How’s this for a wake-up call: Research shows that eating breakfast may help you lose weight, perform better at work, and lower your risk of heart disease and obesity. Here are easy ways to start your day right.
1. Slice and savour
To reap all the benefits of your favourite fruit, eat it immediately after cutting it up. Carving an apple or peeling a banana and saving half for later leaves the fruit exposed to the air, which can destroy some of its vitamins and antioxidants.
2. Designate breakfast your biggest meal of the day
Research suggests that those who eat more in the morning make healthier food choices and consume fewer calories throughout the day. In one study from Virginia Commonwealth University, participants who ate a 610-calorie breakfast rich in carbs and lean protein (including milk, whole-wheat bread, turkey, eggs and cheese) for eight weeks lost more than 21 percent of their body weight, compared to just 4.5 percent for the eaters who consumed a 290-calorie breakfast. The first group also reported less hunger and fewer cravings overall.
3. Blend your own smoothie
Juice-bar blends can pack more calories than a milkshake! To make a lean homemade shake, start with a base of water, low-fat milk or a non-dairy beverage such as almond or rice milk (not juice). Add fresh or frozen fruit, including bananas and berries. Then pump it up with protein like nut butter, flax or hemp seeds, tofu, yogourt or protein powder.
4. Invest in a good juicer
Frozen and canned juices can contain preservatives and added sugar. Consider getting a juicer or citrus press to make freshly squeezed drinks at home. They taste better too!
5. Know your friends from your frenemies
It’s no surprise that doughnuts and syrup-soaked pancakes don’t qualify as fat-burning fuel, but you may not know that some seemingly virtuous foods could be hijacking your diet and lulling your energy levels back to sleep.
Low-fat muffins: Beware of label lingo! Many slim-talking bakery muffins are doughnuts in disguise, and are double or triple the proper portion size. A better bet? Top a whole-grain English muffin with almond butter and jam.
Instant oatmeal: It’s considered the holy grail of healthy breakfasts, yet many just-add-hot-water oat cereals are packed with sugar and sodium. Look for a brand with less than 5 g of sugar and 170 mg of sodium. Or take a few minutes to cook quick oats and serve with skim milk and fruit.
Cereal: Some cereals pack 600 calories and 30 g of fat — before milk! Make sure to choose high-fibre or whole-grain varieties. (Whole or rolled should be in the first ingredient.) While you’re at it, use a measuring cup to ensure you’re getting a single serving of cereal — it’s easy to over-pour.
Yogourt: Avoid flavoured yogourt, which is often high in sugar or artificial sweeteners. Instead, buy plain yogourt and stir in applesauce, honey, fruit or vanilla to add flavour. Some brands of Greek yogourt pack double the protein (20 g per serving) with fewer carbs than regular yogourt.
6. Pick your protein
Enjoy eggs, low-fat dairy, soy or lean meat every morning: Protein is highly satiating and promotes calorie-burning. Be sure to add a side of complex carbs like whole-grain toast, oatmeal, fruit or veggies — the fibre balances blood sugar for sustained energy and helps regulate cholesterol. Kick your metabolism (and taste buds) into high gear with this quick, easy breakfast that’s packed with protein, fibre and omega-3s.
7. Best Breakfast Sandwich
1 omega-3- enriched egg
1 slice low-fat cheese
1–2 slices tomato
4 leaves baby spinach
1. Spray a coffee mug or small bowl with cooking spray.
2. Whisk egg in mug or bowl; season with salt and pepper.
3. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
4. Place cheese, tomato and spinach on English muffin and top with egg.
5. Serve with an orange.
Serves 1 per serving: 263 calories, 19 g protein, 27 g carbs, 9 g fat, 499 mg sodium.
8. Enjoy a second cup of coffee or tea
Good news for caffeine fans: A study conducted at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands found that drinking coffee or tea in moderation reduces your risk of heart disease. Researchers studied more than 37,000 people over 13 years and found that those who enjoyed two to four cups of java a day had a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who drank less than two. Ditto for tea: Those who sipped three to six cups daily had a 45 percent lower risk than those who consumed less than one cup.
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