How to Build a Balanced Breakfast
Disclaimer: This post was developed in partnership with Florida Department of Citrus however all opinions are my own.
As a Registered Dietitian, I know a thing or two about building nutritionally balanced, satisfying meals. Today I’m sharing my top tips to build a balanced breakfast as well as some delicious breakfast ideas you can try at home!
Eating a balanced breakfast in the morning is important for a variety of reasons. There’s a reason its called break-fast – you haven’t eaten since the night before and are quite literally breaking your fast. After the time you spend sleeping, your body needs energy coming in to fuel the day! Let’s look into some of the benefits of a balanced morning meal.
Benefits of a Balanced Breakfast:
I’m not saying you have to eat within a specific time period after waking, but having something nutritious to eat in the morning is a good idea. Eating breakfast gives you a higher chance of meeting important nutrition needs, and this contributes to how generally energetic you feel. Apart from providing energy (calories) to kick-start your day, a healthy breakfast provides essential nutrients that the body needs, such as fibre, vitamins and key minerals such as calcium and iron. Read some of the research on that here.
Eating a nutritionally balanced breakfast also contributes to improved appetite control, meaning you can focus better on your daily tasks rather than seeking out snacks throughout the day. Not that there’s anything wrong with snacks, this just means less distraction and more nourishing choices.
Not only will a well-controlled appetite help you focus, breakfast eating has also been linked to enhanced memory, alertness and increased attention span. This is important for school-aged children and adolescents, but also us working adults, if we want to be more productive and efficient in our work.
What Does a Balanced Breakfast Look Like?
A balanced meal includes a variety of foods that offer a range of nutrients. When consumed together, they provide longer-lasting energy, satiety and as mentioned above, a greater chance of meeting daily nutrient requirements.
Let’s think about our food in groupings. We have our protein foods, carbohydrate foods, vegetables & fruits, and sources of fat. To build a balanced breakfast would mean including foods from most (if not all) of these groupings in your meal.
My Tips for Building a Balanced Breakfast:
To build a balanced breakfast, include a source of:
Fibre-rich carbs: To provide long-lasting fuel until your next meal. Fibre not only fills you up, it also lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugars and promotes regularity. Examples: Whole grain toast/bagel/wrap, oats/oatmeal, whole grain cereal, sweet potato.
Protein: To help sustain the feeling of fullness (i.e. satiety). Examples: Greek yogurt/Icelandic skyr, eggs, cheese, milk (dairy or soy), protein powder, hemp hearts.
Healthy fats: These will also help feelings of satiety. Examples: Nut butter, avocado, nuts, seeds, various oils (e.g., olive oil and coconut oil).
1 serving of fruit/vegetables: For a boost of fibre and various micronutrients! ½ cup berries (125mL), 1 medium piece of fruit (banana, apple, pear), ½ (125mL) cup grapes, ½ cup Florida Orange Juice (120mL).
100% orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of potassium, and contains folate and thiamin, as well as calcium and vitamin D (in fortified options). ½ cup (120mL) of 100% orange juice is comparable to a medium size orange, as both provide key nutrients
with no added sugar.
Overnight oats: Oats (fibre-rich carbs), Greek yogurt (protein), chia seeds (healthy fat), milk/non-dairy milk, berries (fruit).
Whole grain muffins (fibre-rich carbs) paired with nut butter (healthy fat) and ½ cup (120mL) 100% orange juice (fruit).
Scrambled eggs (protein) with cheese (protein/fat) on a whole grain English muffin (fibre-rich carbs) and 1 small banana (fruit).
Green smoothie: 1/2 banana + 1/2 cup (120mL) 100% orange juice + 1 cup (125mL) spinach (fruit/vegetables/fibre), protein powder (protein), chia seeds (healthy fat) and water to blend.
The Bottom Line:
Eating a nutritionally balanced breakfast offers a variety of mental and physical benefits. Increase the likelihood of meeting your essential nutrition needs by eating breakfast if you don’t already. Give one of these balanced breakfast options a try and see how you feel!
Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know if you found this post helpful! Until next time!
This post was developed in partnership with Florida Department of Citrus however all opinions are my own.