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Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Breakfast for Champions

Growing up we would often hear a commercial about the breakfast of champions.  Who doesn’t want to be a champion?  Many people skip breakfast altogether so this post isn’t for them.  But for those of us who eat breakfast, what is a “good” breakfast?  What is a “healthy” breakfast?  So many of my students who eat breakfast say it has no “staying power” they get hungry soon after eating breakfast.  So what can you do to have a healthy breakfast with “staying power”?   Consumer Reports recently did an excellent article on “Breakfast Matters”.  Some highlights:
 Why Breakfast:
  • Breakfast eaters have better diets overall.  They eat more fruits, vegetables, milk and whole grains than breakfast skippers.
  • Eat within 2 hours of waking up and you positively affect blood glucose levels for not just the morning hours but the entire day.
  • Skip breakfast and your body can send off more of the “hunger” hormone, called Ghrelin.  Thus, you might overeat at your next meal.
What to eat for breakfast:
  • Skip the doughnut and coffee.  While black coffee has health benefits, the doughnut does not.  Skip the Pop-Tart and Sunny D – high sugar, highly refined carbs and not healthy choices.
  • Cereal  can be a healthy choice if you choose wisely.
  • Choose whole grain cereals – all General Mills cereals are whole grain so all offer some health benefits.  Consumer Reports recommended 5 top cereals:
    • Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli
    • Kind Vanilla Blueberry Cluster with Flax Seeds
    • Cheerios – those commercials are true, oats are good for your heart
    • Cheerios Multigrain
    • Post Grape Nuts – kids may not like these but many adults do and a healthy choice
  • Yogurt – a great way to up the protein in your breakfast.  This is what will give your breakfast “staying power” as it takes longer to digest proteins than carbs.  Consumer Reports noted research shows eating 24-35 grams of protein for breakfast will prevent weight gain and stabilize your blood sugar, and makes you fill fuller than cereal and carbs alone.  You can top your cereal with yogurt or eat it separately.  One cup of yogurt topped with one fourth cup of almonds would add 33 grams of protein to your breakfast.
  • Other protein ideas  - instead of yogurt eat an egg or have a slice of whole wheat toast with nut butter or peanut butter.  Eggs get a bad wrap but they are healthy and the American Heart Association allows an egg a day for healthy adults (Good Eggs) . 
Calories:  Women aim for 400 calories for breakfast, guys 500.  I like a big breakfast and often eat 500 or so calories for breakfast.  Breakfast calories increases your satiety, you are less likely to overeat at lunch or overeat later in the day.

Sources:  Breakfast Matters, Good Eggs  Image source:  Breakfast

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