You should definitely think twice before skipping that morning meal. In a study that monitored the breakfast eating habits of over 4,000 subjects free of heart disease or diabetes, researchers found a clear association between missing or skimping on breakfast and early markers for heart disease and diabetes. Researchers found that those who skipped or ate a very light breakfast were at increased risk for developing heart disease with the skippers being at most risk. Relative to the regular breakfast eaters, these two groups (skippers and skimpers) also had bigger waistlines, more body fat, as well as higher blood pressure, blood lipids and blood glucose.
Unfortunately, donuts and pastries don’t count towards a healthy and nutritious breakfast. But a healthy breakfast can be as simple as a piece of whole wheat toast topped with peanut butter and fruit. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to ensure you eat a healthy and satisfying breakfast every day.
Make sure every breakfast contains these three components:
- Protein: Nuts or nut butters, soy milk, low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, reduced fat cheeses, smoked or canned salmon, omega-3 eggs, low-fat cottage cheese, high protein cereals, or protein powders (for smoothies) are all great options for breakfast.
- Produce: Fruits, like berries, citrus, red grapes, cantaloupe, kiwi and mango are a natural breakfast fit. Veggies can also play a starring role at breakfast. Spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes are a delicious addition to any egg dish. You can also throw a variety of veggies into smoothies.
- Whole grains: High fiber cereals and oatmeal are top-rated whole grain foods. Additional healthy choices include 100% whole grain bagels, English muffins, toast, waffles, and granola.