Start The Day Right

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January 22, 2008

Here’s good news, your grandmother knew what she was talking about when she said, “Start out the day right with a good breakfast.” Several years and numerous fad diets later, our nutritional experts have decided that we need to fill up the fuel tank first thing in the morning.

If you are a person who likes to skip the breakfast routine to trim calories, it’s time to change your ways. If you can’t face a bowl of oats before sunrise, find foods that appeal, and start your day with a bang. A healthy breakfast refuels your body, and jump-starts your day. Not only does it get you started on the day right, but also it builds a foundation for lifelong health benefits. Studies show that people who eat breakfasts are more likely to:

  • Take in more vitamins, and minerals, and eat less fat and cholesterol
  • Be more productive and have better concentration throughout the morning
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Have lower cholesterol, which means less risk of heart disease.

Sounds good, but if you are a grab-a-coffee and run person where should you start?

Whether you opt for traditional options, such as yogurt, whole-grain muffins or ready-to-eat cereal, or less typical foods, such as leftover vegetable pizza or a fruit smoothie, you can get the nutrients and energy you need to start your day.
To make a healthy breakfast each day, choose one serving from at least three of the following four food groups:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables, 100 percent juice without added sugar
  • Grains. Whole-grain rolls, bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, low-fat bran muffins, crackers, or melba toast
  • Dairy. Skim milk, low-fat yogurt cups or low-fat cheeses, such as cottage and natural cheeses
  • Protein. Hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, lean slices of meat and poultry, or fish, such as water-packed tuna or salmon

For a healthy breakfast on the go, munch dry, ready-to-eat cereal with a banana and drink a small carton of low fat or skim milk. The best cereals are those that are higher in fiber. Fiber One is a great choice, with 28 grams of fiber and a tiny 120 calories. How about raisin bran? It has 7 grams of fiber, and 195 calories. (Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, 2006)

Oatmeal is another good choice, but it may be a challenge if you’re on the run or at work. One cup of plain, cooked oatmeal has about 4 grams of fiber and 130 calories. An instant oatmeal can be cooking while you’re finding a pair of matching socks.

Don’t shun eggs, including hard-boiled eggs, which are easy to take with you. The yolk does contain cholesterol, but eggs are full of nutrients, including protein, vitamins A and B-12, folic acid, and phosphorus.
If you dislike regular breakfast foods, try something different, such as:

  • Leftover vegetable pizza
  • Vegetables, salsa and low fat shredded cheese, wrapped in a tortilla
  • A smoothie from fruits, low fat yogurt, a spoonful of wheat germ
  • Any low fat meat, low fat milk, fruit or veggie.
  • Last night’s leftovers

Let your breakfast be creative and nutritious, and superfuel your day!

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