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National Better Breakfast Month: What Makes a Healthy Breakfast?

Sep 28, 2018

healthy breakfast recipes
By Renell Cronk, RDN, LD


“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”  No doubt you have heard this, but keep in mind that just eating breakfast isn’t enough to get your day started off right. September is Better Breakfast Month, so let’s take a look at what actually constitutes a “better breakfast.”


You need to consume a healthy breakfast that is well-balanced and nutrient rich to really reap the benefits. Eating highly processed, nutrient lacking foods like sugar laced cereals or pastries won’t give you all the wonderful benefits breakfast has to offer. Instead, these “top of the morning” offerings spike your blood sugar and can set you up for more cravings throughout the day. Poor choices early in the morning will put your body into a worse state than when you woke up.  So, maybe we should rephrase that saying to “What you choose for breakfast is your most important choice of the day!”


Follow these four rules to ensure you are eating a better, well-balanced and nutrient rich breakfast; Your body will thank you!


Always have a protein source, ideally 20-30 grams

Eating protein helps to normalize blood sugars, makes us feel alert, slows down digestion and keeps us feeling full for hours after eating. Protein is an important component of every cell in the body.  Your hair and nails are mostly made of protein, and your body uses protein to build and repair tissue, make hormones and so much more! It is important to have protein at each meal to ensure optional intake and absorption.

Have a variety of color from fruits and vegetables

Eating an array of colorful fruits and veggies helps to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need to support a healthy body from morning to night. Red/Purple/Blue fruits and vegetables have nutrients that support the heart and brain. Orange/Yellow fruits and vegetables have nutrients that support vision health and skin. Commonly marketed breakfast foods lack these colors and are a contributing reason why only 21% of Americans reach daily fruit intake goals, and a mere 9% hit the mark for vegetables. Experts recommend 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Avoid packaged breakfast foods with more than 10 ingredients

Typically, these foods are highly processed, nutrient less and laced with sugar. This can make you feel sluggish, may lead to overeating throughout the day, and causes your body to be in a fat storage mode rather than fat burning mode. Most breakfast cereals fall into this category, even if they are whole grain with added vitamins and minerals. One cup of most cereal has more sugar then three chocolate chip cookies!

Eat within an hour of waking

The sooner you feed your body, the better. Your metabolism slows during sleep to conserve energy, so the sooner you break the fast by eating, the sooner your metabolism can kick into full gear. Also, you are much more likely to over eat later in the day if you don’t have something within an hour of waking.

Breakfast Recipes

No Bake Energy Bites

Ingredients:

1 cup almond flour

1 scoop protein powder

¼ cup raw cacao powder

¼ cup sesame seeds

¼ cup chia seeds

½ cup almond butter or nut butter of your choice

1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)

2-3 tablespoons raw unfiltered honey or pure maple syrup

Optional toppings: cacao nibs, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds

Directions:

Combine all ingredients into a food processor and process until well combined and in a crumbly, paste-type consistency (don't have a food processor just use hands to mix ingredients together).

Scoop small spoonful’s and squeeze tightly in the palm of your hands then roll between the palms of your hands into a small ball shape.

Serve plain, or roll in cacao nibs, coconut flakes or a topping of your choice. Refrigerate and they will become firmer.

Berry Berry Kaley Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 scoop unflavored protein

¼ cup chopped kale

½ cup frozen mixed berries

1 cup milk or unsweetened milk alternative

Stevia drops to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Turkey Sausage Egg Bake

Ingredients:

8-10 eggs, Beaten

1 lb. Ground turkey sausage cooked

8 oz Shredded mozzarella cheese (or shredded cheese of your choosing).

2 tomatoes, sliced

16 oz frozen broccoli

Salt/pepper to taste

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. Italian herb seasoning

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9”x12” casserole dish. Layer your cooked turkey sausage, frozen broccoli and 6 ounces shredded cheese into greased casserole dish. In a bowl, beat eggs with garlic powder, Italian seasoning and salt/pepper. Once mixed, evenly pour egg mixture over sausage, broccoli cheese mix. Top with sliced tomatoes and the rest of the cheese. Bake for 35-45 min or until the mixture sets and the top is lightly browned (if using more eggs, allow for a longer baking time). Allow to cool for 5-10 min before serving. The bake can be kept in the fridge for at least a week and reheated in the microwave.


About the Author

Renell Cronk is a Registered Dietitian with PsyMed, Inc. She helps educate and prepare Nicholson Clinic patients before and after surgery with meal planning, recipe ideas, nutrition education and more. Nothing gives Renell a greater feeling of accomplishment and joy than helping individuals achieve their health, lifestyle and nutrition goals.

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