Power-up Your Breakfast

I don't know you, but I am one of those people who believes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! 

I am not an expert on this issue, but I have read sufficiently to know that eating breakfast is a great way to get your metabolism working well for the day. When your body receives food in the morning, it tells your brain that you are going to need to start working to digest it. This may sound trivial or nonsense, but when you eat breakfast, you are actually waking up your system and are activating your metabolism (in other words, your internal machine).

When you don't eat breakfast in the morning, your body thinks that it needs to conserve the energy it has because it is not getting any more through nutrition. As a consequence, your metabolism slows down, resulting in a decrease in the amount of calories you burn all day long. This explains why research shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner, and that dieters are more successful at losing weight when they eat breakfast.

What Constitutes a Good Breakfast?

During the last six months, I have made a serious effort to eat a good breakfast. Partly because I want to lose some weight, but also because I want to show our children that it's important to eat a good breakfast. 

Of course, the key question is: What constitutes a good breakfast? Or, if you prefer, what do I need to eat during breakfast to make it count?
1. You need to Include Fiber
Besides helping you stay slim, fiber has been shown to help lower cholesterol, regulate blood-sugar levels and keep you regular. Caroline Kaufman, RDN, a nutritionist in San Francisco and expert panelist for the Health Must-Eat List, says that "eating cereal is a great way to get a head start toward meeting the daily goal of 25 grams for women 50 and younger—especially if you go with one that has at least 3 g of fiber per serving".
Increasingly, cereal makers are giving their bowlfuls a boost by adding what's known as "functional fiber". While it has some health benefits, it can confuse us into thinking a product is more healthful than it is, Kaufman indicates. If you see functional fiber on the ingredient list (e.g., chicory root, chitin, chitosan, inulin, polydextrose and psyllium), make sure some whole grains (like whole wheat, brown rice or oats) are also listed—before the added fiber.


2. Suss out hidden sugar

According to most experts, if you see sugar listed as the first or second ingredient of your cereal box, don't eat it! The tricky thing is that sugar may go by different names. Some of these names are: palm sugar or invert sugar; sweetener, as in corn sweetener; syrup, as in brown rice syrup or malt syrup; fruit-juice concentrates; and almost any word ending in "-ose", like fructose or glucose.


3. Be careful with "fruit"

We all know that fruits are good, and certainly good things to eat for breakfast. The problem is that many cereals only contain small portions of real fruit.  In general, most cereals include real fruit mixed with fake fruit made of sugar, oil and/or food colouring. So, it's very important, to check the ingredients and make certain that you are eating real fruit. To be honest, i
t's always better to add your own fruit.

My Choice: Oatmeal and Smoothie for Breakfast

I personally think that the best breakfast is the one that includes simple ingredients. 

For instance, I usually eat oatmeal during the week. I prepare my oatmeal with 1% lactose free milk (or water if you prefer), nuts and both dried and fresh fruits. I make this breakfast every morning and it takes me only a couple of minutes, and it's delicious and very healthy! 

I usually accompany my oatmeal with a smoothie that includes bananas, strawberries, mango, carrots and a little bit of yogurt.

I have not been able to convert my 5 year old to oatmeal yet, but I am hoping to do that one of these days. For the moment, I am very happy that he drinks our home-made smoothie. 

Do you have other suggestions for healthy Breakfasts?
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