Breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day, but it’s still in the top three. Seriously, there are many smart reasons to refuel in the morning.
Eating breakfast gives you energy, boosts your brain power, and helps you manage your weight. Some research suggests it may also lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Yet, many of us rush out the door on an empty stomach. Try these strategies for making a wholesome breakfast part of your daily routine.
How to Make Breakfast a Habit
Almost 25% of Americans skip breakfast consistently, and the rest of us consume only about 16% of our total daily calories, according to the National Institutes of Health. Figure out your obstacles and how to get around them.
Try these strategies:
- Wake up early. Stick to a regular bedtime that allows you to wake up naturally feeling refreshed. Drink a glass of water to feel more alert. You’ll have more time for breakfast, and you’ll reduce stress.
- Plan ahead. Start your meal preparations the night before. Set the table. Create make-ahead dishes you can keep in the refrigerator, like a black bean burrito or a chia seed pudding.
- Stock your kitchen. Put breakfast items on your grocery list. Buy oats, eggs, and your favorite fruits.
- Take it to go. Sitting down to eat is preferable, but portable breakfasts come in handy when you have early flights and meetings. Buy a packaged yogurt drink or whip up your own smoothie to put in a travel mug.
- Vary your menu. You might find it simpler to stick to the same foods, or you may crave new flavors. Search for recipes on the Food Network website or browse through cooking magazines online.
- Start small. You’ll probably have more of an appetite in the morning if you gradually cut back on dinner portions and evening snacks. Until then, enjoy something light, like yogurt and berries.
- Involve your family. Invite your family to join you. Your kids are more likely to eat breakfast if you do, and that could mean higher grades and stronger bodies.
How to Make Breakfast Healthy
Before you pour a bowl of sugary cereal, think about your options. You have lots of quick and easy choices that are more nutritious.
Follow these tips and enjoy healthy breakfasts:
- Increase your fiber. Many traditional breakfast foods are high in fiber, the indigestible material in plants that is beneficial to your heart and digestive system. You can find it in fruits and any kind of whole grains.
- Include protein. Your body uses protein more effectively if you eat it throughout the day, instead of waiting for dinner. Try recipes with eggs and dairy products.
- Add vegetables. It’s easier to eat 5 or more servings of vegetables daily if you get an early start. Put mushrooms in your omelet and kale in your smoothie.
- Use up leftovers. What if you’re not that excited about traditional breakfast foods? Anything you serve for dinner and lunch can also be eaten in the morning. Your family might love a buffet with the Thai food you ordered last night. As a bonus, you’ll cut down on food waste.
- Limit sweets. What about the doughnuts? Save the sugary, deep-fried treats for special occasions. You can still satisfy your sweet tooth with a little maple syrup or a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips in your oats.
- Drink coffee. You don’t have to give up coffee either. Some studies show that drinking 2 to 3 cups a day could lower your risk of heart disease by 10 to 15%.
Start your day with a healthy and delicious breakfast. You’ll feel happier and more productive. You’ll also be protecting your heart and increasing your overall wellbeing.