To have a healthier breakfast, we should avoid refined carbohydrates since they cause sugar spikes and make us hungry again soon after. Read on for other recommendations regarding the first meal of the day.
The healthiest breakfast is composed of foods of high nutritional quality, which are sources of protein, fatty acids, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. In addition, it should be eaten in fair portions, as it should not exceed 25% of the daily calorie needs.
Although some people claim this is the most important meal of the day, this statement has been a matter of discussion, as evidence suggests that this is not entirely true. What science does support, however, is that a healthy breakfast can help promote wellness.
Here are some recommendations to follow to perfect the first meal of the day and have a healthier breakfast every morning. Take note.
Why Should We Have a Healthier Breakfast?
A healthier breakfast can bring us some advantages. According to research published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, this first meal of the day is a valid strategy to control appetite.
On the other hand, a study published in the Italian Journal of Pediatrics points out that a healthy breakfast is now associated with a more nutritional body mass index and lifestyle and a better intake of macro and micronutrients.
Other benefits of a healthy breakfast include:
- Consuming the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals.
- Control over daily energy intake.
- Controlling blood glucose levels.
- Positive effects on preventing chronic diseases, such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
- Prevent or control overweight or obesity.
- Improve cognitive function.
- Improved academic and work performance.
What Breakfasts Are Unhealthy?
The big problem with breakfast is that most people tend to make it with unhealthy ingredients. For this reason, many fail to get the benefits mentioned.
Below, we point out the most common mistakes of today’s unhealthy breakfasts:
- Excess refined carbohydrates: white bread, pastries, cakes, pastries, industrial cereals. All these cause sugar spikes and cause us to feel hungry again shortly after. Moreover, as a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition points out, they can contribute to obesity and diabetes in the long term.
- Excess sugars, especially white sugar: the adverse effects of added sugar on the body are controversial. However, research published in Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences suggests that it is linked to an increased risk of obesity and metabolic problems. Therefore, sugary breakfast products are not a good choice.
- Excess dairy: as long as you are not intolerant, dairy can be consumed in moderation. In fact, one study found that they contribute to the need for various nutrients and may protect against chronic diseases. The mistake made when incorporating them into breakfast is to consume them in excessive amounts. It is worth mentioning that, in the case of some cheeses, they usually have a large amount of salt.
- Ultra-processed products: sausages, fried foods, canned foods, pastries, and, in general, any type of ultra-processed product is a bad option for breakfast and the diet in general. Not only do they contain large amounts of sugars and trans fats, but also chemicals (preservatives) that can affect health.
How to Make Breakfast Healthier?
A balanced breakfast should contain the necessary amounts, no more and no less, of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. In this way, the body will digest and assimilate it properly, and we will be able to wake up with energy and feel in a good mood throughout the day.
In addition, we must try to ensure that these nutrients are of the highest possible quality. This is feasible if we always choose natural and fresh foods ahead of those processed.
Foods That Should Be In a Healthy Breakfast
The foods that should be part of a healthy breakfast are those that make an important contribution of all the essential nutrients.
However, it is convenient to choose them with the help of a nutritionist, since the professional can guide us according to our needs.
Some recommended options are:
- Whole grains: the most common is flaked oatmeal, which we can eat raw, as if it were muesli, or cooked. If we prefer a snack, we will choose quality breads, made with whole wheat, rye, etc. flours.
- Vegetable drinks: for example, oats, rice, spelt, etc.
- Lean proteins: I am including eggs (preferably hard-boiled and not fried), a piece of chicken or lean meat, legumes.
- Easily digestible dairy products: this includes kefir, yogurt (with low sugar content), cottage cheese, fresh cheese with low fat content and little salt.
- Nuts without frying or roasting: we can eat them raw, ground or chopped; they provide us with vegetable protein.
- Fresh and seasonal fruit: if possible, also organic, without fertilizers or pesticides.
- Raw sunflower, sesame, flax or pumpkin seeds: we can also take their first cold-pressed oil.
- Natural fruit and vegetable juices.
Examples of Healthy Breakfast
With these options, you will be able to enjoy a delicious first daily meal and, most importantly, you will not lack any nutrients:
- Whole wheat spelt bread sandwich with hummus (chickpea cream) and cottage cheese.
- Whole wheat toast with avocado or salad.
- Stuffed whole wheat pita bread: it can be with hard-boiled egg, cottage cheese and spinach, or with minced chicken or meat.
- Fruit and nut smoothie.
- Muesli with kefir.
- Apple with prunes, yogurt and nuts.
- Vegetable drink with whole grains and cocoa.
- Cooked oat flakes with vegetable drink, cinnamon and pear.
- Cottage cheese with honey, hazelnuts and banana.
With these guidelines in mind, we can create a healthier breakfast quickly and without spending too much. However, when in doubt, it is best to seek advice from a nutrition professional.