By Ashley Evans, Clinical Dietitian Baptist Health Medical Center-Hot Spring County
Millions of Americans regularly skip breakfast for many reasons. Some of those reasons include wanting to lose weight or oversleeping. But according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eating breakfast helps with brain function, attention span, concentration, and memory. Eating breakfast can reduce irritability and tiredness. It also helps prevent overeating later in the day.
Below are some ways to help make breakfast easier to achieve.
Time can be one of the biggest obstacles to eating a healthy breakfast. Breakfast is often eaten quickly, which can result in overeating. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to receive signals from the stomach to notify you that you are actually full.
Here are some tips for overcoming the morning rush:
- Map out your meals. Have an idea of what you are going to eat for breakfast before you go to the grocery store.
- Do not overcomplicate your menu. Breakfast can be as simple as low-fat yogurt and whole-grain cereal.
- Spread it out. Some people complain of not being hungry in the morning. Have a piece of fruit with a glass of low-fat milk in the morning and then a low-sugar granola bar at work.
An important part of portion control is learning to read food labels. Below are some other tips for controlling portion sizes:
- Pre-assemble and freeze smoothie ingredients in individual servings to avoid a supersized smoothie.
- Help guard against overeating by portioning your cereal or granola into plastic baggies or containers. Look for the serving size on the nutrition label and measure.
- Dried fruit and nuts can be a great way to add flavor to quick cooking oatmeal or low-fat yogurt, but they can also quickly add calories. Pre-portion into individual servings to prevent getting excessive calories.
Healthy Breakfast Options
Here are some easy, quick breakfast options to try:
- Overnight oats are prepared the night before, typically made in a mason jar, and are most often equal parts rolled oats, yogurt, and milk. You can add a variety of toppings either the night before or the next morning. Try adding chia seeds, which add fiber, protein, calcium, and omega-3s.
- Try a PB&J waffle sandwich with two whole grain waffles, 1-2 tablespoons nut butter, and sliced strawberries.
- Blend low-fat milk, frozen strawberries, and a banana for a quick smoothie.