Healthy Choices: Start the day with breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For a healthy diet, it is crucial that you eat breakfast, no matter how little. This is because eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism for the rest of the day and people who eat breakfast tends to eat less calories during the day. So the bottom line is whether you're trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, eat breakfast. However, not all breakfasts are created equal. Try to refrain from eating out, especially at diners, because most of their breakfast items will be packed with calories and fat. Instead, you can eat a healthy breakfast right at home! Here are a few healthy breakfast ideas.
- Oatmeal- Don't get the instant oatmeal packets, which are filled with artificial flavors and sugar, and instead buy the real oatmeal, which is usually cheaper and much more healthy. My favorite brand is Quaker Oats. Also, use milk instead of water to improve the taste and get some extra calcium.
Benefits- Oatmeal is packed with both soluble and insoluble fiber, which can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). The soluble fiber in oatmeal also slows down the digestion of starch, helping people with diabetes as this means you won't have a sharp increase of blood sugar after a meal. Oatmeal is a good source of vitamin E, zinc, selenium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, and protein.
Healthy and Delicious Toppings- To sweeten oatmeal, I always use honey, a delicious and nutritious substitute to sugar. Also, I like to top my healthy breakfast with almonds, the most nutritious nut for you, but you can also use others such as pecans or walnuts. Other toppings I like to incorporate into my oatmeal are raisins and fresh fruit and berries such as chopped bananas, blueberries, strawberries. With these toppings you'll never think oatmeal is bland again!
- Eggs- Despite a lot of press about raising cholesterol, even if an adult eats 2 eggs a day, their cholesterol levels will probably not increase, and may even improve. Eggs are packed full with many nutrients and there are almost limitless ways to make delicious, healthy eggs.
Benefits- Eggs are very high in protein and are pretty low in calories. A medium-sized egg contains on average only 78 calories, though it all depends how you cook it. Eggs contain vitamins A, B12, C, D, E, and K, along with iron, zinc, and choline, which is important for your brain's functioning and health. Vitamin A and the phosphatidylcholine found in egg yolks protects the arteries, liver, and even prevents the oxidation of cholesterol. Eggs are also great for your eyes as it contains carotenoid. Most of the fat that eggs contain are the good fats. Eating eggs regularly may even decrease the risk of breast cancer. Also, with their array of vitamins and their high sulphur content, eggs promote healthy nails and hair.
Healthy Ways to Eat Eggs- You can eat eggs in so many different ways. A few of the more popular ways are boiled, scrambled, fried (sunny side up, over easy, etc), poached, or in omelets. Also, I like to add green onions, onions, cilantro, tomatoes and other tasty things to my eggs, especially scrambled.
- Yogurt with granola, fresh berries, fruit and nuts- What better way to start off your day, than with this delicious and healthy breakfast? Use low fat or fat free yogurt with flavors such as vanilla. Try to get organic yogurt that is low in sugar and without trans fat and high fructose corn syrup. If you top your yogurt with nuts, almonds are the healthiest and most beneficial nut.
Benefits- Not only is yogurt a great source of calcium, which promotes good bones and teeth, but it also has many other good, nutritional value. Yogurt is made with live and active bacteria cultures. These "good bacteria" are crucial for your body to function at its best. They prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that cause diseases and bacteria infections. These good bacteria also boosts your immune system and promotes digestive health. Also, if you're taking antibiotics, your medicine not only destroys the bad bacteria, but also the good. Eating yogurt can help replace the good bacteria. Despite what you may think, yogurt with active live cultures reduces yogurt's amount of lactose. This means if you're lactose intolerant, you can still eat yogurt! Yogurt is also high in protein to help you feel full throughout the day and helps your body build muscles. Also, your toppings such as fresh berries or almonds, provide an assortment of vitamins, minerals, and other good nutritional content.
- Smoothies- Smoothies are absolutely delicious and a great breakfast item. If you make them with fresh fruit, yogurt, and milk or orange juice, they can also be very healthy.
Benefits- Drinking a fruit smoothie everyday is better than swallowing those daily multi-vitamin pills. No matter what fruits (or vegetables) you include, your smoothie will give you a ton of vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Plus, they're delicious! Also, a smoothie every morning will ensure that you are hydrated in the morning. Smoothies are also a good source of fiber and can help improve your immune system. Including yogurt instead of some sort of cream also gives you many health benefits, as explained above.
Recipes- Check out this article for delicious and healthy smoothie recipes!