Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets the tone for your whole day and helps you avoid hunger pangs later on.
However, many people don’t eat enough calories for breakfast. This can be due to a number of reasons.
Protein is the building block of muscles, but it’s also essential for maintaining a healthy weight and keeping our immune systems strong. That’s why many experts recommend eating a balanced breakfast, which includes protein, carbs, and fat, to start each day off on the right foot.
Having a healthy breakfast that’s low in calories and high in protein is important for preventing mid-morning hunger and a blood sugar crash. It also helps reduce cravings and keeps us feeling fuller longer.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults need at least 0.83 g of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight daily. To get a good amount of protein, choose lean sources like chicken, fish, cheese, legumes, and low-fat dairy.
Carbohydrates get a bad rap, but they can be healthy for you. They help you feel energized and have other health benefits.
The average healthy breakfast should contain 50 percent carbohydrates from fruit, vegetables, whole grains and beans. 25 percent protein from eggs, nuts and seeds.
Fiber helps slow down the body’s conversion of carbohydrates to sugar, which can lead to a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
A high-carbohydrate, low-fat breakfast can also help stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day and boost alertness. Nasar says it’s important to add at least half of your total calories from fruits and vegetables to your breakfast.
Two large slices of whole-grain toast, for example, have about 220 calories and 36 grams of carbohydrates. To make this breakfast more energizing, top with jam or drizzle with honey. A ripe banana adds sweetness and about 105 calories. And a glass of milk with your breakfast helps you get a bonus 305 milligrams of calcium and 8 grams of protein.
Ideally, a healthy breakfast should provide a balanced blend of protein, fiber and fat. But how much you should eat will depend on your total daily calories and weight loss goals, according to registered dietitians.
In general, a healthy breakfast should contain between 300 and 500 calories. However, your calorie needs may be higher or lower than this based on your gender, age, athletic goals and level of hunger.
If you’re aiming for a more nutrient-dense meal, consider adding in whole fruits and vegetables as well. These foods will provide sustained energy and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
In addition, eating a high-quality breakfast helps you maintain your weight and improves your overall health. It also reduces your risk of heart disease and diabetes by increasing your metabolism and decreasing your appetite for unhealthy foods during the day.
Fiber is a critical part of a healthy breakfast, but it’s often overlooked. Adding high-fiber foods to your regular menu can help prevent constipation, bloating and other digestive issues.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that adults eat 25-35 grams of fiber daily. This can be achieved by choosing a variety of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
Choose cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving, and look for those that list whole wheat or bran as the first ingredient on the label. Also, swap out white rice for brown or quinoa and try experimenting with other whole grains such as barley, bulgur wheat and wild rice.
Fruits are great sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber. A small orange contains 2.3 grams of fiber, and a banana has 2.6 grams. Apricots are another good source of dietary fiber. These fruits pair well with spices, and are easy to add to a bowl of oatmeal or a smoothie.