Nutrition Solutions / Lisa Corrado
It's back to school time. Kids and adults alike can benefit from new breakfast ideas that taste great and fuel your morning.
Breakfast is important for so many reasons. It wakes up your metabolism, revving it up for the day. It stabilizes your blood sugar after too many hours of not eating. And helps you avoid overeating later in the day because by eating in the morning there's less of a chance that you'll feel starving later. Studies have even shown that those who eat breakfast are more likely to lose weight and maintain that weight loss than those who skip it.
But mornings in your household may resemble a circus, complete with clowns, elephants and those crazy people who walk the tightrope. Let's look at some strategies for fitting a healthy breakfast into a busy lifestyle.
Make it easy
Breakfast doesn't have to be pancakes from scratch, homemade sausages and berries harvested from your garden. If you have the time, great. If not, try these strategies:
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Choose healthy cold cereals. Great brands include Kashi, Barbara's and Food for Life, among others. Look for whole ingredients in the beginning of the list and a minimum of sugar. This is also an easy breakfast for the younger set to prepare for themselves.
Prepare ahead by making a big batch of steel-cut oats (or quinoa) one day and heat up portions as you need them. Just add a splash of milk and microwave or heat gently on the stove top.
Cut up fresh fruit to add a nutritional boost to any meal, or grab an apple and some nuts on the way out the door.
Like smoothies? Fill your blender with the ingredients the night before (except for ice, if using), then all you have to do is whiz it up the next morning. Start with unsweetened almond milk, add some fruit and a sugar-free protein powder.
Have a favorite healthy muffin or pancake recipe? Make a batch, keeping a couple out and the rest in the freezer until you need them.
Think outside the (cereal) box
Who says breakfast has to be breakfast food? Feel free to enjoy the leftovers from a healthy dinner, be it vegetable soup, a black bean burrito, lean protein stir-fry, etc. A recent "un-breakfast" I enjoyed was cooked quinoa and shredded veggies topped with sauteed tofu from the night before, drizzled with a little maple syrup. Maybe your "un-breakfast" is a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce and tomato. As long as it's healthy, anything goes.
Try some of these quick and easy ideas:
frozen whole-grain waffles topped with low fat yogurt and berries
whole-grain toast spread with all-natural peanut butter and apple slices
breakfast burrito of scrambled eggs mixed with chopped veggies
smoothie made with one cup low-fat yogurt, half a cup of your favorite fruit, one teaspoon ground flax seeds, two tablespoons wheat germ and half a cup ice
parfait made from nonfat Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts