It’s the first meal of the day and the perfect opportunity to get a healthy start. Breakfast is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, said Toni Viles, RD, Norman Regional’s community dietitian.
“People who eat a healthy breakfast concentrate better and are more productive throughout the morning,” Viles said. “They are also more likely to consume fewer calories through the day, control their weight and get more vitamins and minerals than those who skip it.”
Eating a healthy breakfast can also help people lose weight because it reduces hunger later in the day so you won’t be overeating at lunch and dinner. People who eat breakfast also tend to choose healthier types of food later in the day, Viles said.
So how can you build the best breakfast? Viles said just like other meals, choosing a variety of food groups at breakfast is key.
“Aim for at least three of the following types of food: whole grains, protein, fruit and vegetables and low-fat dairy,” Viles said.
Your best bets for breakfast are:
What are the worst choices for breakfast? It shouldn’t be a surprise that donuts, muffins, croissants, cinnamon rolls and high-fat meats like bacon and sausage top the list. Also be cautious with most fast-food breakfast sandwiches and supersized bagels with regular cream cheese.
The Cereal Conundrum
Breakfast cereals are a common food that can trip people up at breakfast. Some options are healthy, but others can be low-fiber and packed with sugar.
“Avoid falling for misleading catch-phrases on the fronts of cereal boxes,” Viles said. “Make sure to always look at the nutrition facts label on the side.”
A good cereal choice should have at least three grams of fiber per serving, less than 13 grams of sugar per serving and less than 120 calories per serving if you’re watching your weight, Viles said.
“Remember to see what serving size is according to the manufacturer – which can range from ¾ to one cup – and compare it to the actual amount eaten,” Viles said. “It’s frequently two to three times more, so the calories and sugar add up fast!”