Whether you're a self-proclaimed health nut or are trying to incorporate healthier choices into your routine, you've probably heard by now that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But do you know why? And does the type of breakfast you eat really make that big of a difference?
Breaking the Fast:
Eating breakfast is actually the most effective way of waking your body up (sorry, coffee) because it shoots signals to your brain that tell your body it needs to start working and digesting your food. Giving your body nutrients early in the morning also revs up your metabolism so that you can keep burning calories all day long. And when you fuel your body in the morning, your blood sugar level stays regulated so you're less likely to feel ravenous and overeat at lunchtime.
The Best Breakfast = The Best You:
A bagel or donut lover might try to argue that any kind of morning meal will wake your system up, but nutrition is a hugely important aspect of breakfast. A breakfast that's high in calories, sugars, and fat won't give your body the energy it needs to make it through the morning without a massive sugar crash. Think of a nutritious breakfast like a puzzle - it should contain protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and a little bit of fat. When combined effectively, these components can start your day off on a healthy and delicious note, as seen in the five sample options included below.
Don't have time to enjoy a sit-down meal before heading out the door? Smoothies provide a quick and easy alternative to a plated breakfast with just as much taste and health benefits. Need some inspiration? Try our range of smoothie recipes such as this Decadent Dark Chocolate-Raspberry Smoothie. These delicious morning treats are also full of protein that will give you tons of energy.
Oatmeal is a popular healthy breakfast choice, and even fast-food chains have started carrying it as an on-the-go option. Oats are pretty much a super food, as they're full of fiber, lower cholesterol levels, and have even been linked with reducing the risk of heart disease. A bowl of hot oats may seem boring to some, but adding fresh fruit, cinnamon, or nuts can jazz it right up. Need some more inspiration? Check out our compilation of ten healthy hot cereal picks. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also take it up a notch and try this amazing recipe for baked oatmeal with apricots. You'll feel fuller, more energized, and better equipped to tackle your day!
Granola is made from rolled grains, seeds, nuts, and dried fruit that are toasted for a crunchy and sweet texture. Get acquainted with some grocery store granola options with our guide to top granola picks. Granola is packed with antioxidants and fiber, plus heart healthy fats like omega-3s. But be careful - while these fats are healthy, they still pack a caloric punch, so pay attention to portion size. Sprinkle a serving of granola over fruit for an extra crunch. If you're feeling adventurous, make your own homemade granola with this recipe for Berry Antioxidant Granola.
4. Fresh Fruit
Fruit - or nature's candy - is a delicious, all-natural source of vitamins and minerals that help keep us healthy. Fruit consumption can help lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure. Eating cantaloupe first thing in the morning has been linked with boosting your metabolism, while fiber-rich fruits like prunes, apples, or grapes keep you fuller longer. Try pairing fruit with whole grains by mixing it into your oatmeal or granola. Check out this delicious Fruit Tartlet recipe.
5. Whole Grain Muffins
Muffins are another great way to incorporate healthy carbohydrates and fiber into your morning routine. Check out our compilation of twelve mouthwatering vegan muffin options - from chocolate chip zucchini to banana watermelon and carrot-apple - and get ready to start looking forward to breakfast! These vegan recipes are healthy, fruity, and filling, and can be baked in advance so you can enjoy them all week long. Feeling extra ambitious? Combine oatmeal and muffins into a super breakfast food with our Oatmeal Muffin recipe.
This post was originally published on One Green Planet
Lead Image Credit: QuintanaRoo/Flickr
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