Morning routines are hard to break. If your idea of breakfast is grabbing coffee and a doughnut on your way to work, finding time to eat healthfully in the morning may seem daunting. With a little planning, however, it’s easier than you think.
Here are some healthy breakfast suggestions, which follow the basic formula of equal parts whole grains + lean protein + fruit:
- One serving whole-grain cereal (at least 5 grams of fiber and less than 5 grams of sugar) + ½ cup milk (skim or 1 percent milk or unsweetened soymilk) + a small banana or ½ cup berries.
- One ½ cup cooked oatmeal with cinnamon+ 2 tablespoons nuts + ½ cup berries.
- A slice of 100 percent whole-grain bread + 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter + a small banana.
- Breakfast sandwich: 100 percent whole-wheat English muffin or whole-grain mini bagel + an egg or a slice of low-fat cheese + an orange.
- Breakfast burrito: one small whole-wheat tortilla + a scrambled egg or a slice of low-fat cheese and salsa + a few slices of mango.
- Two slices of whole-grain toast or one whole-grain English muffin + ¹⁄³ cup low-fat cottage cheese + ¾ cup pineapple. One whole-grain waffle + ½ cup low-fat milk + ½ cup berries.
For a lighter breakfast
- One serving whole-grain crackers + 1 ounce low-fat cheese + ¾ cup grapes.
- One orange or small glass of low-sodium vegetable juice + ¼ cup nuts.
- One small apple or banana + 1 tablespoon peanut butter.
- One hard-boiled egg + ½ cup baby carrots + 2 tablespoons low-fat dip.
About that coffee drink
Your coffee can be a source of hidden calories. Many people order large coffee drinks laden with milk and sugar, which can equal the caloric content of an entire meal. Even a modest tall (12-ounce) café latte made with skim milk adds 100 calories to your daily total.
Today’s specialty coffee drinks can up the ante much more, making it easy to load up on unhealthy fat, sugar and calories without eating a bite of food. And because liquid calories are less satiating than solid food, sweet drinks increase the chance that you will consume excess calories. Studies also show that consuming too many sugary foods and beverages can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Moreover, research cites sugar-sweetened beverages like coffee drinks as a major source of added sugar in the American diet and a major contributor to weight gain.
Coffee by itself isn’t a bad thing. It contains caffeine, which boosts alertness. It also has been linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and overall risk of death. The catch is that you need to avoid adding a lot of calories to it. Stick with black coffee, or add only a little milk or sugar. Once you’ve had your coffee boost, switch to beverages that have no sugar. To get adequate hydration — anything watery counts — including water, tea, coffee, soup, oranges and watermelon. You’re drinking enough if your urine is pale or clear.