National Nutrition Month: Break the Fast

3.3.16 / Comment

Written by Kristen Lento, nutrition communications intern for Triad to Wellness
Edited by Sarah Achleithner, Nutrition Communications Coordinator 

breakfast

In honor of National Nutrition Month, it’s time to “Savor the Flavor” of Breakfast!

BREAK the FAST: Why you should start making time for that morning meal

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” This saying has been ringing throughout the ears of many worldwide for decades. As monotonous and redundant as it sounds, the truth still stands–the breakfast you eat (or don’t) inevitably impacts your entire day, whether you notice it or not. Along with providing the necessary energy to help you rise out of that incessant morning fatigue, breakfast has been recognized to improve concentration and brain function, maintain a healthy body weight, and assist in reaching the daily requirements for most nutrients, especially fiber! If you’re anything like the average American, you cringe at the thought of interference between you and that extra five minutes of sleep, which makes the commitment to wake up earlier for breakfast appear challenging. Although sacrificing that extra “five more minutes” of sleep seems daunting, your body will eventually adapt to easily awaking and vying for that omelet, oatmeal or piece of fruit. The uplifting mood and energy levels that results from these foods won’t necessarily be discouraging either!

The fantastic thing about breakfast is how flexible the options are. Whether you are running out the door, or have the morning to relax, the options are endless. Being that Americans are notorious for being on the go, there is high demand for fast and convenient breakfast possibilities. Lucky for you, we have the answers.
A Match Made in Heaven

When designing your ideal breakfast, it is important to keep two particular nutrients in mind, as the rule of thumb is to combine nutrient-dense sources of carbohydrates and protein. It’s time to “Savor the Flavor” with delicious combinations of…

• Nutrient-dense carbohydrates: fruits, vegetables, whole wheat toast/English muffin, fiber-rich cereals, oatmeal, granola, rice cakes, etc.
• Nutrient-dense proteins: low-fat dairy products (i.e. cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, string cheese, milk), eggs, nuts/nut-butters, low-sodium turkey, whey protein powder, etc.

The combination of both carbohydrates and protein is a crucial component that many tend to overlook. Carbohydrates are responsible for providing energy, while protein takes care of satiety and feeling full for a decent amount of time (along with building and recovering muscles and tissues). Having simple breakfast options on hand helps to expand on creativity; mix and match the different foods that are listed above to create an ideal breakfast that will satisfy cravings while starting your morning off on the right foot.
Quick Tips and Suggestions

If you have limitations in the kitchen and don’t have a lot of options for appliances, utensils, or storage (such as found in a college dorm), this is fine! In many cases, compact spaces will allow for a mini fridge and microwave, which is more than enough! If living quarters permit, it is beneficial to freeze anything that may spoil quickly, such as fruits, vegetables and bread. This allows you to buy these items in bulk and eliminates the risk of running out of options. It may also serve as an advantage to hard-boil eggs ahead of time, along with pre-portioning foods such as cereals, granola, nuts and nut butters. In case you are having trouble, here are five quick breakfast ideas that have proven to abide by the busy lifestyle that our schedules create:

  • 2 rice cakes with 1-2 tbsp. nut butter, 1 medium apple and 1 cup of low-fat milk
  • ½ cup oatmeal (made with water) mixed with ¼ cup of protein enhanced granola and ¼ cup of blueberries, 1 cup low fat milk with 1 scoop whey protein powder
    •  *Overnight oats are also a great option for a time crunch! For two servings, simply mix 1 cup of liquid (water, low-fat milk, almond milk), 1 mashed banana and 1 cup of oats. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight. The above suggestion is only a base; feel free to add whichever toppings you prefer!
  • Omelet made with 3-4 egg whites, frozen veggies, 2 slices of low-sodium turkey and 1 oz. low fat cheese with 1 medium banana and 1 cup of orange juice
  • Classic: ½ – ¾ cup fiber-rich cereal (Whole Grain Mini Wheat’s, Special K, Kashi, Cheerios) with ½ – 1 cup low fat milk or Greek yogurt. *Tip: place in Dixie or solo cup and eat with plastic ware for convenient transport and disposal.
  • 2 slices of whole wheat toast with 1 tbs. low-fat cream cheese, 1 oz. almonds (28 to be exact!), 1 medium orange and 1 cup low-fat milk

Rise and Shine, It’s Breakfast Time

Although it may take some getting used to, breakfast is undeniably one of the healthiest habits that could be adopted. Incorporating breakfast will facilitate the healthier lifestyle necessary to succeed in college. While it may seem like an extra chore initially, your body will eventually grow used to having breakfast in the mornings (if you don’t already). A happy morning will result in an enjoyable and productive day, and you’ll even have extra energy to exercise! A healthy breakfast will also provide motivation when choosing healthier meals for the rest of the day as well.

Feelin’ fancy? Try this simple recipe when the temptation for pancakes kick in!

3 Ingredient Banana Pancakes

• 1 ripe banana, sliced into small pieces
• 1 large egg
• 1 large egg white
• Cooking spray

Additional Toppings:
• 1 tbs. almond butter
• Sprinkle of cinnamon

1. Heat a skillet over low-medium heat.
2.Combine banana, egg and egg white in a medium bowl. Beat until smooth.
3. Spray heated skillet with cooking spray.
4. With a small or medium sized ladle, scoop pancakes onto skillet and cook until bubbles appear on the top.
5. CAREFULLY flip the pancake over for 1-2 minutes. Add desired toppings, such as almond butter, banana, strawberry, honey, dark chocolate chips, etc.

Makes 4 pancakes.

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