The holidays bring all the wonderful calorie-laden, sugar-filled, carb- heavy foods we love. And because they’re only here for a short time, it’s hard to resist them, especially when they’re part of family gatherings, office par- ties, and organizations’ holiday celebrations. It’s hard to attend a banquet and only eat celery sticks and really, who would want to!
Eating a healthy breakfast is the one thing you can do to make sure you’re getting a healthy start to the day, no matter what you else you eat throughout the day. In fact, research has shown that a high protein breakfast staves off unhealthy snacking later in the day. But you don’t have to be a juicer or follow one of the new fad diets to take advantage of this good start. Here are eight “normal” breakfast foods that will give you a good start to your day.
From childhood on, who doesn’t love a banana – the great grab-and-go food. According to registered dietician. ￼Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, a medium banana is rich in fiber and vitamin C as well as potassium which is often a missing piece in many folks’ diets. And for those worried about extra sodium, it has 422 milligrams of potassium and no sodium which helps control blood pressure.
Berries are great. Pick your berry of choice and you’ll be getting lots of antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber without lots of calories. Upton says there is research suggest- ing that they carry anti-cancer properties and for those concerned with the neurological decline associated with aging, berries help fight that.
Coffee (in moderate amounts without the cream and sugar, unfortunately) is loaded with antioxidants accord- ing to Upton. She says coffee also appears to have heart benefits and, like berries, may help combat cognitive decline. Additionally, coffee may also offer protection from type 2 diabetes and fend off some cancers, includ- ing the most common cancer, basal cell carcinoma.
Registered dietician, Susan Mitchell, Ph.D., RD, has said that “a minimum of eight to 10 grams of protein, and pref- erably 20-25 grams, not only provides satiety but maintain muscle mass over time.” She says that eggs contain 13 essential nutrients, including protein.
If you aren’t familiar with kale, spinach, Swiss chard and other leafy greens, make them your new best friends because they contain magnesium which is a critical component in helping muscles relax and nerves calm down.
Greek yogurt is another terrific source of protein as well as calcium. However, Upton cautions to stay away from the flavored varieties that are diluted with additional sug- ars. She says to choose low-fat plain yogurt and sweeten it with fresh fruit … like the berries mentioned above.
Oatmeal – from steel cut, old fashioned to the instant variety – will, according to Upton, keep you feeling filled up longer because it’s got lots of dietary fiber. Again, skip the flavored kinds that add additional sugar, however. Mitchell recommends topping it with almond or pea- nut butter with banana or nuts with berries to reach a rounded blend of protein, carbs and fat.
Tea contains antioxidants called flavonoids that offer powerful immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. As long as you don’t load your tea with sugar, green, black and white teas appear to protect against some cancers, heart problems and diabetes. Tea also contains l-theanine, which according to Upton is a com- pound that “activates areas of our brain that make us feel awake and more able to focus.”