By Nadia Rodman, RD, director of nutrition for Curves International, Inc.
Go ahead and celebrate Wellness Week® by substituting your usual breakfast for something a bit healthier. A healthy breakfast literally breaks your fast from a night of sleeping. Your metabolism is at its lowest when you’re sleeping, so a good breakfast will jump start your metabolism and put a spring in your step. The key, however, is to break the fast with lean protein and healthy carbohydrates for that energy boost you need – and want.
If your current breakfast is: Nothing. I skip breakfast because I’m busy.
Swap it for this: Greek yogurt + walnuts
Why it’s a better choice: Because breakfast breaks your fast and wakes up your metabolism, skipping breakfast means your metabolism is still moving at a snail’s pace until lunch. People often think that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight when in fact, it’s just the opposite. People that make time for breakfast tend to have a healthier body weight. If time is an issue, plan on a simple breakfast like Greek yogurt and almonds. Greek yogurt is loaded with protein and the healthy fat and fiber in walnuts will help to keep you full longer.
If you current breakfast is: Cereal with milk.
Swap it for this: Oatmeal with fruit and almonds
Why it’s a better choice: Most breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar that will only spike and drop your energy levels. This leaves you feeling hungry and running for the vending machine by 9:30 a.m. Trade in that sugary cereal for heart-healthy oatmeal instead. Oatmeal is a whole grain full of fiber and nutrients, and when paired with fruit and almonds, you’ve got yourself a yummy, nutrient-rich breakfast. If you choose to stick with cereal, check the ingredient list to make sure the cereal is a whole grain and is low in sugar. Try these three healthy oatmeal recipes!
If you current breakfast is: Toast with butter and jelly
Swap it for this: Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
Why it’s a better choice: Plain toast with jelly is carbs on carbs – not a good combination. There isn’t much in this breakfast to sustain you. Instead, switch your plain toast for whole-wheat toast and top it with peanut butter. The healthy fat in peanut butter will help sustain your energy levels better than sugary jelly. Remember to watch your portion size with peanut butter and other nuts. While they are healthy, they are also calorie dense so keep your portion sizes between 1 and 2 tablespoons.
If your current breakfast is: Biscuit, eggs, and hash browns
Swap it for this: English muffin with eggs and fruit
Why it’s a better choice: The biscuit and hash browns are loaded with calories which will weigh you down rather than pick you up. Instead, opt for an English muffin which contains almost 50 percent fewer calories than the biscuit. Instead of hash browns, choose fruit which contains healthy carbohydrates and fiber to sustain your energy levels.
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, so I applaud your effort to make yours healthier!
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This post was written to help you embrace the “Change My Breakfast” pledge, presented by Travaasa, for Wellness Week! From March 11 through 17, make your week well with valuable wellness tips, free classes and events, and exclusive deals and offers. Plus, enjoy a free $25 Wellness Week Gift Card when you purchase a $25 SpaFinder Wellness Gift Card during Wellness Week (March 11-17). Learn more about Wellness Week 2013!
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Nadia Rodman is a registered dietitian, the director of nutrition for Curves International, and co-author of The Curves Fitness and Weight Management Plan. She received her bachelor’s degree in nutritional science from the University of Texas at Austin and completed her dietetic training at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. Rodman is also a group fitness instructor certified through the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America, and has taught college-level nutrition classes to thousands of women. Read more about our Wellness Week experts.