Congratulations! You and your family have made the commitment to eat breakfast every day. Whether this is part of a resolution to follow a healthier lifestyle or part of your regular morning routine, you deserve a many kudos for giving yourselves a nutritious jump on the day that will help stave of junk-food cravings.
Now that you are solid with eating breakfast, it’s a good time to look at what you are eating and determine whether it could use a little tweak for a stronger nutritious impact. Your go-to breakfast, though generally healthy, may be missing key nutrients, which will hold back your energy levels just when you need that extra push.
Here are some simple breakfast boosters for popular morning family favorites.
Quick-bread boosters: apple sauce, whole-wheat flower and extra seeds
You love to grab a fruit and nut filled slice of your favorite sweet quick-bread to go with your morning coffee. Banana-walnut, zucchini, pumpkin and spiced date breads are just a few of these delectable breakfast breads, but your slice may be heavy in sugar, fats and refined grains. It’s easy to tweak your favorite recipe by substituting half the fat (the oil or butter) with applesauce and half the white flour with whole-wheat pastry flour. Throw in some sunflower seed kernels for healthy fats and hold back on chocolate chips other sweets. Serve a glass of nonfat milk or add ½ cup of nonfat Greek yogurt on the side for calcium.
Egg it up: scrambled, not fried
It’s a classic American combination — two fried eggs, toast, bacon and coffee or orange juice, but also one that is out of date for our mostly non-agrarian lifestyles. Eggs are a wonderful source of protein, but there are healthier ways to serve them up. Try scrambling up one whole egg with an extra egg white to cut down on cholesterol and cook with a light spray of olive oil. Serve on a whole-wheat English muffin, a little salsa and ¼ of an avocado, sliced, for a super-healthy protein-packed breakfast sandwich that will keep the whole family energized for hours. Or try your hand at Spinach Frittata!
Super smoothie: watch the sugar, add extra protein
Smoothies are a delicious diversion from standard breakfast fare, but they can easily become super high in sweet carbs and low in protein, leaving you and the kids hungry hours before lunchtime. Rev up the quality of your calories by blending nonfat yogurt, blueberries, a banana, honey and either whey protein, silken tofu or a tablespoon of almond butter. Adding a little high-quality protein with healthy fats will stave off cravings and help absorb more of the smoothie’s calcium. If your family is in the habit of catching smoothies on the run or at the mall, pay attention to the serving size! Some smoothie chains’ regular sizes are 16-20 ounce behemoths, serving your entire day’s calories in one cup.
On the run: fast-food breakfast, the mindful way
There’s a reason fast-food restaurants do so well with their breakfast menus. A fast-food breakfast is still better than no breakfast at all. If buying brekkie on the go is part of your regular morning routine, go for the whole grains as much as possible. If you like a bagel and cream cheese, be sure to choose a multigrain variety with Neufchatel, or even a little peanut butter. Most fast-food burger joints offer oatmeal — just be gentle with the sugar, syrup and cream. And if you can’t stand the creamy stuff, opt for the breakfast burrito. Hold the “hash browns,” which are usually just deep-fried shredded potato patties. Need a little help? Check out WebMD’s guide to the best and worst fast-food breakfasts.