For years, we’ve been told that skipping breakfast sets you up for weight gain, but there’s contrary evidence. In the end, what counts is how much you end up eating all day. Still, there are other benefits to breakfast. If you routinely skip breakfast (or tend to grab a bagel, Danish, or egg and bacon sandwich), try eating one or more or a mix of these eight better options. After two weeks, see if you notice a difference in your energy and mood.
Whole grain toast with almond butter. Be sure your bread is 100 percent whole grain and doesn’t contain extra sugar. Almonds may be an especially good bet for dieters, research suggests. Prefer peanut butter? Peanuts are also good for you, but peanut butter didn’t have the same benefits in one large Dutch study of older adults.
Just nuts. Keep a container with an interesting nut mix in your kitchen and on your way out grab a handful, or partly fill a small plastic baggie. In the Dutch study, researchers analyzed the diets of more than 120,000 adults aged 55 to 69, and checked back 10 years later. Those who ate at least 10 grams of nuts daily were less likely to have died of cancer, diabetes, heart trouble, and other common causes. Ten grams is about 8 almonds, or 6 cashews, and around 60 calories, much of them from heart-healthy fats.
Fresh fruit. Many people who don’t like breakfast still drink orange juice. Instead, eat an orange, grapefruit, or, even better, a variety of fruit during the week, including berries. Whole fruits have fiber, which slows down the sugar-hit, and helps lower cholesterol levels and keep your digestion moving. The official U.S guidelines recommend that half our daily food come from fruits and vegetables, but few of us approach that ideal. Only 13 percent of Americans eat enough fruit, according to the 2015 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Greek yogurt. All yogurt contains protein and calcium and B vitamins as well as probiotics good for your digestion. Greek yogurt, which has been strained to take out the liquid whey, has double the protein in the same number of calories. Pick a plain yogurt and add your own berries or other fruit, and nuts and seeds, which add fiber. For even more fiber and healthy fats, add ground flaxseed.
Omelet with vegetables. It takes a few minutes to prepare, but an omelet with spinach, peppers, onions, and tomatoes (or any vegetables you like) will get you on your way to meeting the daily veggie requirement. Two eggs may not be too much cholesterol, but if you have a problem with cholesterol levels you can use egg whites. Some people like scrambled tofu.
Quinoa cereal. Other than soy, quinoa is the only plant food that contains all of the essential amino acids in protein, so it’s an ideal breakfast for vegetarians. You can cook it with a nut milk, and add nuts and seeds, and dried or fresh fruit. Try cinnamon if you like the taste: some inconclusive evidence suggests that it can help people avoid or manage diabetes.
Oatmeal, or granola or muesli. Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber that's been shown to help lower cholesterol when eaten regularly, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. Steel-cut oats, which take about 15 minutes to cook, are the highest in fiber. Avoid any sweetened brand. You can choose a granola or muesli mix with dried fruits and nuts, or add your own. Add fresh fruit, too.
Beans. Make beans in advance and have them with your eggs instead of toast. Or just eat beans. They count as both a vegetable and protein; a half-cup contains about the same amount of protein as an ounce of chicken. Some manufacturers are adding beans to their cold cereal products, but these contain sugar.
January 25, 2016
Janet O’Dell, RN