An important part of successful aging is maintaining an optimum weight for your height. It may help you avoid or delay a variety of health issues, ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure. Diet plays a key role in preventing unhealthy weight gain or loss. That includes starting the day right with a well-balanced breakfast.
If you’ve always considered breakfast to be a cup of coffee and a Danish, there’s ample evidence that it’s time to change your thinking. Nutritionists at Rush Medical Center say eating a healthy breakfast offers many benefits, including:
- Makes you less likely to be overweight
- Sets you up to make better food choices throughout the day
- Increases your likelihood of eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables
To help you plan more nutritious breakfasts, we’ve assembled a few quick and easy suggestions.
Rise and Shine with These Simple Breakfast Ideas
- Eggs: Over the years, eggs have gotten a bad rap. Many people have lived with the belief that they raise cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease. More recent research shows that’s just not true. In moderation, eggs can be a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. According to the American Heart Association, they also contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients have been found to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, both common vision issues that impact older adults. Another plus is that eggs are easy on the budget and can be prepared quickly. You can scramble them with vegetables like green or red pepper, onion, spinach, tomatoes, or avocado.
- Oatmeal: Another breakfast food that packs a heart-healthy punch is oatmeal. Like eggs, it’s also a quick meal if you don’t like a lot of fuss in the morning. Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, known for helping to reduce the bad cholesterol in the body known as LDL. Fiber also aids in digestion and allows you to feel full longer. Instead of going for flavored oatmeal packets that are high in sugar, opt for plain oatmeal and spice it up yourself. Fresh berries, banana slices, cinnamon, and almond milk make good additions to your morning bowl of oatmeal. You might also want to consider making a crock of overnight oats. There are a variety of recipes online you can experiment with.
- Quinoa fruit salad: An enticing breakfast to start the day can be a bowl of fresh fruit topped with quinoa. High in protein, quinoa adds extra texture to a fruit salad. You might also want to top it with a light dressing, such as lime juice or honey. Mango, strawberries, pineapple, and blueberries are also tasty choices. If you want to make it even heartier, add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.
- Fruit smoothie: This is another food that’s garnered some bad press in recent years. That’s largely because fruit smoothies purchased at many fast food or convenience stores are low in nutrition and high in sugar. You can make healthier versions at home that are nutritious and delicious. Blend your favorite fruits with ice, milk or Greek yogurt, and a plant-based protein powder. Some people also like adding fresh greens and vegetables like celery, beets, or carrots to the mix. Head to your local farmer’s market to see what’s fresh and experiment until you find a few favorite combinations you can quickly whip up in the morning.
- Breakfast yogurt bowl: The great thing about breakfast bowls is that you can customize them any way you like. Just start with a healthy serving of greek yogurt (or acai if you’re feeling tropical!) and add any fruit you like such as bananas, strawberries, grapefruit, or blueberries. You can also add granola or extra toppings like pomegranate seeds, chia seeds, honey, or peanut butter. The possibilities are endless!
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