Assembling a Healthy Balanced Breakfast

Posted on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
Written by: Angela, Nutritionist

Overcome the reasons not to have breakfast and make it part of your day. If you’re too busy in the morning, prepare as much as you can the night before. Even if you are a self professed non-breakfast eater and have been for twenty years, you are fooling yourself to think that your body does not need energy to start its day off. If you can’t stomach anything first thing try something bland like a banana, yogurt or slice of whole wheat toast. Experiment until you find a healthful breakfast you can really enjoy.

Start small…in the beginning you may choose to eat one piece of whole wheat toast and ½ T of peanut butter. This is better than nothing and combines both a carbohydrate and a protein, which is the ideal combination. You will get used to this and will soon be able to add a piece of fruit and you can move onto other foods from there.

Look for breakfast cereals that provide at least 4 grams of fiber per serving, but make sure your choice is low in sugar (less than 10 grams per serving). Add nonfat milk and bananas, berries, or apple slices to turn that bowl of fiber into a tasty meal.

The three components of a breakfast are:

·         Complex Carbohydrate

·         Lean Protein Source

·         Color: whether fruit or vegetables you need some color to ensure you are taking in adequate vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds (such as antioxidants).

I know many of you are visual learners, so let’s look at what a healthy plate looks like visually

Healthy Plate

35% complex carbohydrates: whole grains based

15% proteins: beans, fish, chicken, meat, eggs

45% color: vegetables and fruits

5% healthy fats: nuts, cheese, olive oil, avocado

To assemble a healthy and nutritiously balanced breakfast, simply choose one item from each of the three sections below.

Complex Carbohydrate   Each serving = 200 calories
2 slices whole wheat bread1 cup Quinoa
1 cup whole grain cereal1 large whole wheat pita
1 cup cous cous1 large whole wheat wrap
1/3 cup oats, dry1 medium sweet potato
2 packet instant oatmeal1 cup brown or wild rice
Lean Protein
Each serving = 100 calories1 extra large egg
3 oz chicken, or turkey breast1 soy or turkey burger
6 egg whites1 T peanut or almond butter
3 oz fish, tuna or shellfish3 oz tofu
3 oz pork tenderloin1/2 cup lentils
3 oz red meat, lean1 cup cottage cheese, 1%
1/2 cup legumes4 T hummus
Each serving = 120 calories13 raw almonds
1 oz feta or goat cheese8 oz nonfat yogurt
3 oz parmesan cheese2 T cream cheese
Color                        Each serving = 100 calories
1 medium banana  2 small nectarines, peach or 1 large apple, pear, orange
1 C grapes, kiwi or 1 ¼ C apricots, cherries, berries,  2 C watermelon,
2 cups cooked: asparagus, beets, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots
Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumber, egg plant,
kale, lettuce, marinara sauce, mushrooms, peas, peppers, spinach,
sprouts, squash (summer or winter), string beans, tomatoes, bell peppers
4 cups mixed greens

You can then choose 1-2 servings of Healthy Fats and Additions to add flavor to your dish:

Healthy Fats and Additions
each serving = 120 calories
1/4 avocado
1 T olive or flaxseed oil
7 olives
each servings = 2 T = 50 calories
Sauces: BBQ and other low fat sauces and marinades
fat free dressings, mustard, honey, pure fruit jams
Free: Fresh and Dried Herbs, use liberally

Categories: Uncategorized

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