Skipping breakfast is associated with a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity. Providing breakfast for your co-workers is a step in a healthy direction. As you consider a breakfast menu, establish items from at least three to four food groups for a well-balanced breakfast. With healthy grains, protein, fruit and dairy, your co-workers will have a healthy start to their day.
Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for your body and brain. In fact, glucose, or sugar, is your brain’s main source of fuel, meaning carbohydrates help with focus and concentration during the workday. Whole grains provide these essential carbohydrates, along with other nutrients, including fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, iron and zinc. Whole wheat bagels, whole grain bread and whole wheat tortillas are tasty, shelf-stable breakfast options. If you have a microwave available, bring packages of oatmeal as a convenient way to provide whole grains -- just don’t forget the bowls. If you plan on making breakfast items at home, try baking whole grain muffins or banana bread. You may use a traditional recipe and swap half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
Protein provides satisfaction, meaning your co-workers shouldn’t get hungry 30 minutes after a breakfast with adequate protein included. When considering a source of protein to bring, be sure to keep food safety measures in mind. Perishable foods should not be left out any longer than two hours, and meats, eggs and poultry are among those most highly associated with food-borne illness. Peanut butter and other nut butters provide both protein and healthy fats, and are less vulnerable to contamination. Try bringing hard-boiled eggs kept in a cooler. Lean deli meats can also be included, such as Canadian bacon and ham.
Fruits provide fiber and a wide array of nutrients -- the different pigments of fruit represent different nutrients. Fresh bananas, grapes, pears, apples and strawberries are healthy finger foods. Canned fruit and/or fruit cups offer a convenient option, but purchase those without added sugars, canned in their natural juices. Fruit juice should contain 100 percent fruit juice.
Breakfast-friendly dairy options are significant sources of protein, calcium, vitamin D and potassium. Be sure to choose low-fat dairy, which includes 2 percent or less fat content. One-serving milk bottles and cartons are available at grocery stores. Low and non-fat yogurt containers can be transported in a cooler for a healthy and safe option. Consider bringing reduced fat or low-fat cheeses that may be added to breakfast sandwiches or wraps.
- American Journal of Epidemiology: Association between Eating Patterns and Obesity in a Free-living US Adult Population
- UT Health Medical School Neuroscience Online: Chapter 11: Blood Brain Barrier and Cerebral Metabolism
- Whole Grains Council: Whole Grains: An Important Source of Essential Nutrients
- FoodSafety.gov: By Types of Food