Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and starting the day with a healthy breakfast has many benefits. For starters, it helps to get your metabolism flowing which will burn calories and give you adequate amounts of energy for the rest of the day. This is important because after a night of sleeping, your body wakes up starved for calories. Without the proper caloric intake, not only will you feel listless, but you may be prone to overeating later in the day. Breakfast has also been found to improve memory and concentration, lower levels of bad cholesterol, and decrease the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Not only is eating breakfast important, but eating the right kind of breakfast is important too. An ideal breakfast should be both balanced and able to keep you full for at least a few hours after eating. A healthy breakfast should also comprised of three basic elements: carbohydrates, proteins, and fruit, with carbohydrates and protein being the primary components. Fruit is important too, but should be added as a complement to carbohydrates and protein.
Whole grains are the most ideal source of carbohydrates. Oatmeal and whole-grain cereal provide an adequate amount of carbohydrates, however pay attention to the sugar content on the cereal. A good cereal is one that has less than six grams of sugar per serving and at least five grams of fiber. Oatmeal has many dietary benefits including omega-3 fatty acids, folate, potassium, and fiber. Oatmeal mixed with yogurt or peanut butter, or topped with honey, fruit, and nuts provides an easy, delicious, and healthy breakfast option. If you are not into oatmeal or cereal, another good option is whole grain wheat toast topped with cottage cheese, avocado, egg, or almond butter.
In addition to carbohydrates, you will also want to add a source of protein to your breakfast. Protein will ensure that you remain full for an extended period of time, longer than carbs or fat will. This will ultimately prevent you from overeating. Ideal sources of breakfast protein are: eggs, tofu, peanut butter, fish, lean meats, milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is a versatile food that can either be spread on toast or mixed with fruit, and provides twenty-five grams of protein per cup. Eggs are another common breakfast choice, as they have six grams of protein and choline, which promotes brain and liver health.
The final element of a healthy breakfast is the fruit. This requirement can be satisfied with a cup of fruit juice, although whole fruit is recommended because of the fiber content. Bananas are a good choice since they resist starch and keep you feeling full longer. They are also high in potassium and can be easily added to oatmeal or cereal.
Another popular choice are berries due to their many health benefits. Most berries are low in calories while also being high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help the body improve memory, motor skills, blood pressure, and metabolism. Strawberries also contain high levels of vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber, and raspberries have certain cancer-fighting properties.
Two other common breakfast fruits include cantaloupe and kiwi. Cantaloupe has high levels of both vitamin A and vitamin C, while kiwi has high levels of vitamin C, potassium, copper, and fiber.