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Rise and Dine

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Don’t underestimate the power of a good morning meal

I know I should eat breakfast but … “I’m not hungry in the morning” … “I don’t have enough time” … “If I eat breakfast, I’m even hungrier later.” There are loads of excuses why people don’t eat breakfast. Fortunately, researchers are discovering even more reasons why we should.

Maintain Healthy Weight
People who eat breakfast daily are more likely to be a healthy weight. Not only does eating breakfast get your body burning more calories during the day, but it can also fend off hunger later in the day, resulting in a more moderate intake at lunch and dinner.

Get Better Focus
Studies show that when you eat breakfast, you have a better attention span, and you remember more of what you learn. When you skip breakfast, it’s tougher to concentrate. And don’t skimp on the protein, since protein-rich foods seem to be the best at increasing alertness.

Absorb More Nutrients
Study after study shows that people who eat breakfast get more of the nutrients their bodies need in a day, particularly calcium, iron and fiber.

Be a Role Model
Kids learn by example. If you have children, they’ll be watching what you do, so set a good example and make a point of eating breakfast, too. Try to make breakfast fun while keeping it as nutritious as possible.

Don’t like breakfast foods? Then have lunch or dinner foods for breakfast. Running late? Stop for a split second to grab something quick: a protein bar, peanut butter toast or even just a glass of low-fat milk. When it comes to breakfast, something is better than nothing.

But how about that issue of feeling hungrier than ever after eating breakfast? This almost always happens with a breakfast high in carbs (think bagels, cereal, fruit, low-fat yogurt), without enough protein and/or fat. Protein and fat take longer to digest, helping to keep you feeling fuller, longer. In fact, higher-protein meals decrease the body’s secretion of grehlin, a hunger-triggering hormone that can sabotage even your best weight-loss efforts.

So instead of the old breakfast standbys of plain ol’ wheat toast, cereal with a banana, or a granola bar with fruit juice, get creative with fiber-rich, protein-packed morning meals. Check out our sidebar for new twists on old favorites.

Quick and Tasty Family-Friendly Breakfast Ideas
BLT
Center-cut bacon and light mayonnaise on whole-grain bread (lettuce optional)

Peanut butter on whole-grain waffle Cheese toast or grilled cheese sandwich Oatmeal with one scoop vanilla protein powder stirred in Quesadilla
Shredded cheese melted onto a whole-wheat tortilla, folded in half

Breakfast Sandwich
Scrambled egg, slice of ham and a thin slice of cheese between two slices of whole-grain bread or whole-wheat English muffin

Lox and Bagel
Smoked salmon and Neufchâtel cheese on small whole-wheat bagel

Parfait
Greek yogurt (higher in protein than regular plain yogurt), layered with fresh fruit and chopped walnuts

French Toast
Mix egg with vanilla and a dash of cinnamon. Use whole-grain bread to soak up egg mixture. Grill in skillet and top with fresh berries.

PB&J
Peanut butter with low-sugar jelly or 100% fruit preserves, spread onto whole-grain bread or pita