Breakfast with benefits

Despite being known as “the most important meal of the day,” breakfast remains the most underrated, lowest-priority meal for many people. Only one third of those polled in a Kellogg survey done in 2011 reported eating breakfast daily. Many of my patients have personal reasons for this, claiming that they lack the time, the hunger, and the desire to wake up earlier. This tells me that there is a need for education as to why it is important to commit to a daily breakfast. Adapting this healthy habit may require some planning ahead or thinking creatively, but the benefits are worth it.
Helps You Concentrate
Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast may improve your concentration, memory, and alertness. Before we “break the fast” that occurs overnight, our blood glucose levels are typically low, resulting in difficulty concentrating on tasks and recalling information to our full potential. Eating in the morning can also improve mood, reduce lethargy, and irritability.
Meet Nutrition Goals
It can be tough to ensure that we are getting enough nutrition throughout the day, everyday. Incorporating a healthy, well-balanced and regular breakfast can help you reach those goals with ease. When you prepare your breakfast, consider including a protein source (think eggs, nut/nut butters, or in some cases beans) and a source of whole grains or vegetable/fruit, all of which contain gut-healthy fiber. This combination will provide satiety and will also ensure that you are getting the nutrition you need to start the day.
Weight Control
Eating breakfast everyday may help with weight management and weight loss efforts, as well. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which looked at the diets of 4,218 adults, breakfast eaters were more likely to have a BMI under 25. By eating a regular breakfast, you can knowingly start your day with energy to complete everyday tasks and keep moving. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, which slows as you sleep. Additionally, shifting your intake to earlier in the day when you actually require energy for work/school (rather than just before bedtime) allows you to develop a healthier relationship with food. It also helps prevent overeating later in the day, as you might feel less food-deprived.
One Week Breakfast Meal Plan
• Sunday: Top hard boiled egg whites with black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, onions and avocado for a satisfying burrito bowl
• Monday: Top two slices whole wheat toast with 1 Tbsp almond butter, banana, and chia/flax seeds (optional)
• Tuesday: Prepare old-fashioned oats topped with raisins or dried, unsweetened apricots and slivered almonds
• Wednesday: Make an egg omelet with diced peppers, tomatoes and 1 slice of low-sodium ham, 1 whole wheat English muffin with 100 percent fruit jam or mashed berries
• Thursday: Mix 6 oz plain Greek yogurt with defrosted berries (use the melted juices to sweeten)
• Friday: Top two slices of dry whole wheat toast with 2 over easy eggs, ¼ of an avocado and tomato slices
• Saturday: Top a whole wheat waffle with ½ cup low or non-fat cottage cheese and blueberries
If you are interested in learning more about nutrition counseling sessions with a registered dietitian at Baystate Noble Hospital, please call 413-568-2811 ex: 5671 for more information.

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