Author: Ilka Harrigan
We live in a society that puts food at the center of all events and celebrations but there is one meal that we are most likely to forget and that is breakfast. Skipping breakfast should not be an option.
According to a recent survey conducted by the NPD, a leading marketing research company; NPD’s Morning MealScape 2011 study revealed that one out of ten or thirty-one million Americans start the day without eating breakfast. The most appealing benefit to eating a hearty breakfast is that it boosts your metabolism and thus helps to burn more calories throughout the day. Eating breakfast tells the body that there will be plenty calories consumed throughout the day but skipping breakfast is a sign that the body’s survival mechanism will kick and it will conserve calories rather than burn them. Eating breakfast within an hour or two after you wake ensures optimal performance. In the event that you may not feel well eating a whole meal early in the morning, try eating a light meal in increments.
It is understandable that breakfast may be the last thing on your mind in the mornings as you rush out the door. No matter how little time you have, making time for breakfast should be your number one priority and while you may wonder why I put emphasis on breakfast, I’ll simply break it down for you.
As a college student there were many mornings when I ran out of the house without eating breakfast, I must admit that on those mornings I felt sluggish, tired, and irritable; I often associated these feelings with lack of sleep not realizing that my morning meal had an impact on my physical and mental activity. Did you know that eating a nutritious, wholesome breakfast can actually help you achieve better grades in school or increase your overall performance due to improved concentration? It is important to get between 350 and 500 calories from breakfast as a heavy breakfast may leave you feeling overwhelmed, tired and sluggish and hinder your ability to concentrate. The right amount of calories from a well balanced diet fuels your brain which elevates short-term and long-term memory. When choosing the right morning meal be sure to include a mixture of complex carbohydrate, protein and fat, these nutrients fuels the body and increases memory.
There are plenty options out there when choosing a quick and healthy morning meal. Meals that you can eat while driving, walking or running out the door in the morning include the following:
Fruit, Nuts and Cheese
Grab an apple or mixed berries, 1 to 2 ounces of cheddar cheese and ¼ cup of protein and fiber rich nuts. All of which can be quickly tossed into a zip lock bag.
Peanut Butter Bagel
Instead of spreading cream cheese or butter on your bagel cut the fat and sugar and use protein rich peanut butter. If your taste buds dislike the taste of peanut butter like mine then you can replace peanut butter with a flavored hummus. 2 tablespoons will do the trick and for more fiber sprinkle raisons or nuts on top.
Now I’m not quite a fan of all energy bars due to their lack of balanced nutrients; when substituting a meal with an energy bar be sure that is has 3 to 5 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. Try brands like Odwalla, Kashi GoLean and TruSoy and combine your energy bar with a yogurt or some fresh mixed fruits.
To get you started here are five indulging smoothies to keep you fuller, longer.
Energy Booster: 1 Cup ice, ½ chopped cucumbers, 2 chopped celery stalks, 1 cup loosely packed parsley stems and leaves, ½ peeled lemon and ¼ cup water.
Sunrise: ½ cup ice, ½ chopped banana, 1 cup chopped pineapple, 1 peeled orange, ½ cup coconut milk.
Carrot Zinger: 1 cup ice, 2 peeled and chopped carrots, 1 cored and chopped apple, ½ inch ginger, 1 tablespoon almond butter, ¼ cup plain yogurt.
Strawberries and Cream: ½ cup ice, 1-1/2 cups frozen strawberries, ½ cup plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
Classic Green: 1 cup ice, ½ chopped banana, ½ cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 2 cups loosely packed spinach.
NPD’s Morning MealScape 2011 study