No time for breakfast? The most important meal of the day and you say you don’t have time? No time for a meal that will jumpstart your metabolism and get you revved up for the day? The fact is you’re not alone. Some people don’t like to eat right when they wake up and others just don’t seem to squeeze it in to their busy morning routine.
Despite knowing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, 40% of Canadians skip breakfast. When you skip breakfast, you miss out on an important opportunity to get enough protein, fibre, iron and other nutrients you need in your day. There are several ways a complete breakfast can help you.
After an overnight fast, your blood sugar levels are low, and your brain is running on low energy supplies. Breakfast provides your brain with the carbohydrate energy it needs to concentrate, be alert and perform better on skill testing questions. Driving a truck requires an alert and responsive brain and body. Breakfast can help.
Healthy Body Weight:
Studies show that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than those who skip breakfast. People trying to lose weight have better success with weight loss and keeping the weight off when they eat breakfast. According to Public Health Nutrition 2015, Bi et al., skipping breakfast can have adverse effects such as increasing the risk for Type II Diabetes.
Iron: Iron is an essential nutrient that we need to get from food. Non-heme iron coming from plant sources such as oats, cereals, nuts, eggs, leafy greens and toast is not well absorbed. Vitamin C improves absorption of iron when consumed at the same meal. Vitamin C also facilitates the incorporation of iron into its storage protein ferritin. Delicious sources of vitamin C include 100% pure orange juice, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, oranges, onions, peppers, tomatoes and broccoli. Have ½ a cup of OJ with your peanut butter toast or add blueberries to your cereal to add vitamin C to your breakfast.
Fibre: Women need 25g of fibre per day and men need 38g of fibre per day. Fiber helps keep you regular, improve digestion and is a fuel for your good bacteria. Breakfast is one of the most important meals for getting fibre in your diet. Oatmeal and All Bran Buds are two fantastic cereals providing soluble fibre which helps lower cholesterol. In particular, the beta-glucan in oats has been shown to lower blood cholesterol and Health Canada recognized that role by approving a health claim about it. Whole grain breads such as Silver Hills provide 5 g of fibre per slice. Fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts also provide a source of fibre. Pack a snack pack of All Bran Buds in your cab in case of emergency.
Potassium: A diet low in sodium and high in potassium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke and heart disease. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of potassium and are naturally low in sodium, not to mention they are full of antioxidants. Adding a fruit or vegetable to your breakfast can increase your potassium and help lower blood pressure.
Protein: Protein acts like an anchor for your carbohydrate energy and makes it last longer. Getting enough protein at breakfast will ensure your energy lasts through the morning, keeping you full until snack time. Great breakfast proteins include eggs, milk, yogurt, Greek yogurt, cheese, soymilk, nuts, nut butters, seeds and protein powders. Lentils, tofu, chicken and fish are also sources of protein. When making breakfast, be sure to always include protein. Toss walnuts on your oatmeal, add some Greek yogurt to a smoothie or scramble an egg to put on toast.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are your body’s best fuel source but if they are high in sugar or low in fibre they don’t last long. White or refined carbohydrates are digested easily and absorbed quickly. Choose sources of carbohydrates that are nutrient dense and offer a source of fibre such as whole grain breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables. The fibre will slow the rise and fall of blood sugars helping energy last longer.
Winning Breakfast Combinations:
Egg Sandwich – Fry an egg in olive oil, meanwhile, toast a whole wheat English muffin, add a slice of cheese, a slice of tomato, baby spinach and your egg and go.
Really Quick Fix – Microwave scrambled egg in a mug and place on bread with ketchup
Breakfast Smoothie – Blend your favorite combination of frozen berries, sweet fruit such as banana or mango, leafy green such as spinach or kale, and a source of protein from either Greek yogurt, almond butter or protein powder. Add your liquid such as almond milk, coconut water, juice or water for a delicious smoothie. Quick Tip: Place all ingredients in the blender the night before so you can simply blend and pour in the morning.
Really Quick Fix- Use Ready to Blend Frozen Smoothies from The Good Stuff Co.
Tomato Avocado Toasts – Toast whole grain bread, spread with low fat ricotta or goat cheese, avocado and sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a drizzle of flavoured olive oil if desired. Quick Tip: Spread avocado on toast, sprinkle with hemp hearts and go.
Really Quick Fix: slice of leftover pizza from dinner (hopefully homemade)
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait – In a mason jar add a layer of blueberries and kiwi, top with a spoonful of Greek Vanilla yogurt and sprinkle of All Bran Buds or granola. Add another layer of raspberries and banana, spoonful of yogurt, sprinkle of walnuts. Quick tip: Use canned peaches instead of fresh fruit.
Really Quick Fix: Yogurt container and an apple
Egg Wrap – Whip an egg with 1 Tbsp milk in a mug and microwave 1 minute on high. Place egg on whole grain tortilla, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, baby spinach, avocado and tomato. Quick Tip: precook several hard-boiled eggs and slice them instead of scrambled egg, top with salsa.
Really Quick Fix – Make the night before and just reheat in microwave.
Fruit and Cheese – Slice up an apple and serve it with cheddar cheese cubes and ½ cup walnuts. Quick Tip: Toss these in a container the night before and have it ready to take out the door.
Really quick fix: can’t get any quicker than that
Cottage Cheese and Fruit – top ½ -3/4 cup cottage cheese with sliced bananas, berries and melon. Serve with a slice of whole grain rye toast if you are still hungry. Quick Tip: use fruit salad from dinner the night before
Really Quick Fix: Use canned peaches with cottage cheese
Peanut Butter Waffle (or whole grain bagel) – toast a whole grain or high fibre waffle or bagel, spread with peanut butter, banana slices and sprinkle with hemp hearts. Quick Tip: Make a batch of waffles on the weekend and freeze for weekday breakfast.
Really Quick Fix: waffle, PB and OJ
Muffin, Fruit and Milk – better than a doughnut and coffee. Serve it with a glass of milk and a handful of blueberries. Quick Tip: Try making a batch of muffins on the weekend and freeze them for the week. Use a muffin mix and add your own nuts and fruit.
Really Quick fix – Whole grain granola bar, milk to go and a banana
Energy to Go – Try an energy bar that contains about 10g of protein such as kashi, Luna, Perfect 10, Larabar.
Get rid of the pop tarts, the jam filled Eggo waffles and the sugar cereal. Avoid the donut shop on the way to work and the Tim Hortons fat filled muffins. Say no to fast food breakfasts and start a new habit. Start your day right with a healthy meal that leaves you feeling satisfied but not stuffed and provides you with energy that will last.