Do you skip eating breakfast or maybe skimp on breakfast? For some, not being hungry in the morning or not having enough time is a good reason to skip this important meal altogether. But you might want to re-think that habit.

Nut butter spread on a piece of toast
Nut butter instead of butter or margerine on toast offers a powerful protein boost.

Breakfast is your body’s early morning refueling after eight or more hours without a meal. Your body needs to refuel for the day ahead whether you’re going to school, going to work, staying at home. Whatever the activity is, your body needs food energy to get you through the day. Also, think of breakfast as a marker for healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle and not just a source of food energy. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, individuals who regularly eat a morning meal usually consume more vitamins, minerals and fiber for the day.

So, what’s a good breakfast? Well, there’s no real consensus on what foods make the best breakfast. A lot depends on what and how much you eat the rest of the day.

Bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries
A bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh fruit or walnuts makes a great breakfast choice.

 Select foods that you enjoy, that are easy and quick to prepare and clean-up. Stay away from foods that provide no real nutritional benefit and are high in added sugars, saturated fats and calories. Choose foods from at least three of the food groups including protein-rich foods and whole grains which are rich in fiber. Try to include a serving of fruit into your breakfast. It could be a fruit smoothie, a serving of fresh blueberries or strawberries or perhaps 100% fruit juice. Don’t leave out a calcium choice as well such as a fat-free or low-fat dairy. 

Looking for a protein boost in the morning? Here are 6 fast and easy suggestions from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

  1. Eat a grab-in-go bran muffin and banana. Partner this with a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese or a large, hard-boiled egg for 6 more grams of protein. 
  2. Spread 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on your toast instead of butter or margarine. Or try 4 tablespoons of hummus for 5 grams of protein.
  3. Switch the yogurt with added sugars to 6 ounces of Greek yogurt for 18 grams of protein. If you are paying attention to your calcium count for the day, unless fortified with calcium, Greek yogurt likely has less calcium than regular yogurt. Read the nutritional facts label for more information.
  4. Make oatmeal with milk instead of water for 8 grams of protein. Top your oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of walnuts for 2 more grams of protein or add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to your oatmeal.
  5. Add ham or Canadian bacon to a breakfast sandwich. Or try adding an ounce of Cheddar cheese to your sandwich for 6 grams of protein.
  6. Give your smoothie a protein boost beyond the milk or yogurt. Instead, add a 1-ounce scoop of whey protein for 16 grams of protein or add a tablespoon or about 1/2 ounce of chia seeds for 2 or more grams of protein.

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Well, it’s hard to say one meal is more important than another, but spreading nutrients out throughout the day is generally advised. So, with this, starting the day with a healthy meal can get you off to a good start. 

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by Maria Portelos-Rometo

Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert

Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.

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