Saturday, August 28, 2010

Breakfast for Champions

Breakfast for Champions


It might be the last thing on your morning to-do list, or it might not be on your list at all. But a healthy breakfast refuels your body and jump-starts your day. So don't overlook this important meal. Select healthy options that fit your taste and lifestyle, and put breakfast back into your morning.

The benefits of a healthy breakfast

Breakfast not only starts your day off right, but also lays the foundation for lifelong health benefits. People who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to:

  • Consume more vitamins and minerals and less fat and cholesterol
  • Have better concentration and productivity throughout the morning
  • Control their weight
  • Have lower cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease

Best bets for a healthy breakfast

A healthy breakfast should consist of a variety of foods, for example, whole grains, low-fat protein or dairy sources, and fruit. This provides complex carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of fat - a combination that delays hunger symptoms for hours and refuels your body from an early morning run.

To make a healthy breakfast each day, choose one item from at least three of the following four food groups:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables, 100 percent juice without added sugar
  • Grains. Whole-grain rolls, bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, low-fat bran muffins, crackers, or melba toast 
  • Dairy. Skim milk, low-fat yogurt cups or low-fat cheeses, such as cottage and natural cheeses
  • Protein. Hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, lean slices of meat and poultry, or fish, such as water-packed tuna or slices of salmon

For a healthy breakfast on the go, munch dry, ready-to-eat cereal with a banana and drink a small carton of low-fat or skim milk. The best cereals are those that are higher in fiber.

Nontraditional

If you dislike regular breakfast foods, try something different, such as:

  • Leftover vegetable pizza
  • Fresh fruit topped with low-fat yogurt and crispy whole-grain cereal
  • Vegetables, salsa and low-fat shredded cheeses wrapped in a tortilla
  • A smoothie blended from exotic fruits, some low-fat yogurt and a spoonful of wheat germ
  • Whole-wheat crackers with low-fat cheese
  • A microwaved potato topped with broccoli and grated Parmesan cheese

Eating out can be healthy

You can even make healthy breakfast choices at fast-food restaurants. Whole-grain bagels, rolls and English muffins are better for you than fat-filled doughnuts, scones, croissants or biscuits. Skip the oversized breakfast sandwiches, bacon, sausage and whole milk.

Skip Breakfast at Your Own Risk

Think you're saving calories by skipping breakfast? Chances are you'll be ravenous by lunchtime, which may lead you to eat more. Or your hunger at midmorning may tempt you to indulge in a high-fat treat that someone brought to the office.

Skipping breakfast after a morning run can delay recover, onset fatigue and hinder your next run!

Your morning meal doesn't have to mean loading up on sugar, fat and cholesterol. Making nutritious breakfast choices can set you up for healthier eating all day long.

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