What you choose for breakfast is just as important as eating breakfast.

With school back in session, eating breakfast is more important than ever  for adults as well as children. Studies examining dietary habits suggest that eating breakfast can reduce the risk of obesity and high cholesterol, improve performance on memory-related tasks, minimize impulsive snacking and overeating at other meals, and enhance school performance in children and young adults. And, with a little creativity, the first meal of the day can be one of the best.

What you choose for breakfast is just as important as eating breakfast. It’s the perfect time to start working toward your recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables and three daily servings of whole grains. Choosing high fiber foods (such as nuts or whole grain cereals) have the added benefit of warding off mid-morning hunger by creating a feeling of fullness. Likewise, adding some protein such as seafood, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry, egg, or egg substitute can also aid in suppressing hunger.

If you’re pressed for time, make a grab-and-go breakfast. Wrap a whole-grain tortilla around peanut butter and a banana, or spread peanut butter and jam on whole grain bread and take along a piece of fruit and a carton of low-fat milk. Or stuff a whole-wheat pita with low-fat cream cheese or low-fat cottage cheese and canned sliced peaches.

Avoid breakfast boredom and get creative. Try freezer pops made from a mixture of low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, or soy milk mixed with 100% juice and fruit slices. Lunch also can provide the inspiration for a healthy breakfast. Try a grilled cheese sandwich made with whole-grain bread, low-fat cheese, or soy cheese served with fruit on the side. Vegetables with low-fat dip and a hard-boiled egg are other creative choices.

Sometimes you may skip breakfast because you’re just not hungry. A lack of appetite in the morning may be the result of a large meal or snack consumed the night before. Perk up your morning appetite by eating lighter and earlier in the evenings. A breakfast smoothie may also be a good option if you’re not feeling especially hungry.

Follow these tips to overcome your excuses for skipping breakfast and get your day started off right! Are you and your family making time for breakfast?

This article was adapted from content on the Brigham and Women’s Health-e-Weight website.

– Pam S

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