We’ve all heard it before, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But it’s not just any old breakfast we’re talking about. It should be a healthy meal that will enhance your energy and focus throughout the morning. In other words, not just doughnuts and coffee as you run out the door!
For some of us though, mornings are like rushed fire drills. For others, they may be more akin to being on a hamster wheel! So, with your busy schedule, how can you ensure everyone starts the day with a truly healthy breakfast?
First, let’s look at what makes up a “healthy breakfast.” A good breakfast should consist of healthy foods that provide a range of essential nutrients, including:
Fiber: While fiber isn’t a source of energy for your body, it aids digestion and adds bulk to your food, helping you extract nutrients from other foods while helping you feel full until lunch. Good sources of fiber are whole grain breads, oatmeal, fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables.
Protein: Your body requires protein. Protein is used in the maintenance of certain tissues, including muscle. This is important for younger people as the build muscle mass and it also help maintain muscle mass as we age. Good sources of protein are oatmeal, eggs, yogurt, milk nuts and breakfast meats.
Carbohydrates: Eating a sugary breakfast is unhealthy, but eating some carbohydrates with breakfast can help your body get going in the morning. During the night, your body depletes its energy stores and these need to be replaced quickly. Some tissues, especially your brain, rely on these stores to function at their peak. Good sources of carbohydrate are oatmeal, whole grains and fruit.
All this is well and good, but how do you make sure that your family gets the fiber, protein and carbohydrates it needs at breakfast? Here are 3 of your best friends in the morning. All are very healthy and they can be fixed in a flash. They all contain the 3 nutrients discussed above, and all 3 can be packed and taken with you to work or school.
Healthy shakes and smoothies: When made with fresh fruit and yogurt or protein powder, these nutrient-dense drinks contain all 3 of the above, and they taste great! We even put a bit of fresh spinach or carrot in ours. These provide extra nutrients, and the flavors in the fruit overpower these vegetables so you don’t even taste them. One of our favorites is the All-Around Good Smoothie.
Breakfast casseroles: These usually include eggs, some type of breakfast meat like sausage (preferably low fat turkey sausage), whole wheat bread, and sometimes cheese. They can be cooked the night before or even on the weekend, then simply cut and eaten each morning. One of our favorites is the Sausage and Egg Casserole (substitute turkey sausage and whole wheat bread).
Breakfast sandwiches: Sandwiches aren’t just for lunch anymore! Use whole wheat toast, breakfast thins, or even whole wheat waffles as the “bread.” Then fill your sandwich with fresh fruit slices (banana, apple, pears, or pick your favorites), and use peanut butter, a slice of turkey or a slice of ham for your protein. If you have a few minutes extra, you can even put a bit of cheese on your turkey and melt it in the microwave. One of our favorites is the Leftover Pancake Sandwich (skip the syrup).
With these options, there is really no reason why you can’t eat a healthy breakfast each day – even if your family is rushed in the mornings. Check out our favorite recipes above and then use your imagination to make them your own. The combinations (and flavors) are almost endless.
Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
You might also want to read: Picky Eaters: Skip the Sugar at Breakfast, What are “Normal” Eating Habits These Days?, 5 Tips That Make Family Meals a Snap