It might be cold outside, but February is actually Hot Breakfast Month! A healthy, hot breakfast is a actually a great start to your morning any time of the year. Let’s celebrate with a hot & hearty meal because of how much value a good breakfast can bring to our overall health.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that a “growing body of research has investigated the impact of…consuming breakfast on body weight” and that “breakfast consumption is one such behavior that promotes weight management”.
Consumer Reports explains that a good breakfast can:
- Protect your heart. A nutritious breakfast can help manage food intake, which helps maintain weight and reduces risks related to diabetes, high cholesterol, and blood pressure;
- Lower the risk of type 2 diabetes;
- Provide a mental edge by stabilizing glucose levels;
- Help to reduce the risk of obesity; and
- Get us moving…which is our goal too at Pacer Pedometer! 
Pour on the Whole Grains
A good breakfast is a healthy breakfast! Most of these studies suggest that to get these positive effects, people should eat healthier breakfasts that reduce or eliminate high-fat, high-calorie options. A University of Arkansas study points out that “eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day” while adults who consume higher-fat breakfasts made meal choices that promoted higher BMI numbers and weight gain. The same study points out that eating breakfast seems to be an important part of a “healthy lifestyle that includes making wise food choices and balancing calories with exercise.”
When choosing breakfast options, look for whole grains like oatmeal (not the powdered sugary mixes). According to Harvard Medical School’s The Nutrition Source, “Whole grains offer a “complete package” of health benefits, unlike refined grains, which are stripped of valuable nutrients in the refining process.” Whole wheat cereals, muffins and other options are better choices than heavily processed alternatives. Be careful though, as whole grain options are not necessarily lower in fat or calories than processed options. Eat whole grains where you can, but don’t overeat!
Veggies, Fish, and Fruit…It’s what’s for Breakfast
A healthy breakfast can be tasty and fun! Try some of these ideas from MyPlate.gov.
- Veggie omelet and a piece of whole-wheat toast (3 food groups!).
- Scrambled egg, tomato and low fat cheese on a whole-wheat English muffin.
- Salmon (yes salmon) on a whole-grain bagel with light cream cheese.
- Oatmeal, skim milk, raisins and nuts (or roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds for those with nut allergies) and 4 ounces of orange juice.
- Low fat yogurt with granola and a side of fruit.
- Yogurt smoothie and a breakfast bar (also 3 food groups!).
- And, for the champion of food groups, try a whole-grain tortilla, 1 scrambled egg, low fat cheese and salsa…four food groups!
Remember to check your serving sizes when you’re creating your own breakfast recipes. Otherwise, it’s easy to accidentally end up adding a little too much healthy goodness to your breakfast!
Eating Breakfast and Exercise
Eating a healthy breakfast and exercising go hand-in-hand and may even help exercise be more effective. The Mayo Clinic notes that “if you don’t eat, you might feel sluggish or lightheaded when you exercise.”
Planning your breakfast can be just as important as planning your daily exercise. The University of Illinois at Chicago offers tips for nutrition and exercise for wellness planning that includes:
- Making a daily plan for both exercise and eating;
- Making certain a supply of healthy foods is near by and ready for eating;
- Finding support from other people who can encourage you daily (Pacer Pedometer Groups help here); and
- Make changes step-by-step over time.
Follow the Stars
Well known athletes and actors have breakfast specials to help get their days moving in the right direction. Tennis star Venus Williams is known for her large match day breakfasts while racing driver Lewis Hamilton has two poached eggs with half an avocado on a piece of toast. NFL quarterback Andrew Luck will mix it up with a cheese omelet, muesli (a cereal made from whole oats, nuts, fruit, and wheat flakes), and a side of baked beans. Chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Sherry Yard says, “I’m big on breakfast” and you should be too.
Tastes, exercise levels and body types vary, so find what works best for you. Remember that elite athletes are often exercising for the entire day, so they need to eat way more calories than most people to fuel their workouts.
Tasty Warm Breakfast Recipes
There are many online resources available to help create your perfect rise-and-shine breakfast. With so many resources out there, your recipes don’t have to be boring! How about a tasty treat like a cinnamon-apple breakfast polenta? Polenta, a dish of boiled cornmeal served as a hot porridge, mixed with apples and cinnamon, can be created in 25 minutes or less. It is low in calories and fat while providing a good source of fiber. There are plenty of low cost, healthy and fun recipes that don’t take long to prepare. Do a little digging, get creative and you’ll be amazed at what you can find.
Make Hot Breakfast Month Every Month
It’s still Hot Breakfast Month, so make sure to celebrate your daily steps toward better health with a nutritious, hot breakfast. When you find that great recipe, share it to your Pacer Feed and show off your creation. Combine your healthy breakfast and the motivation you’ll get from Pacer Groups and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier 2018!