The meaning of “breakfast” is literally breaking the fast since you would have last eaten dinner the night before and would not have eaten for 6-9 hours. Breakfast has so many benefits, which is why we always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast should provide you with 20-25% of your total daily nutrient requirements. It is important to have a variety of foods in your daily diets, especially at breakfast, and it is important to check the labels as some breakfast products may have added sugar or salt in them.
Importance of Breakfast
It helps restore the energy that you have lost while you were asleep
It helps give you energy for your morning activities
It helps you consume fibre, vitamins, and even some minerals
It is important to set a regular time to eat breakfast (and all your other meals as well) as it has shown to:
Improve glycemic control
Reduce weight gain
Curb hunger pangs
Did you know research shows that eating breakfast:
Helps to improve concentration, mood and performance
People who do not skip breakfast are less likely to be overweight
Helps with weight control
Helps you have a reduced risk of certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes
Missing breakfast increases feelings of hunger, and this may cause us to snack more. Although snacks are not always a bad thing, you do not get nearly as many essential nutrients we need from meals. Snacking also throws off a regular eating pattern.
Here are some examples of healthy things to include to your breakfast to start your day and their benefits:
Including a protein source at breakfast provides energy to last us until lunch. Try varying your protein sources and try not to have meat for breakfast everyday. However, if you choose to have meat than try grilling or poaching instead of frying.
Poached, boiled, or scrambled egg
2. Complex Carbohydrates/Whole Grains
Carbohydrates often get wrongfully labelled as "bad". Yes, not all carbohydrate sources are created equally, whole grains help to provide fibre and the much needed energy to start your day. Cereals are a great choice for breakfast because they are often fortified with iron, calcium, and other vitamins. Starchy carbohydrates such as fruit breads, English muffins, and scones will help start your metabolism. When selecting foods, look for products made with whole grains as they are sources of fibre.
Porridge and oats have a been shown to have a positive effect on total cholesterol!
Healthy fats are an important part of any meal, including breakfast. Fats, along with fibre from whole grains and fruits and vegetables, help you feel full and satiated. There are to types of "good fats": monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These can be found in things like avocados, nuts and seeds, olives, milk and dairy products. Dairy is also an important source of calcium. If you do not consume dairy products, be sure to include milk alternatives such as soy milk, nut milks, oat or rice milk are unsweetened and are fortified with nutrients like calcium.
Milk and dairy products
If you do not like milk alone, put it in cereal or a smoothie
There is also almond, soy, oat, coconut and rice milk (alternatives to cow’s milk)
Try yogurt with fresh fruit sprinkled on top
Add sliced olives to your eggs
Consume different types of nuts and seeds (walnuts, sunflower seeds)
Avocado garnish in smoothie bowl
4. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are great sources of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre needed by the body. Frozen berries, and fruits are a great way to increase fruit intake if you are looking for ways to save money when they are not in season. Vegetables are sometimes a bit harder to add into your breakfast, but sneaking them into a smoothie is a great way to get some veggies in!
Add chopped fruits to your cereal or oats
Eat 1 fruit along with your breakfast cereal
Can have a fruit salad for breakfast
Add vegetables like bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes to your eggs
5. Make sure to have something to drink
Hydrating the body is also a necessary part of your breakfast routine after a night of fasting. Water, milk, and other dairy alternatives are good options.
My final tips for a healthy breakfast are:
Limit foods that have vegetable oil based spreads
Avoid fizzy drinks for breakfast
Remember to include water
Remember to read the label and make sure the foods chosen do not have added sugars or salts
Let me know what your what changes you'll be making to your breakfast to make it a healthier one in the comments below!
Are you ready to begin your healthy lifestyle journey but don't know where to start? Join me and many other women with The Muslimah’s Meal Plan!