Question: I often find myself running out the door to avoid being late to work, so oftentimes that doesn’t leave me much time to eat in the mornings. What are some quick, easy breakfast ideas on a busy morning?
Answer: Eating a meal in the morning helps your body fuel up for the day, especially if you make that first meal a healthy one. The best options for breakfast are those that include whole grains, protein, and fruits or vegetables, according to researchers at Harvard University Medical School.
Healthy breakfast options also include low-fat or fat-free milk and other dairy items, meats, and meat alternatives, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The benefits to eating breakfast are many. Adults who regularly eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to control their weight, control their blood sugar levels, eat fewer foods that are high in fat and cholesterol, and perform better at work, according to the Mayo Clinic. Kids who regularly eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to have better concentration, miss fewer days of school, maintain a healthy body weight and better meet daily nutrient requirements, the Mayo Clinic says.
So how can you eat healthier in the mornings?
Try adding whole grains to your morning meal, such as whole-grain rolls, bagels, English muffins or waffles. You can also get a good source of whole grains from hot or cold cereal — just make sure it lists whole grains, has 5 grams or more of fiber per serving, less than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving, and less than 5 grams of sugar per serving, Harvard researchers advise.
You should also make sure you include proteins in your meal, such as eggs, lean meat, nuts, legumes or even peanut butter. For low-fat dairy options, you can include skim or 1 percent milk, yogurt and cottage cheese. Don’t forget to include fruits and vegetables in your meal.
And if you choose to include juice, be sure to choose 100 percent juice without added sugar. You shouldn’t have more than an 8-ounce glass, which is a standard serving, because juice is still high in calories.
Some other tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics include:
Smoothies can be a good choice, including those that combine fruit, juice, yogurt, wheat germ or tofu.
Get organized the night before. Set the table with bowls and spoons for cereal. Get out a pan for pancakes or a blender for smoothies. Prepare muffin or waffle mix so it’s ready to cook in the morning.
Keep breakfast simple.
Pack your breakfast to go.
Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or [email protected]