Mom was right when she said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After all, breakfast means “breaking the fast,” starting your day after a night of not eating with the energy and nutrition you need. A healthy breakfast can help you concentrate better, give you strength and even help you to maintain a healthy weight.
One important tip: Adding a little lean protein to your breakfast may be just the boost you need to help keep you feeling full until lunchtime. Also, protein is very satiating meaning it blunts your hunger the most and keeps those hunger pangs at bay longer.
If you're sick and tired of the same old breakfast, why not spice up your morning with one of these four breakfast ideas of foods you never thought to eat?
Combining a whole-grain crust with a lower-sodium pizza sauce and some low-fat mozzarella cheese and perhaps a roasted veggie or two is the perfect quick and healthy breakfast for those in a hurry. The dish fits the bill, it contains a whole grain (dough), a lean protein (mozzarella) and either a fruit or veggie (tomato sauce and roasted peppers). You can whip this up in no time using a 100-calorie whole-grain flat bread, topped with a bottled tomato sauce, bagged and shredded low-fat cheese and some spinach. Toast in the toaster oven and you are good to go!
2. GREEN SMOOTHIES
If you are trying to get more dark green veggies into your day, then perhaps gulping them down as a breakfast drink might be just the strategy for you. Green smoothies are a type of health shake made by blending green raw veggies such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach, celery, parsley or broccoli with fruit such as oranges, bananas, kiwi, apples, pears and mango (some of which may be frozen). Add in water, fruit juice or ice and blend. Note that the typical ratio for a tasty green smoothie is about 60% fruit to 40% greens. Fast, easy and nutritious: try this unorthodox -- but nutritionist-approved -- breakfast trend.
3. PUMPKIN PIE YOGURT
Pumpkin is a spectacularly nutritious super food and is wonderfully versatile in cooking. The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with a powerful antioxidant called beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, reduce the degenerative aspects of aging and offer protect against heart disease. One cup of pumpkin contains a mere 50 calories and three grams of dietary fiber.
Breakfast idea: Add pumpkin puree to Greek yogurt for a super nutritious breakfast treat packed with fiber, protein, good fat and calcium. This breakfast will also provide you with 180% of your daily requirement for vitamin A, a must-eat vitamin for healthy skin, hair and vision!
Yield: 1 serving
- 6 oz. container of fat-free Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup canned pumpkin puree (no sugar added)
- 2 packets Stevia (or sweetener of choice)
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tablespoons fat-free whipped cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped (diced) walnuts
Mix all ingredients together and top with whipped cream and walnuts, if desired.
Nutritional Information Per Serving
Calories: 170, Fat: 5 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 70 mg, Carbohydrate: 16 g, Dietary Fiber: 3 g, Sugars: 10 g, Protein: 17 g
4. BREAKFAST QUINOA
Quinoa (pronounced "KEEN-Wah") is one of those “ancient” grains that is actually not native to the Mediterranean but rather South America. Quinoa was called the “Mother of all grains” by the Incas, who considered it a sacred food. Quinoa is the seed of the goosefoot plant, a plant related to spinach with leaves that resemble ... you guessed it, the foot of a goose!
Loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, this whole grain is incredibly nutritious. Quinoa is also unique among grains because it is a complete protein, meaning it contains the right amount of all essential amino acids your body needs to build new proteins. In fact, quinoa has twice the protein of regular cereal grains. Be adventurous and give this ancient grain a try for breakfast! It has a sweet nutty flavor with just a touch of crunch. Try some quinoa mixed with nuts and raisins for a great start to your day!
So if you're stuck in a breakfast rut, change it up and try some unusual but still super-nutritious breakfast foods to start your day off with the energy and dietary benefits you need!