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Power Up your Day with a Healthy Breakfast

Oatmeal photo  

So you shop for lean meat cuts, you drink fat-free milk and you've learned to love vegetables (well, maybe with the exception of Brussels sprouts).

Congratulations on the positive nutrition steps you're taking! But if you skip breakfast, you're missing out on one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health.

People who eat breakfast live longer, suggests research, and a healthy morning meal revs up your body for the tasks ahead, aids in your body's metabolism and supplies nutrients you'll need during the day, say health experts.

Eating more of your calories in the morning and tapering off during the day -- the opposite of what you may be doing at present -- can help you sleep better at night, says Dr. Jonathan Kary, who practices family medicine at the Banner Health Clinic specializing in Family Medicine in Windsor. Skipping food all day to eat a big dinner forces the body to work hard to digest food later in the evening, which can interrupt your sleep, he says.

Eating early
Even if you don’t feel hungry in the morning, don't overlook the need for an a.m. meal, say health experts.
“After an eight or nine-hour gap, you need to fill up to get going in the morning, to get that energy boost, much like fuel in your car,” says Dr. Kary.

Go without that fuel, and you start to sputter. You not only feel sluggish, you may slow down your metabolism as well.

Pulling it together
“A well-balanced breakfast isn’t rocket science,” says Dr. Kary. “Think whole grain cereal or bread, fresh fruits, lean protein from egg whites and healthy fats from almond butter or roasted almonds.”

What else is for breakfast?
If you just can't face a bowl of cereal in the morning, don't worry. You don't have to eat typical breakfast foods as your first meal of the day, says Dr. Kary.
"Experiment with other foods: a slice of low-fat cheese on whole grain bread or low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese and a fresh fruit medley,” Dr. Kary says.

To make an appointment with Dr. Kary, call (970) 686-5646, or find other Banner Health physicians.

Breakfast on the run

Ideally, you'd eat breakfast at home in relative calm. But if you don't have time to sit down for your morning meal, pack wholesome items for your commute or desk at work.

Some raw or plain roasted almonds (avoid salted ones) or pistachios are a great source of protein and good fat. Whole-grain toast and an apple or banana are a great source of fiber and easy to pack in a rush," says Dr. Kary.

Make a breakfast sandwich of whole-wheat toast or bread, spread with peanut butter or almond butter. Avoid brands with sugar or hydrogenated fat.

You can also pack a mix of your favorite high-fiber breakfast cereal and some almonds or walnuts for nibbling on the bus or commuter train.

Although fruit smoothies are popular, you'll feel fuller if you eat solid food instead of drinking your breakfast.

If you want a smoothie, make one by coarsely puréeing the fruit.

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