Monday, May 21, 2012

What is a Balanced Breakfast?

Try these satisfying and delicious breakfast combinations and stay fueled for hours after eating.

Egg and bacon inside pastry.
Protein and healthy fats for breakfast can keep you fueled for hours.

We’ve all been there before. You wake up, chow down a bowl of cereal, and rush out the door only to find your stomach growling an hour later. The likely culprit? An unbalanced breakfast.

Eating in the morning jump-starts our metabolism, resulting in the production of energy. Some foods do this quickly, but briefly, and then leave us starving well before an 8 a.m. meeting has run its course. Others keep us charged, focused and pang-free all morning. Build a balanced breakfast by choosing a food from each of these four categories. You’ll stay energized right up to lunch.

The Foundation: Protein

Ample protein in the morning sets the stage for the day. It controls cravings and keeps you focused. Start with yogurt, eggs, milk, meat or beans.

The Energizer: Carbohydrate

Without complex carbs, you’ll be dragging in no time. Stick to whole grains, vegetables or fruit for antioxidant power and filling fiber.

The Marathoner: Fat

Fat is in it for the long haul, keeping you full for hours. Choose healthy options, such as avocado, nuts, seeds, pesto or olives.

The Garnish: Flavor

Try a sprinkle of coconut on yogurt, a spoonful of salsa on eggs or chocolate chips in pancakes. Pleasure your palate with a sensory boost of flavor to round out your breakfast. Get creative!

Here are a few favorite balanced breakfasts to get you started:

  • Buckwheat banana pancakes (carbohydrate), spiced yogurt (protein), pecans (fat), maple syrup (flavor)
  • Brown rice (carbohydrate), eggs (protein), tomato, avocado and pesto (fat/flavor)
  • Whole-grain cereal and banana (carbohydrate), milk (protein), almonds (fat), currants (flavor)

— Carrie Huseman, MS, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

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