Power breakfast?

For me, breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Don’t believe it? Check out this summary of the positive impact of breakfast on kids’ academic achievement. Or this Web MD feature on the benefits of breakfast. Once I started reading food blogs, my breakfasts were really kicked up a notch and that “boring” bowl of oats has been transformed into all kinds of magic by a creative rotation of toppings including nut butters, coconut flakes, dried or fresh fruit and even chocolate or butterscotch chips.

However, we all get in a rut or leave the house late and have to grab something to go . . . which happened to me a few weeks ago when I chose my breakfast at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru on the way to work. I realized that my plain toasted bagel with cream cheese, though delicious and something I hadn’t had in ages, maybe wasn’t the best nutritionally. My post-meal analysis from the Dunkin’ site has revealed that the bagel was 330 calories, 3g fat, 3g fiber with cream cheese of 150 calories, 15g fat and no fiber. I’m a Weight Watchers fan and while I can’t tell you the actual Weight Watchers points of that meal, let’s just say it was HALF my daily allowance, all before 9am! Did I learn my lesson? Maybe . . . the following week, same situation. I chose the grilled cheese flatbread and later found out it has 370 calories, 18g fat and 1 g fiber. Almost the same number of WW points! If I run into this again, the best choice would be the egg white veggie flatbread, which has 290 calories, 9g fat and 3g fiber. This is about equivalent to the points for my big bowl of oats with toppings, which has about 250 calories, 15g fat (healthy fat from nut butter) and the oats have 4g fiber per serving with nut butter about 3g fiber.  Unfortunately, mornings are often not the best for a slow, sit-down breakfast when running off to work or school. Below are some ideas from the above Web MD article.

Choosing the Right Breakfast Foods

This just goes to show how important it is to choose the right foods for breakfast. A healthy breakfast meal should contain a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, and lean protein. 

Even if you think you don’t have time to eat breakfast, there are grab-and-go options that fill the bill. Some quick and healthy choices include:

  • A veggie omelet and a piece of whole-wheat toast
  • A whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat cheese, a scrambled egg, and slice of tomato or lean ham
  • Smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt
  • Salmon on 1/2 whole-grain bagel with light cream cheese
  • Whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk
  • Oatmeal made with skim milk, raisins and nuts, with 4 ounces of orange juice
  • Low-fat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit
  • Yogurt smoothie and breakfast bar
  • Hard-boiled egg and a banana
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