Re-printed from the Harvard Health Letter
The morning meal “breaks the fast” and replenishes blood sugar (glucose) levels that are normally low after a night’s sleep. But it isn’t just a matter of timing. Whether the day’s inaugural meal is healthful depends on its content, too, according to the June 2011 Harvard Health Letter.
“Skipping breakfast throws off the normal circadian rhythm of fasting and feeding. Breakfast is the worst time to skip a meal,” said Dr. David Ludwig, a nutrition expert at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, in an interview with the Health Letter.
The breakfast carbohydrates should have fiber and the proteins should be lean. You can healthful fats from foods like nuts or salmon. Here are eight tips from the Harvard Health Letter for putting together a healthful breakfast:
* Read food labels. Look for the information on serving size and calories. And if it’s a grain-based food, you want a whole grain of some kind (wheat, oats, etc.) to be first in the list of ingredients.
* Know your coffee drink. Many of those elaborate coffee drinks are unhealthy high-calorie, high–saturated fat versions of your basic cup of coffee.
* Make processed eats like bacon a very occasional treat. Processed meats like bacon and sausage have been associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes
* Seek out quality carbs. Get your carbohydrates from whole grains, fruit, and vegetables.
* Eggs in moderation are okay. One a day is okay for most healthy people. The yolk is high in cholesterol, but eggs have proteins and vitamins and don’t appear to increase the risk for developing heart disease.
* Go easy on the fruit juice. Whole fruit is a better choice because it tends to have more fiber.
* Eat in, not out. The breakfast offerings at fast-food chains tend to be high in sodium and low in fiber. And the traditional fare (eggs and bacon, pancakes) can start the day with too many calories and too much saturated fat.
* Blend up a breakfast smoothie. Processed food is usually not healthful but a little home processing is okay. You can combine fruit, juice, yogurt, wheat germ, and other ingredients in a blender and make something delicious and healthful.