Are these healthy breakfast choices?

Skim Milk and a Sweet Cereal
Toast and Jam
Bagel and Cream Cheese
Breakfast Bar
Pancakes and Syrup (usually sugar-free/artificially flavored)

In the 1980’s, there was a series of commercials for the cereal Wheaties. Each commercial featured an athlete of exceptional ability showcasing their talent and then eating a bowl of Wheaties (or maybe eating a bowl of Wheaties first, and then showcasing their talent). The catch phrase used to promote the cereal was “Have you had your Wheaties today?”

Today, most people don’t eat a healthy, balanced breakfast each morning. Blame it on the rush culture of our current society or the mis-information on what constitutes a balanced breakfast, but each day many people are missing the mark on what is widely known as the most important meal of the day. While the Wheaties cereal may leave a lot to be desired where taste is concerned, the point remains: Have you had a complete breakfast filled with vitamins and nutrients to start your day?

There are many ways you can optimize breakfast. The first meal can be much more than a bowl of cereal, slice of toast or one hard-boiled egg.

3 ways to make a better breakfast:

1. Add vegetables. Including vegetables in your daily breakfast is beneficial for several reasons. Vegetables are rich in nutrients and low in calories so eating a variety of them for breakfast can give you the energy you need to sustain you through the day. Also, because veggies are so low in calories, you can enjoy a generous amount of them and still maintain a healthy weight.

Try preparing an omelet with a sprinkle of cheese and a hearty amount of spinach, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Other types of veggies you can try incorporating into you morning meals include: mushrooms, a medley of squash and peppers and even potatoes. Potatoes (with the skin left on) are a good source of vitamin C (surprisingly!) and a small to mid-size potato only contains about 110 calories.

2. Include protein in your breakfast. We all know that eggs are one of the most complete proteins around, and yet many of us may be afraid to include them into our daily breakfast plan. Unless you have been advised by a doctor to limit the amount of eggs you consume, it’s wise to eat eggs on a regular basis.

While eggs are definitely one of nature’s superfoods, there are other proteins that are great for breakfast. Those include:

  • Organic cottage cheese with fruit
  • Greek yogurt with fresh cut fruit
  • Whey protein

3. Fill up on Fiber: Fiber is one misunderstood nutrient. To begin, the fiber added to most protein and nutrition replacement bars is cancelled out by the high sugar content. Second, many breads that claim to be enriched with fiber or whole wheat are still not good sources of digestible fiber.

Instead of trial and error, make these foods a staple for your breakfast menu: berries, bean or other legumes, and oatmeal.

Breakfast need not be a culinary nightmare that has you resorting to eating cold cereal daily or skipping the meal altogether. With a little knowledge of what makes breakfast complete, you can begin your day the right way and continue to make good food choices throughout the day.