Starting your day with a healthy breakfast can help you focus throughout the morning and resist the temptation to snack on unhealthy foods before lunch. It's not necessary to include eggs as part of a balanced breakfast, but it's best to include choices from most of the major food groups.
Whole grains are one of the most important parts of a healthy breakfast because they can help lower your risk for heart problems and type 2 diabetes, according to a 2008 issue of the "Harvard Heart Letter." Look for whole wheat varieties of your breakfast favorites such as bagels, English muffins or toast. Oatmeal and brown rice are other sound choices. Sweeten them with a bit of honey or some raisins to make them more palatable if you desire. If you're in a hurry, opt for a multigrain cereal with a high fiber content to help you feel satisfied through the morning.
Low-Fat Dairy Products
Choose low-fat dairy products to add to your morning meal so you don't blow through your day's worth of fat grams before it's even started. Add low-fat cheese to a whole wheat tortilla or top a bagel with a thin layer of low-fat cream cheese. Choose reduced fat or skim milk if you use it on cereal or drink a glass with breakfast. Low-fat yogurt topped with nuts, granola or berries is a healthy choice if you're on the go. Just keep portion sizes in mind -- going wild with dairy can add considerable calories.
Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables add fiber and important vitamins and minerals to your breakfast, plus they're low in calories and fat. Try adding sliced fruits or berries to cereal, oatmeal or on top of a piece of toast or bagel. Vegetables might not seem like the usual breakfast choice, but adding them to a tortilla with cheese makes for a tasty breakfast wrap you can eat quickly. Saute some onions, peppers and mushrooms in your favorite spices to spread over a slice of toast -- or just eat them as they are. Try blending some vegetables into a fruit smoothie to disguise the taste if you're really opposed to them first thing in the morning.
Adult women need 46 grams of protein per day, and men need about 56, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breakfast is a good opportunity to get started on meeting your daily protein requirements, and it'll help your meal stick with you. Add a slice of lean turkey or chicken to a breakfast sandwich or wrap. Nuts are chock full of protein and healthy fats, so add a sprinkle to your oatmeal or yogurt or spread a serving of nut butter on an apple or celery sticks. Avoid processed meats like bacon and sausage. They're high in sodium and fat.
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Breakfast
- Harvard Health Publications: A Healthy Breakfast May Protect Against Heart Disease
- Reader's Digest: 27 Ideas for a Healthier Breakfast
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fruits and Vegetables
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein