How to Build a Healthy Breakfast
By: Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN
We’ve all heard many times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But do you know why? Breakfast literally means to “break” the “fast” from your night’s sleep and your previous meal the day before.
Just as rain and sunlight fuel flowers to grow, food fuels our body to “go.” In the morning, our bodies need to be fed and fueled for the day ahead.
Important Nutrients for a Healthy Breakfast
So what makes for a nourishing breakfast? In a nutshell, fruits and vegetables, whole (unprocessed) grains, and healthy proteins and fats are the key ingredients and nutrients you need for a filling, wholesome and complete healthy breakfast.
Food is categorized into five groups: protein, fruit, vegetable, dairy and grain. When building a nourishing breakfast, it’s important to select one food from at least three different groups. This combination gives you a perfect mix of protein, natural color (from fruits and vegetables) and fiber to fuel your day.
If you consistently grab “enjoyment” or certain “convenient” foods in the morning (think donuts) they might quickly satisfy your hunger, but won’t give you the long-lasting energy you need. However, if you thoughtfully select a nourishing breakfast choice, you’ll have sustained energy levels until lunch. This will help you ace that test, complete that report, run that extra mile or accomplish whatever else you have on your list. Wake up to a healthy breakfast!
Winning Breakfast Combos
Keeping some of these ingredients on hand at all times ensures you have the elements you need to build a healthy and delicious breakfast!
- Greek yogurt + raspberries + whole grain cereal
- Smoothie: Protein powder + frozen banana + handful of spinach
- Egg + whole grain bagel thin + apple
- Steel cut oats + nut butter + strawberries
- String cheese + almonds + pear
- Whole grain toast + nut butter + banana
- Egg + sautéed vegetables + avocado