Our elders always insisted on not skipping breakfast. According to them, it is the most important meal of the day. Although it is absolutely right, our hectic and tiring schedules block the wisdom of their words and prevent us from cooking and consuming fresh ht breakfast meals such as upma, poha or dosa. Modern life has taken its toll on our time, ability and patience. Reaching for a ready sugary cereal is more convenient than cooking oatmeal porridge. As expected, this convenience comes with a hefty price – our health.
Skipping breakfast or wrong breakfast choices tend to aggravate cravings and encourage impulsive eating that adversely affects our health. Research studies indicate that a solid breakfast can curb fatigue, improve cholesterol levels, improve health and aid weight loss. We need to put on the brakes, take a long hard look at our breakfast choices and adopt fresh healthier meals that can be made beforehand, are nutritious, quick and easy to prepare.
What does a nutritious breakfast look like?
Although most people know that eating a healthy breakfast is the right way to start the day, they are unsure of how to make the most nutritious choices. To pick the foods that energize and satiate minus the high calories is a daunting task. However, most studies defining healthy breakfast indicate balanced meals containing fruits, lean protein and/or whole grains and not meals loaded with fat and calories. A nutritious breakfast is a meal that has phytonutrient-dense fruits, low-fat lean protein and complex carbohydrates such as whole grain and whole grain products.
Dairy is usually low fat and oil or butter is kept to a minimum. Inclusion of protein is very important as it makes you alert, prevents blood sugar imbalance and fills you up. Carbohydrates, like fruits and whole grains, provide energy and the best ones deliver high fiber to aid digestion. Unfortunately, many people make the wrong carbohydrate choices, reaching for ready sugary cereals, white bread or worse, pastries that provide no nutrients and empty calories.
What makes a nutritious breakfast so important?
Research reveals several significant reasons for adopting a smart eating plan for the first meal of the day.
Quota of recommended food groups and essential nutrients: Surveys show that by eating a nutritious whole foods inclusive breakfast, you better your chances of reaching the recommended servings of whole grains, fruits and vegetables in a day. Nutritionally speaking, when you have breakfast, there is more of a guarantee that you are getting the nutrients you need every day.
Sustain optimal health: Dozens of studies have shown that people, who eat plenty of whole grains fruits and vegetables, generally have a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.
Fiber quotient: Most healthy and nutritious breakfast cereals are fortified with essential nutrients and are fortified with essential nutrients and are rich in fiber, something most of us do not get enough of. Nutritionist and dieticians claim that we need to ingest 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day for optimal health. Fiber helps regulate blood glucose levels, prevents constipation and lowers serum cholesterol levels.
Optimal weight: Eating a healthy, wholesome, high-fiber breakfast helps pave the route to optimal weight. High-fiber foods fill you fewer calories. Fiber also slows the digestive process, which in turn wards off hunger pangs later.
- Helps to maintain a healthy weight
- Fuel for the day
- Improved concentration
- Important for growth and development
- Gives the body nutrition and substance for the day head
The Benefits of Healthy Breakfast:
If you are one of those who underestimate the power of a good breakfast, it is time to reconsider your attitude and adopt wiser eating habits to kick-start your day. Listed below are some benefits of having a wholesome hearty breakfast.
Weight control: Research conducted on both adults and children reveal that breakfast-eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast-skippers. One reason could be that skipping breakfast triggers fat storage, signaling to the body that there might be storage of food. The body, therefore, starts retaining calories for future use. Another reason behind this could be that eating a healthy breakfast reduces hunger throughout the day and enables people to make better food choices at other meals.
Consistent energy levels: Eating a nutritious breakfast with a good balance of food groups crashes and curbs cravings for stimulant foods like coffee and sugary junk foods. A good breakfast energizes and keeps you on an even keel throughout the day. Without eating breakfast, you are more vulnerable to cravings and less likely to make healthy choices in the morning and throughout the day.
Better concentration: Food is what determines our mood and level of productivity. A wholesome breakfast not only energizes but also satiates. A breakfast high in whole grain foods increases levels of serotonin, the ‘feel good’ hormone that helps calm the mind and increase concentration. When we are satiated, we tend to be better focused and more productive at work.
Longevity and wellness: Better physical and mental health is definitely one of the payoffs of having a nutritious breakfast. Typically, most breakfast eaters have a higher intake of essential vitamins and minerals. They also have lower serum cholesterol levels, which are associated with reduced danger of heart disease. According to webd.com, researchers from the Georgia Centenarian Study reported that people who reach the ripe old age of 100 tend to consume breakfast more regularly than those who skip the first meal of the day.
Healthy Breakfast Recipes:
1 ripe banana
2 tbsp, rolled oats, pre-soaked for 10 minutes
4 dates, pitted and pre-soaked for 10 minutes
1 tbsp. black raisins, pre-soaked for 10 minutes
1tbsp. flaxseeds, pre-soaked for 20 minutes
4 almonds, pre-soaked for 20 minutes
300 ml water
Place all the ingredients together in a food processer or blender and blend until smooth. Add more water if the mixture is too thick. Pause in between blending to prevent the smoothie from heating. The natural fruit enzymes are destroyed with heat. Pour in tall glasses and serve fresh.
Avocado Breakfast Crostini:
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. cream cheese
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
1small red chili, deseeded and chopped
4 slices of whole meal of multigrain bread
Slice avocado and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the lime juice and add olive oil, basil leaves, garlic and red chili. Toast the bread slices and spread some cream cheese on one side. Cut it half diagonally and pace the herbed avocado slices on the toasted bread. Drizzle some sweet chili sauce on top and garnish with spring onion. Serve immediately.
Note: you can also top it with tomatoes and anchovies (optional)
Wholesome Breakfast Frittata:
2 sweet potatoes
1 spring onion, chopped
½ tsp. salt, divided
1tsp. black pepper (freshly ground)
4 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 tbsp. virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove (minced)
2 tbsp. finely grated hard cheese
1/2cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp. mixed dried Italian herbs
Preheat oven to 350 degree Celsius. Place the sweet potato and potato in a saucepan and cover with water. Gently reduce the heat and simmer until they are tender and drain the water. Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and slice thinly. Combine spring onions, pepper, salt, egg white and eggs in a bowl and whisk until mixed well. Take a non-stick skillet, add one tablespoon olive oil to it and heat. Add potato slices and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Use a spatula to gently press the potato mixture. Now pour the egg mixture on top and cook for minute. Stir the mixture together and press it down using the spatula and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle some cheese on top. Place in an oven and bake at 350 degree Celsius for six minutes. Remove from oven, loosen the sides of frittata from pan and place on a serving platter. Cut into four wedges. Garnish with herbs and top with tomatoes.
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. jiggery
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup skim milk
1 tbsp. butter (unsalted), melted +1 tbsp. butter for sautéing the banana slices
2 banana, sliced into quarter-inch rounds
Preheat the oven to 175 degree Celsius. Take a medium bowl and whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and nutmeg powder. Add the milk, egg and butter; whisk till the mixture is slightly lumpy. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spread the batter and make pancakes. Keep aside. Place the banana rounds on the skillet and put one tablespoon of butter on each round. Cook for about two minutes till you see large bubbles on the surface of the rounds. Place the rounds on a baking sheet and warm them slightly in a oven. Repeat the same with other banana rounds. Sauté the remaining banana slices in butter till they turn golden and serve along with the pancakes.