Deemed “most important” and the meal “of champions,” breakfast has long been revered for its ability to shape your day. That’s because it “has been shown to help with brain function, attention span, concentration and memory, and reduced irritability and tiredness,” Christine Sorg, RDN, CD, Parkview Sports Medicine, said.
For those who think they’re too busy, or that skipping the first meal of the day will help them lose weight, think again. Research has shown that eating breakfast daily helps with weight management. “It prevents over-eating at the end of the day,” Christine said. “For those of you who are evening exercisers, breakfast is the best meal to pack in the extra calories and nutrients to fuel your day and allow for a productive practice, game or training session later on.”
Breakfast doesn’t always have to be cereal and omelets, either. “Try using leftovers from the night before to make a veggie pizza with a glass of low-fat milk or a stir-fry with a piece of fruit and water. As a registered dietitian, I recommend choosing at least 3 food groups at each meal, especially at breakfast. Protein is best consumed several times throughout the day, rather than all at once. If you don’t get protein with your breakfast, there is a good chance you are missing out on much-needed nutrients to fuel your day.”
Christine recommends using food labels to calculate calories and boost your standard breakfast to at least 500 calories. “For instance, add to your English muffin (150 calories): 1 tablespoon peanut butter (100 calories), 8 ounces orange juice (100 calories) and a yogurt (150 calories). It might seem like a lot of food, but combining a healthy breakfast with adequate physical activity actually aids in weight loss. Try an experiment, and eat a low-calorie breakfast one day and a 500-calorie breakfast the next. Observe what happens to your food intake throughout the day when you eat a full breakfast vs. a skimpy breakfast or, worse yet, no breakfast at all. The 500+ calorie breakfast allows you to successfully eat less and create the calorie deficit needed to lose weight.”
Here Christine offers some pretty tasty prescriptions for a power-packed meal to set you up for success in the hours ahead.
Blood Orange Buttermilk Pancakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon blood orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons fresh-squeezed blood orange juice
¼ cup maple syrup
- Combine the flour, oats, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to stir well.
- Add the buttermilk, egg, zest, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of the juice. Whisk just until moistened. (Try not to over-mix, some small lumps will remain.)
- Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking oil and turn on the heat. Spoon ¼ cup of batter into pan and spread into a ~4" round circle.
- Cook until the surface of the pancake starts to bubble. Flip and cook on the other side until lightly browned.
- In a small serving pitcher, warm up the maple syrup and the other 2 tablespoons of blood orange juice in the microwave.
- Serve with additional slices of blood orange.
Berry Beet Smoothie
1 small (3 ounces) roasted beet
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 banana, fresh or frozen
½ cup almond milk (any dairy or non-dairy milk would work)
½ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
- Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
1/2 cup rolled oats
½ cup banana slices
½ cup skim milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter
¼ cup blueberries
½ ounce almonds
Chocolate chips, to taste
- Cook the oats, banana and milk together and stir to combine.
- Mix in peanut butter, berries, almonds and chocolate chips and enjoy.
1/4 cup leftover quinoa or wheatberries
2-3 ounce plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons defrosted/smashed strawberries
¼ cup berries
2 tablespoons granola
- Layer the quinoa, yogurt and strawberries. Repeat.
- Top with almonds berries and granola and enjoy!
Quick Breakfast Options:
45-Second Scrambled Eggs: Put eggs and a splash of milk in a bowl, scramble it up, put it in a microwave for 30 seconds. Stir it up and put it back in for another 10 seconds.
Peanut Butter Sandwich: Grab a banana while you're at it.
Cream Cheese on Bread: Try it on a bagel or tortillas.
Whole-Grain Waffles: Opt for a whole-grain waffle mix and serve with fresh fruit.
English Muffin Sandwich: Toast an English muffin. Put low-fat cheese and sliced deli ham inside. Warm the sandwich in the microwave to melt the cheese. Grab a piece of fruit for a complete breakfast.