Building a better breakfast

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Eating Breakfast is Associated with Better Nutrient Intake and Lower BMI

You’ve always heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but nearly 20% of the adult population is skipping out. Though eliminating a meal might seem like a step to losing weight, nutritionists and scientists agree this isn’t the case. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests eating breakfast can play a role in maintaining a healthy weight, and choosing the best foods at breakfast is a step to meeting daily nutrient requirements and achieving overall health.

Delicious breakfast for a healthy weigth

For the study (more information), researchers looked at data from 2001-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the United States. They analyzed dietary patterns, diet quality, and body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference in nearly 19,000 adults ages 19 years and older. Researchers focused on breakfast, categorizing the most common types of breakfast into twelve groups. Breakfast categories included whole fruit, low fat milk, grains, meat and poultry, and no breakfast.

Results showed, in general, most breakfast eaters had lower BMI’s than breakfast skippers. Those who passed on the morning meal also had lower intakes of important nutrients such as vitamins A and C for the whole day than breakfast eaters.

Combine it properly for fully enjoyment

But some breakfasts were better than others. Those who ate whole fruit at breakfast were least likely to be obese or overweight, and people who chose whole fruit or cooked cereal got the most daily fiber. Whole fruit eaters also consumed the least sodium, added sugars, and saturated fat at breakfast among those who ate in the morning.

“Choosing a breakfast of nutrient-dense foods, such as fresh fruits, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy, will make a positive impact on overall diet quality and may help in maintaining a healthy weight,” explains lead researcher Carol E. O’Neil, PhD, MPH, LDN, RD. Smart breakfast choices include oatmeal; low-fat Greek yogurt; whole-grain toast; and fresh fruits like bananas, oranges, and cantaloupe.

If you’re just not hungry or can’t stomach food early in the morning, don’t worry. Nutrition experts agree a proper breakfast can be eaten within 2 to 3 hours after waking up, either at home or on the go, as long as it provides the energy and nutrients you need to power up your day.

Creative breakfast combinations

Though there are lots of options for getting a healthy breakfast, including fresh fruit is a sure fire way to round out the meal. Here are a few ways to include more fruit into your usual breakfast:

• Stir a soft, ripe banana into bubbling stovetop oatmeal for natural sweetness and creaminess.

• Blend fresh or frozen berries with low fat Greek yogurt for a protein-packed smoothie.

• Smash half an avocado onto a slice of whole-grain toast.

• Add sliced peach or nectarine to low-fat cottage cheese and granola.

• Serve a small mixed fruit cup with an egg white veggie omelet.

• Mix fresh pineapple, cantaloupe, or mango chunks into low-fat Greek yogurt.

• Slice a ripe banana onto whole-grain bread with peanut butter.

• Top a toasted whole-grain waffle with sliced strawberries and a dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt.

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