This guest blog post is by Angela Stancil, a Registered Dietitian and AHA volunteer.
Studies show that eating breakfast can affect performance, focus, energy and weight. But making healthy choices at the start of a busy day can be tough. Use these tips to help simplify your morning routine.
Prepare foods at home.
Your morning meal may be as simple as coffee and toast, or as complex as a spread of fruits, breads and meats.
Since breakfast meats, cereals and pastries can be rich in added sugars and salt and low in nutrients, prepping some grab-n-go options for the week can be healthier and cheaper.
You can slice fruits and veggies, cheeses and nuts in advance with just a little effort. Beans, eggs and meats like fish or chicken are good sources of lean protein. Pair them with grains such as brown rice, quinoa or oatmeal that can be cooked now and reheated later.
Make easy dishes in advance.
Need a dish that’s simple for the kids to make but filling enough for adults to enjoy? Overnight oats are a smart choice. This remix of classic oatmeal is made in advance and served cold.
Nuts and nut butters, seeds (like pumpkin or chia), fruits, spices and low-fat milk hit several food groups in one meal. Plus, since overnight oats are served cold, they’re handy if you don’t have a microwave.
Think beyond breakfast.
Mornings don’t have to mean breakfast food. If you’re bored with the basics, try leftover vegetables and grains with eggs, beans or chickpeas for a savory breakfast bowl. Or build a breakfast salad with extra dinner proteins.
You can also make sandwiches at home for a healthier, cheaper alternative to fast food breakfasts. For example, last night’s chicken or shrimp in a hummus wrap could make a filling morning treat.
When time is short, whole-grain cereals, shelf-stable milk, fat-free or low-fat yogurt, shelf-stable milk and fish such as salmon or tuna are convenient options. You’ll get high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals without too much salt and added sugar.
Rule of thumb:
Balance lean protein, complex carbs like fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Keep this in mind and you’ll create wholesome meals for the family any time of day.
Angela Stancil is a Registered Dietitian in Los Angeles.