by Brooke Joanna Benlifer, RD
We’ve all heard it before, but it bears repeating–Breakfast is a great way to start your day! Breakfast provides much needed energy to start off your day on a positive note. Basically, breakfast is “BREAKing the FAST” from the night before. Your body has been without fuel for up to 12 hours (sometimes more) and it requires a combination of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat to supply energy to your brain and muscles. Often, people skip breakfast, citing lack of time or for fear that it will promote hunger and lead to overeating and weight gain. First, a good breakfast does not have to take more than five to ten minutes to prepare, at most. Second, studies confirm that those who skip breakfast are MORE likely to be overweight than those who make breakfast a daily habit! Starving the body until lunch often results in poor food choices in the noon hour due to being famished and consequently, overeating or eating whatever is most convenient. The National Weight Control Registry participants, who have successfully kept off 30 or more pounds for over a year say that daily breakfast is a key to their continued success. If you have children, you can also incorporate their favorite foods into more adult breakfast fare, suitable for both your palate and your waistline. Read on for the skinny on some delicious, quick and nutritious breakfast ideas!
FANTASTIC FIBER START
1 svg All Bran Yogurt Bites, 1 cup vanilla or chocolate soymilk, 1/2 cup berries
MORNING POWER PUNCH
1 svg Cinnamon Toast Crunch (75% less sugar version) mixed with 4 oz lowfat or nonfat yogurt, 1 small banana spread with 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
Ingredients: 1/2 cup low fat granola (180 calories or less), 1 cup lowfat or nonfat plain yogurt, 1 sliced peach or nectarine, 1/2 cup blueberries.
In a portable plastic container or in a portable plastic thermos (use a parfait glass if eating at home), layer yogurt, then granola, then fruit, then yogurt, then granola, then fruit until your parfait is perfected!
GRAHAMS FOR GROWNUPS
In a small cereal bowl, add 1 serving graham crackers (broken into bite-sized pieces) to 1 cup lowfat (1%) or skim milk. In a separate small cereal bowl, add 1/2 cup raspberries and 1 Tbsp slivered almonds to a 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese, for some antioxidants (berries), fiber (berries & nuts) and protein (nuts & cottage cheese).
1 svg steel-cut oats cooked with water. Add 1/2 cup plain or fruited lowfat yogurt, a dash of cinnamon and a small sliced banana and 2 Tbsp pecans.
QUICK COMFORT FOOD
1 svg Quaker Weight Control oatmeal. On a separate plate, slice a pear and melt 1 slice low fat provolone cheese melted over the fruit. The fruit may best be eaten with a fork, as the cheese is hot!
LIGHT LUMBERJACK COMBO
Scramble 1 whole egg and 4 egg whites with leftover veggies (mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, spinach and sliced tomato work well). Add 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese for a calcium boost (and a dash of Tabasco for a spicy kick!). Serve in a whole wheat tortilla or stuff into a whole wheat pita pocket.
NO CHOLESTEROL COMBO
Cook 1-2 svgs of Egg Beaters (there are a variety of flavors, including Cheese and Chive, Southwestern and Garden Vegetable). Add a couple of pieces of whole-grain toast for some healthy carbohydrates. Hint: Look for bread with at least 3 grams fiber and 100 calories or less per slice.
Try Eggo Nutri-Grain pancakes or Kashi Go Lean waffles (available in blueberry flavor, too!). Top with 2 Tbsp natural nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew). Serve with 1 cup fresh mixed fruit. Or, top with an all-fruit spread and 1 serving low fat ricotta.
CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST
Top 2 whole-grain waffles with 2 Tbsp Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread. Add a source of protein on the side, such as 1 hard-boiled egg or 1/2 cup cottage cheese. Treat yourself well each and every day–you deserve it! Breakfast helps maintain a healthy weight and increases productivity.