a special feature by Shanon Morris, Nutrition Specialist*
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’m sure you have communicated this to your children, and they in turn have passed this along to their children. Starting your day off with a balanced healthy meal, not too light and not too heavy, will put you on the right track for an amazing day. We all know that breakfast is important and it deserves the title as: ‘the most important meal of the day.’ Because it is! However, some even say its new title should be: ‘the most skipped meal of the day.’
Do not ever discount that all three meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner, are all vital. Simply put, they come as a complete package for the entire day. We should never let children leave the house without breakfast; and guess what… the same rules apply for the rest of us in the adult population. Skipping breakfast, or any meal, can turn your whole day upside down, not to mention throw your metabolism out of whack, possibly making weight loss difficult and causing you to lose out on vital nutrients that you may have gotten from that skipped meal.
Commonly when you skip a meal, your energy levels drop so low that you grab anything you can find to eat, even when it’s not the healthiest choice. It may even be difficult to start eating a meal commonly skipped because your body becomes accustomed to routine. Sure you are capable of functioning without this meal, however the idea is to live life the healthiest and best way we can. Why not correctly fuel ourselves to do just that?
Want some great information? Go to My Plate (www.choosemyplate.com), it’s a great tool to help prepare and preplan balanced meals. Aim for at least 3 food groups at each meal, (fruits, vegetables, protein, whole grains, and dairy) and remember to fill your plate with various colors. Reach for 3 meals a day with 1-2 healthy snacks.
Note to self…we can’t let breakfast go down with such a bad repetition – the most skipped meal! So why not check out the easy breakfast ideas below to choose from:
- 1 cup Branflakes*, ½ cup low fat milk (or any milk of your preference) and ½ cup of blueberries
*Not sure how to pick a healthy cereal? Choose a cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber, no more then 6 grams of sugar, no more then 175mg of sodium, contains no trans fat and has at least 3 grams of protein per serving.
- 1-2 slices whole wheat toast, 1 tbsp. almond butter, ¼ cup raisins
- 1 medium apple, ½ cup of Greek yogurt, ¼ cup walnuts
Now, how about giving this easy recipe a try with the whole family! It’s perfect the morning and packed with nutrients.
Fruity Smoothie Delight
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries (or any berry you prefer)
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons almond butter
1-cup low-fat milk (or any milk of your preference)
Just place all ingredients in the blender, secure the lid and blend until smooth and enjoy! It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
Tip: Let the children help. Teach them kitchen safety with all the tools and accessories around. Having fun is about being safe. With respect to the blender, be sure to tell them that fingers always stay outside and never ever press buttons until the top is securely on.
*Shanon Morris is a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer and Crossfit Coach. She received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Sciences from Howard University, where she played Division 1 lacrosse and a Masters in applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University. By day, Shanon can be found serving as the Associate Director of Community Nutrition for the Food Bank for New York City; and by night, she can be found coaching Crossfit and providing nutrition counseling to clients in Harlem. Shanon has a passion for helping people make healthy changes. She exemplifies this by being an active Crossfit Competitor, lacrosse player and foodie. Shanon believes people can achieve what they once thought was impossible, and hopes to continue to empower people of all communities to make lasting lifestyle changes in order to improve and maintain overall health and wellness.