4 Things a Healthy Breakfast Should Include

Oatmeal provides fiber to keep you feeling full longer.

Many of us have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But why?

According to Chicago-based nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner, there are extensive benefits to starting the day with a nutritious meal.

“The name breakfast means to ‘break the fast’ that happens when you don’t eat overnight,” she explains. “Because your mind and body are waking up, you need to give it the right fuel for the day.”

Eating a sizable breakfast, a modest lunch and light dinner can help fuel your body and work positively with your metabolism as well. This is where the saying, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” comes from.

Blatner says eating a wholesome breakfast packed with nutrients helps you maintain energy and peak brain function, something you need for work and kids need at school. She also notes that the right breakfast works with your natural metabolic process throughout the day, and can have a positive impact on weight.

“Skipping breakfast puts your body in a panic mode, wondering when it will be getting its next meal,” Blatner says. “If you go too long without eating, it can cause you to overeat when you do finally eat, and your body wants to store those excess calories rather than burning them consistently throughout the day. This can also cause peaks and pits with energy levels.”

But what exactly should a healthy breakfast include? Blatner offers some ideas:

• Whole grains: Feel fuller for longer by eating whole-grain toast, whole-grain cereal or oatmeal.

• Lean protein: Great sources of lean proteins include Greek yogurt, egg whites, tofu, lean beef slices, and chicken or turkey.

• Fruits and vegetables: Fresh produce provides super-charged nutrients and plenty of fiber. Add a handful of berries, sliced avocado or spinach to your breakfast creations.

• Low-fat dairy: Get your daily dose of calcium with low-fat yogurt, cheese or milk.

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