Early mornings and busy schedules can make getting a healthy, nutritious breakfast difficult. Many people find that eating a breakfast at office comprising of fried foods and sugary snacks is easier and quicker than preparing a proper meal. The problem with this practice is that you will end up eating a very sugary breakfast; it will be high in calories, and skimpy in terms of nutrients.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast is crucial because your body needs to refuel for the day after a full night's sleep without food. Instead of eating a fried and sweet treat that gives you a quick burst of short-lived energy, aim for a protein-filled breakfast that provides you with long-term strength to endure whatever trials your day holds.
Sugar Intake Recommendations
Anyone with a sweet tooth knows just how good sugar tastes. Food can contain both natural sugars and added sugars. Added sugars are particularly sneaky - some items you would never expect to contain sugar are actually sweetened, such as, fruit juices, jams, salad dressings and tomato ketchup.
Sugar doesn't provide much nutritional value, and too much sugar can seriously harm your health. High-sugar diets have been linked to numerous health problems including weight gain, tooth decay, and compromised heart health.
You can avoid potential problems by limiting the amount of added sugar you consume each day, starting with your breakfast. Sugar intake recommendations are not just based on the number of grams or teaspoons of sugar you consume, but also on your intake of "discretionary" calories. Discretionary calories are those that you don't need for energy or nutritional purposes. Women should limit their discretionary calories to 100 per day, with a maximum of 6 teaspoons of added sugar. Men have a bit more leeway, but should aim to keep discretionary calories under 150 per day with a limit of 9 teaspoons of added sugar.
Added sugar, by the way, doesn't just mean actual sugar. Corn syrup, jaggery and honey, all count as added sugar. In other words, you can save yourself a bunch of sugar when you skip the ketchup with your sandwich or switch to a 100 percent fruit spread for your toast instead of jams.
All About Protein
Unlike sugar, protein contains essential nutrients that give you strength, stamina and endurance, and help your muscles develop properly. Beginning your day with a protein-packed meal can not only keep you focused and ready for whatever comes your way, but also curb your tendency to overeat. Researchers found that adolescents who ate a protein-rich breakfast every day for a week felt more satisfied and were less apt to eat large meals and snack throughout the day.
Keep in mind, that not all high-protein foods are created equal. It is important to choose the right protein source to break your fast. Animal products, especially red meats and dairy, often offer a generous dose of protein, but come with a large serving of saturated fat. Saturated fat can contribute to obesity and high cholesterol levels. Cut the fat and kick the cholesterol out by sticking to lean proteins and low fat dairy for your morning meal. Eggs and whole grain cereals are also the right protein source for breakfast.
Healthy Breakfast Items
A wide variety of breakfast foods contain protein without adding excess calories and fat. Consider these options to get your day off to a strong start:
- Oatmeal sprinkled with nuts
- Omelets with whole eggs or just the whites
- Whole grain cereals such as daliya.
- Whole wheat bread sandwiches made with lean meats or vegetables.
- Fresh whole fruit (contains natural sugars only)
- Moong sprout salad
Making it Easy
Even with the best intentions, preparing a low-sugar, protein-rich breakfast may not fit perfectly into your morning schedule. Make it easy on yourself by starting the night before. Hard-boil some eggs so they are ready to grab in the morning. Fill snack-size bags with roasted chickpeas, nuts and roasted rice flakes to create a low-sugar breakfast trail mix. Stock up on fresh fruits such as apples, and oranges and grab them as you head out the door. All of these items are healthier than a parantha or a burger and will get you on the road to power breakfast eating in no time!