[Editor’s note: Today we launch a new monthly column on The New Service blog, featuring Leslie Dolland, a HealthCorps Coordinator who teaches high schoolers in the South Bronx about staying healthy. As a current service corps participant, Leslie will be sharing tips for other corps members about how to stay healthy on a budget.]
I love the Fall and the back-to-school season! It feels like a fresh start; a chance to de-clutter, re-organize and create some Fall New Year’s resolutions. I’m resolving to have a healthy and delicious breakfast EVERY day. This includes breakfast when I’m running late, not hungry, or not at home; these are times when it’s most difficult. Breakfast is definitely the meal not to be missed but can be challenging when you’re short on time. Luckily, it doesn’t require much time or money just some careful planning!
But is it really the most important meal of the day?
YES! And according to the USDA, 80% of Americans regularly eat breakfast. But the quality of the meal is just as important. Our bodies and our brain need sufficient amounts of energy to function at optimal levels. After a full night’s rest and several hours without food, the body’s main source of energy, glucose, drops and requires refueling. In “breaking the fast,” with breakfast, you give the body the fuel it needs to perform well. However, that all depends on how you’re re-fueling. A car won’t run on grape soda fuel just as your body doesn’t run well without the proper fuel. So what is proper breakfast fuel?
(C)arbohydrates + (P)roteins + (F)ruit = Optimal Breakfast Nutrients
This breakfast equation keeps your metabolism (the amount of energy your body uses) and blood sugar in check. A one-sided breakfast meal, may fill you up immediately but you’ll be searching high and low for a snack by mid-morning! I’m not in favor of eliminating muffins and donuts but treat them as just that…a treat.
The beauty of breakfast is that ingredients can be low in cost but high in taste and satiety. Place them in a to-go container or iced-coffee plastic cup for a meal on-the-go. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Whole Wheat Bread (C) + Natural Peanut Butter (P) + A Banana (F)
- Granola (C) + Greek Yogurt (P) + Blueberries (F) + Unsweetened Coconut (F)
- Smoothie: Wheat Germ (C) + Soy Milk (P) + Any Fruit and 100% Fruit Juice (F)
- Oatmeal (C) + Almonds and 1% Milk (P) + Dried Apricots (F)
- Whole Wheat Toast (C) + Sliced Boiled Egg and/or Turkey Bacon (P) + Sliced Tomato (F)
- Whole Grain Dry Cereal (C) + Cottage Cheese (P) + Any Fruit (Apples, Citrus, or Berries).
- English Muffin (C) + Egg (P) + 100% Strawberry Fruit Preserves (F)
Look for proteins and dairy options that are low in saturated fat and carbohydrates that are whole-grain. There are countless inexpensive breakfast ideas and none require many culinary skills or time. Now, that’s something to lift your cup of coffee to!