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Healthy New Year’s Resolutions: Why Breakfast Should Be #1 on Your List

December 31, 2014

Every January, millions of people make resolutions to live better and eat healthier.

As the New Year begins, we promise to make big changes to our diet and exercise routines, but there’s one small change you can make today that will have a big impact on your health: eating breakfast.

Eating breakfast can make you feel better, help you lose weight,  improve the quality of your diet, reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes and improve your thinking.

With all of these benefits, it’s surprising that more people don’t begin their morning with what doctors always have said is the most important meal of the day. About 31 million Americans skip breakfast every day. If you are not eating breakfast, it is time to start. Even if you are, it’s time to ensure you consistently choose the best foods to fuel your body for the day.

Here’s how:

Eat Light at Night

Many people don’t eat breakfast because they say they don’t feel hungry in the morning. Eating late can cause you to be less hungry the next morning. Instead, reduce your portion sizes and eat dinner a little earlier to boost your morning appetite the next day. Start with something simple, like a banana with peanut butter. Keep up the habit for two weeks and see if it retrains your body to be hungry in the morning.

Make Time to Eat

Non-breakfast eaters also say they don’t have time in the morning to eat. Breakfast requires some pre-planning, so decide what you would like to eat in the morning and make sure it is on the grocery list. Choose a quick breakfast like oatmeal in a cup, banana and greek yogurt or a cereal bar. Have hard boiled eggs ready in the refrigerator for a quick grab and go or make a smoothie the night before so it’s ready in the morning. Make it as easy as possible for breakfast to be part of a regular morning routine.

Make Healthier Choices

If you already eat breakfast, evaluate your choices. It is important to include a lean protein in your breakfast, which can help keep you full. Foods like eggs, lean meats, dried beans, nuts, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products are excellent protein sources. Your breakfast also should include whole grains, fruits or vegetables, since your body needs these foods to restore muscle glycogen (energy) that was depleted overnight.

Limit processed meats and sugar. Drive-thru sandwiches, bagels and sugary coffee can slow you down the rest of the day. White flour in bagels and sugar in coffee provide a glucose spike that make you feel hungry sooner. Instead, opt for a whole grain bagel with low-fat cream cheese and switch to low-fat milk in your coffee. Many restaurants offer healthier options like egg white sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and oatmeal. Try something new in the morning and see if you feel better.

To help get you started, here are some great breakfast ideas:

  • Oatmeal with nuts, raisins, and cinnamon
  • Greek yogurt with granola and berries
  • Smoothie made with banana, yogurt and berries
  • Whole grain bagel with turkey and low-fat cheese
  • Egg white omelet with spinach, onions and feta cheese
  • Hard boiled eggs and a piece of fruit
  • Turkey on whole wheat bagel with a glass of non-fat milk
  • Whole grain, low sugar breakfast cereal with non-fat-milk and greek yogurt
  • Whole grain tortilla with eggs, black beans and salsa
Start 2015 in the right way with a New Year’s resolution to eat breakfast every day. It is a small change that can add up to big rewards for your health.