Healthiest Breakfast Foods to Start Your Day off Right
It’s called the most important meal of the day for good reason. A wholesome breakfast every morning is a significant part of a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re rushing out of your home every morning without eating something first, you may want to consider how that affects the rest of your day. Skipping breakfast makes you more likely to overeat later. This sets you up for weight gain. A healthy breakfast boosts your energy levels, satisfies your appetite, and allows you to stay focused.
Healthiest Breakfast Foods
A wholesome breakfast comprises of an adequate amount of protein, fibre, and carbohydrates. And lucky for us, there are many natural foods to choose from. Ditch sugar-loaded energy bars and protein shakes, and opt for whole foods that pack a nutritional punch.
A good breakfast should satiate your hunger, without making you feel sluggish. It should supply enough energy to keep you going until your next meal.
Here’s a list of the healthiest breakfast foods, and the health benefits they have to offer.
There’s no better way to start the day than with a hearty bowl of oats. Oats are heart healthy—they contain beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that research shows can lower cholesterol if consumed frequently. Oats offer a number of other nutrients, too. They are a good source of manganese, selenium, folate, and potassium.
Steel cut oats contain more fibre than instant or rolled oats, but all varieties of oats are healthy. Watch out for flavoured oats as they’re often loaded with added sugars. Plain oats with milk makes for an ideal breakfast. You can also add fruit, Greek yogurt, or nuts to your bowl of oatmeal.
Bananas are nutritious, even if they get a bad rap for being starchy and high in calories. They are a good source of fibre, vitamin C, potassium, and a number of antioxidants. One medium banana has 420 mg of potassium. Bananas benefit digestion, heart health and weight loss.
Bananas are rich in resistant starch, which reduces appetite, and helps keep you full. The greener the banana, the greater its resistant starch content.
Flaxseeds are a high-fibre superfood. Ground flaxseeds are a healthy addition to your morning smoothie or oatmeal. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart healthy fats. Two tablespoons of flaxseeds totally satisfy your recommended daily intake of omega-3 fats. Flaxseeds are a good source of fibre and lignin, a plant estrogen that’s known to have cancer preventive properties.
It’s important to note that you should crush or grind flaxseeds into a powder before you consume them. Whole flaxseeds are hard to digest, making you unable to reap their nutritional benefits.
Eggs get a bad rap, but if you’re a non-vegetarian there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be eating this nutrition-packed food. They contain a long list of nutrients—the most important being protein. They are an inexpensive source of high-quality protein.
Research shows eating protein-rich foods in the morning keep hunger pangs at bay, and prevents you from overeating later. Protein not only keeps you feeling full for longer, but helps promote muscle mass over time.
Eggs are rich in vitamins D, B6, B12, zinc, selenium, iron and copper. Lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs improve eye health. They are also a rich source of choline, a B vitamin that protects and improves memory.
The best part about eggs? There are countless ways to prepare and enjoy them.
Despite their small size, blueberries are nutritional powerhouses. Blueberries offer a range of health benefits, from improving memory and motor skills to boosting metabolism and lowering blood pressure. They owe these benefits to their content of flavonoids—antioxidant compounds found in fruits and vegetables. Wild berries contain the highest concentrations of antioxidants.
A study showed eating blueberries can cut oxidative DNA damage caused by free radicals by 20 per cent.
They have a low calorie content compared to most fruits. One cup of blueberries contains only 80 calories. Eating blueberries is also associated with weight loss. Add blueberries to your cereal, smoothie, and oatmeal—seriously, there’s no wrong way to consume them.
Grapefruit is another weight loss food that makes for a great breakfast. It is rich in vitamin C, fibre, choline, lycopene and potassium. As a citrus fruit it has many benefits to offer, from improving heart health to preventing kidney stones.
The high fibre content of grapefruit satisfies you hunger and keeps you feeling full for longer. Research shows eating a grapefruit as an appetizer before any meal—especially breakfast—can help speed up weight loss.
Cereal is a great way to start the day, but it’s tricky to pick a healthy cereal because there are so many varieties to choose from. Many cereal brands, even though they claim to be healthy, are loaded with sugar and artificial flavours. The ideal cereal should contain more than five grams of fibre and less than five grams of sugar.
Opt for whole-grain or bran cereal. Whole grains keep you feeling full and contain antioxidants that benefit your health. Their high-fibre content will keep you feeling satiated for hours. Fiber-rich cereals promote gastrointestinal health, and lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and colon cancer. As an added bonus, healthy cereals are usually fortified with riboflavin, folic acid, and other important nutrients.
Eat cereal with skim milk or Greek yogurt. You can add fruit, nuts, chia seeds, or any other healthy food to your bowl to make it a wholesome meal.
8. Peanut Butter
All natural peanut butter is a good source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin E and antioxidants. It is also rich in protein, fibre and healthy fats. Make sure you always buy organic peanut butter because most commercial brands are packed with sugar and fillers.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—also known as “healthy fats”—are found in peanut butter. One serving of natural peanut butter has eight grams of monounsaturated fats and four grams of polyunsaturated fats. Healthy fats lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower blood pressure. As peanut butter is high in calories, you should limit your intake to no more than two tablespoons a day.
9. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a superfood so including them in the first meal of your day only makes sense.
According to the American Society for Nutrition, if you are looking for fibre or antioxidants, chia seeds can be a great addition to your diet. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fibre. Adding chia seeds to you oatmeal, smoothies, and yogurt can help suppress your appetite. The fibre content in chia seeds absorbs a lot of water and expands in the stomach. This makes you feel full and slows down absorption of food.
Like flaxseeds, chia seeds are a rich source of heart healthy omega-3 fats. Research shows that gram for gram chia seeds contain more omega-3 fats than salmon.
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