*Scroll to the bottom to see the infographic*
YES, we know from research that eating breakfast is associated with better health, healthier body weight, and reduced risk of certain chronic diseases (1, 2, 3). Regular breakfast is also considered to contribute to better cognitive health. But it is important to recognize that the type of food you have for breakfast is very important. It’s not rare to see people walking around with a cup of coffee and a pastry for breakfast. Although a donut bay suppress your morning hunger, this will not last. In fact, those who don’t eat a “proper” breakfast are more likely to overeat later in the day.
Breakfast should a complete meal: one that includes nutritious ingredients that provide you with protein, fibre, fat, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals (1). Most important of these are protein and fibre, which help you fill fuller for longer (4, 5). This is specially important for weight management.
High Protein Ingredients
- Greek Yogurt
- Nuts and Seeds
- Nut butters
High Fibre Ingredients
- Whole-grain cereals
- Whole-grain breads
- Beans and other Pulses
- Fruits and Vegetables
Sorry to breakout the news, but pastries do not provide you with much protein or fibre. For example, a blueberry muffin at Starbucks provides 380 kcal, 16 grams fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fibre and 6 grams protein. In comparison, the Spinach, Feta and Egg-white Wrap provides 290 kcal, 10 grams fat, 33 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fibre and 19 grams protein. Please note that I am not promoting this option; in fact, this option is loaded with sodium which would be huge concern with those who have high blood pressure or other health conditions that requires them to monitor their sodium intake. My point is that even when you’re on the go, you can try to make choices that are comparably more nutritious.
Dietitian Approved Breakfast Ideas
What do I do as a dietitian? I like to change it up, so I try different items on my on-the-go breakfast menu, which of course are prepared at home:
- overnight oats (you can see my infographic and video on ideas for overnight oats)
- 2 hard-boiled eggs + fruit on whole-grain bread
- yogurt parfait (you can see my recipe here)
- 1-2 tablespoons natural peanut butter + dried prunes on 1-2 slices whole-grain toast
- scrambled eggs + avocado on whole wheat english muffin
- feta cheese + walnuts + cucumber on whole grain bread
It takes me no longer than 5 minutes to put these together. I have scrambled eggs on the weekend, because it takes some time for it to cook! But honestly, if you commit to preparing your own breakfast either the night before or in the morning, it is not as time consuming as you may think! It definitely takes less time that the lineup at the coffeeshop or the drive through.
O’Neil, C. E., Byrd-Bredbenner, C., Hayes, D., Jana, L., Klinger, S. E., & Stephenson-Martin, S. (2014). The role of breakfast in health: definition and criteria for a quality breakfast. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(12), S8-S26.
Bi, H., Gan, Y., Yang, C., Chen, Y., Tong, X., & Lu, Z. (2015). Breakfast skipping and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Public health nutrition, 18(16), 3013-3019.
- Cahill, L. E., Chiuve, S. E., Mekary, R. A., Jensen, M. K., Flint, A. J., Hu, F. B., & Rimm, E. B. (2013). A prospective study of breakfast eating and incident coronary heart disease in a cohort of male US health professionals. Circulation, 128(4), 337.
- Slavin, J. L. (2005). Dietary fiber and body weight. Nutrition, 21(3), 411-418.
- Leidy, H. J., Clifton, P. M., Astrup, A., Wycherley, T. P., Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S., Luscombe-Marsh, N. D., … & Mattes, R. D. (2015). The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 101(6), 1320S-1329S.