Food Hacks for a Healthier Breakfast, According to a Nutritionist
BLEND COFFEE INTO A SMOOTHIE
Not a natural breakfast eater, but love your morning coffee? Combine your java with a fueling smoothie. Add a shot or two of espresso to a mix of frozen fruit—try bananas or berries—along with unsweetened almond or soy milk, a spoonful of almond butter and a sprinkle of unsweetened cocoa powder or cinnamon. This spin on Bulletproof coffee offers a nutritious option with less saturated fat. Or adapt one of these healthy smoothie recipes.
SPRINKLE SALT FROM ABOVE
A small amount—just 11 percent—of salt is added to food either during cooking or at the table, per an Institute of Medicine report. (Most of our salt intake comes from processed foods). Decrease your salt per bite by sprinkling with your hand, not the saltshaker—and at a height that’s 10 to 12 inches above the food. This allows your salt to disperse more equally, decreasing the amount needed.
STIR IN CINNAMON
Add a dash to your coffee, yogurt, or oatmeal to help stabilize blood sugar. Preliminary research shows that daily cinnamon intake can help improve fasting blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, reports Today’s Dietitian. This is especially helpful for people with prediabetes or diabetes. Many types of cinnamon exist: Cassia is the most common type in the United States, although Ceylon cinnamon (with a warm floral flavor) is safer at higher doses due to its lower coumarin content. Here are other neat health benefits of cinnamon.
SWAP JAM FOR NUT BUTTER
The fuel provided by a slice of toast with sugary jam will speed through your body faster compared with the version topped with cashew or peanut butter. This could mean the difference between 10:30 a.m. hunger pangs and feeling full all morning. Choose whole-grain bread so you have a combo of fiber and healthy fats to help keep you satiated for longer. Pair with a hard-boiled egg and a sliced pear or apple for a satisfying breakfast meal.
UN-SWEET YOUR YOGURT
A 6-ounce serving of plain low-fat Greek yogurt contains about 6 grams of sugar, while a fruit-flavored, sweetened version has a whopping 19 grams. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend capping added sugar intake at 10 percent of daily calories—so your morning yogurt is a good place to start. Add mix-ins, such as sliced mango and pecans, to your plain yogurt bowl. Top with a dash of nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice, and you won’t miss that sugary flavor one bit.
EAT THE WHOLE EGG
And don’t feel guilty. Skipping the yolk is so 2015. An egg or two a day can be part of a balanced diet, especially now that the new Dietary Guidelines dropped a recommendation to limit cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams daily. Have high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease? You may want to cap intake at one egg a day.
HAVE AN ON-THE-GO FALLBACK
Ditch that last excuse to skip breakfast. Prep and freeze stash-in-your-bag foods that you can easily munch on at work, like egg-and-veggie muffin cups, baked oatmeal bars, or fruit-and-nut muffins. Check out some of these cute meals you can make in a muffin tin or these yummy breakfast bars.
ALWAYS INCLUDE FRUIT OR VEGGIES
Finally, let’s just state the obvious: Fruits and veggies are rich in health-promoting vitamins and minerals, as well as cholesterol-helping fiber. Plus, produce is largely water—so it adds volume to help your breakfast fill you up. Some healthy breakfast ideas: Fill an omelet with mushrooms and tomatoes, top a slice of egg-and-avocado toast with onion and radish slices, or heap your go-to oatmeal with blueberries and raspberries.
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