Everyone has heard, at some point in their lives, just how important it is to eat breakfast in the morning. It was most likely your mother or father, maybe even your grandma who wouldn’t let you leave the house before eating at least some toast or drinking juice- and bless their hearts for it. In fact, it’s really no surprise that it turns out they were right, as usual.
Studies over many decades have shown time and time again that having a well-balanced meal in the morning not only gives you the energy your body needs to be more focused, but it also helps you to be less likely to overeat throughout the rest of your day.
Not all meals are created equal, though. You must be aware of what a well-balanced meal truly consists of. The key to a healthy breakfast is to have appropriate portions and the right types of food. Dietitians nationwide can all agree that the average American meal size is twice, sometimes even triple the recommended portion size, while also usually ignoring a proper ratio of fat vs. carb vs. fruit/ vegetables. Luckily, it’s never too late to start doing things the right way!
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Years of research have suggested that protein helps you feel more full for longer, so it is recommended that a healthy breakfast consists of lean protein, such as eggs, tofu, nut butters or lean meats including chicken, ham or turkey. Along with that, a whole grain such as whole wheat toast, whole oats, or bran- even a starchy vegetable like a small potato or a serving of beans can provide the benefits of added fiber and protein.
Non-starchy vegetables, of course, are a great morning addition, mostly valued for their vitamins and trace minerals. Don’t forget about those fruits- all fruits are great but the best kind is those such as melons or berries due to their much lower sugar content and high amount of extremely beneficial antioxidants. You can also include a low-fat dairy such as milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese.
All of these items should be kept to a proper portion of each. A good rule of thumb for most adults is about ½ cup of each item you choose for veggies, fruits and starches/ whole grains. Likewise, one serving of protein whether lean meat or eggs, and one serving of dairy.
As with most things in life, there is give and take as well as decisions to make- Guess what? You can still indulge at times. It’s about making healthy choices more often than not while keeping all things in moderation, including those treat moments. So yes, you can have a waffle with berries and whipped cream for breakfast once in a while, if that’s your thing, just do a half portion (or small waffle) with one egg on the side and some crunchy veggie sticks. Maybe wash it down with some good old water, some unsweetened tea, or coffee with less (or no) sugar.
There’s always a place for a nice treat here and there, just be mindful of adding healthier options most of the time to balance things out.
Oh, and get on that Surf or SUP board to burn it all off! See you on the water!