Healthy breakfast: Quick, flexible options to grab at homeIf you skimp on breakfast, you'll miss out on important health benefits. Learn what makes a breakfast nutritious, and get some out-of-the-box options.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
It might be the last thing on your morning to-do list, or worse, it might not be on your list at all. But a healthy breakfast refuels your body, jump-starts your day and may even benefit your overall health. So don't skip this meal — it may be more important than you think.
Even if you're short on time, quick-and-flexible options you can grab at home give you plenty of healthy ways to put breakfast back on your daily menu.
The benefits of a healthy breakfast
Breakfast gives you a chance to start each day with a healthy and nutritious meal. It also lays the foundation for lifelong health benefits.
Benefits for adults
When you eat a healthy breakfast, you're more likely to:
- Eat more vitamins and minerals
- Eat less fat and cholesterol
- Have better concentration and productivity throughout the morning
- Control your weight
- Have lower cholesterol, which may reduce your risk of heart disease
Benefits for children
Breakfast is especially important for children and adolescents. According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to:
- Meet daily nutrient requirements
- Concentrate better
- Have better problem-solving skills
- Have better hand-eye coordination
- Be more alert
- Be more creative
- Miss fewer days of school
- Be more physically active
The basics of a healthy breakfast
Even though you know a healthy breakfast has many benefits, you may not be sure what exactly counts as a healthy breakfast.
Here's what forms the core of a healthy breakfast:
- Whole grains. Examples include whole-grain rolls, bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, low-fat bran muffins, crackers, or Melba toast.
- Low-fat protein. Examples include peanut butter, lean meat, poultry or fish, or hard-boiled eggs.
- Low-fat dairy. Examples include skim milk, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheeses, such as cottage and natural cheeses.
- Fruits and vegetables. Examples include fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, 100 percent juice beverages without added sugar, or fruit and vegetable smoothies. Choose low-sodium versions of beverages, though.
Together, these core groups provide complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and a small amount of fat — a combination that packs big health benefits and that also can leave you feeling full for hours. Find options from these core groups that suit your tastes and interests. And try to choose one or two options from each category to round out a healthy breakfast.
Feb. 10, 2011
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