain power and metabolism. For some, consistently eating breakfast can be part of successful weight management.
In a well-known study of people who belong to the National Weight Control Registry, 78 percent of those who reported having lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off said they ate breakfast almost every day. When the reporting period was adjusted to eating breakfast at least five days per week, the number rose to 90 percent.
Eating a good breakfast may help with weight control by leveling out blood sugar levels, while also reducing hunger pangs and snacking later in the day.
To make breakfast as convenient as possible, shop smart. Keep healthy, easily prepared, simple breakfast foods on hand. That way, even if you’re running out the door, you can always grab something quick to break your fast.
Today, whole grain cereals and other whole grains like steel cut oatmeal are still great choices at breakfast.
Nutritional guidelines established by the United States Department of Agriculture include advice that can help you build a better breakfast, lunch and dinner:
- Make sure half your plate is fruits and vegetables
- If you currently drink a higher-fat milk, switch to skim or 1 percent milk
- Eat a variety of protein sources at breakfast
- Make at least half the grains you consume whole grains
This infographic (PDF, 13 MB) can help you choose breakfast items that are high in protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy carbs while minimizing your morning dose of sodium, added sugars and unhealthy fats.