By Andrea Paul, Registered Dietitian
We’ve all heard many times before. Breakfast is the “most important meal of the day.” The reason this phrase has stuck is that it’s true. In this article, I explain why breakfast is so important, as well as share a favorite recipe for a quick, healthy breakfast.
One of the first questions I ask people who want advice on making their diets healthier is, “Do you eat breakfast?” The answers I often get are “I don’t have time,” “I don’t have an appetite in the morning,” or “just coffee.” You wouldn’t try to drive to work without gas in the tank, right? So, why do we zip off for the day without fueling our bodies?
A healthy diet and eating pattern should always include eating something before you head off for the day. Eating breakfast leads to positive effects like increased energy levels, focus, stable blood sugar, easier resistance to less healthy foods, and improved metabolism. Taking just a few minutes for breakfast can make a big difference throughout the day.
Furthermore, because of these positive effects, eating breakfast is also linked to maintaining a healthy body weight. Granted, mornings are a hectic time for most people. Besides getting themselves up and dressed, many people are responsible for getting children ready and out the door. Not to mention walking the dog, feeding the cat, and generally getting organized for the day.
Getting that last 10 minutes of sleep instead of eating something probably isn’t going to give you the extra energy you need. Consuming something in the morning helps get glucose (energy) into our bloodstream, raising our blood sugar, giving us a boost of energy after a night of fasting. We don’t eat when we’re asleep.
Alternatively, not eating breakfast means that our bodies burn other fuel sources, like muscle protein to keep us going, as well as slow down our metabolism to conserve energy. If you’re someone without an appetite in the AM, I encourage you to try to eat something within an hour of waking up. It doesn’t have to be big, a granola bar, piece of fruit, or toast is fine.
Obviously, that’s not enough to fuel you until lunchtime. I suggest eating something a bit more substantial with a couple of hours when you feel a bit hungrier. You might find that with time, you do have an appetite in the morning.
Below, find a favorite recipe of mine that works really well for mornings because you make it ahead of time, reheat, and you’re off! Bonus? It’s nutritious and delicious, one of my favorite sayings!
It incorporates multiple food groups in one dish like dairy, whole grains, and fruit. It is delicious served warm with milk, cold with yogurt, or plain. I hope you like it!
Banana Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
- 1 extra-ripe banana
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup skim milk
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar
- 1 ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 350°
- Spray 8 x 8 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
- Mash bananas in a bowl.
- Add eggs, milk, sugar, and walnuts. Mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- Add dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until combined. Fold in blueberries.
- Pour mixture into baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges start to brown.
Nutrition Information Per Serving
- 283 calories
- 9g total fat
- 1g saturated fat
- 45g carbohydrate
- 6g fiber
- 10g protein
- 314mg sodium
Refrigerate until ready to eat. Microwave in a bowl with milk, serve with yogurt like Cabot® Greek-Style Low-Fat yogurt, or just eat it on its own.
Additional ingredients for nutritional boost include:
- 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed
- 2 tbsp. oat bran
- 2 tbsp. hemp seeds
Baking times will be different for different ovens and depending on the size of the pan used. If you use a bigger pan, the oatmeal will take less time to bake.
Recipe adapted from epicurious.com.