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Wake Up, Fuel Up: 5 Ways to Build a Better Breakfast

Written on September 24, 2013 at 11:07 am , by

Forget the breakfast bars and baked goods! They’ll just spike your blood sugar, leaving you ravenous well before noon. (Photo by Laura Doss)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

While breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, it’s the first thing to go when a busy morning schedule gets the best of us. Unfortunately, those spared minutes do not provide the metabolism-revving, energy-boosting and cholesterol-lowering benefits of a well-balanced breakfast. We touched base with Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It and New York-based nutrition expert to get her top tips on fueling up before running out the door each morning. The most important meal of the day just got easier, tastier and a whole lot faster!

1. Think outside of the box of cereal. An ideal breakfast is made up of three components: whole-grain carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. Mix and match some of your fave whole-grain, high-fiber cereals to customize your flavor—just read the label to keep sugar levels in check. If you have a thing for cereals that are a little too high, find another that is low in sugar (1-3 grams) and combine the two. Remember, watch portion sizes! Aim for 1 cup total, about the size of a tennis ball. For more dense cereals, like granola, shoot for a little less, as the cereal is more dense.

2. Don’t make having breakfast negotiable. As much as we may hate to admit it, breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day. Skipping breakfast altogether leaves you feeling hungry and irritable, and possibly leads to overindulgence at lunchtime. Even nibbling on a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit is better than nothing—it sends the message to the brain that you have fuel to last you until the next meal. “If you have time to put on makeup, there’s time for breakfast,” says Bonnie. Have containers of yogurt, snack bags of chopped almonds and dry cereal and a bag of plastic spoons available for some grab-and-go goodness.

3. When making your lunch, toast a frozen whole grain waffle and add a smear of almond butter or cottage cheese topped with cinnamon for munching on-the-go. For those of us who squeeze in a workout before work, finding the right time to eat breakfast can be tricky. “Eat something on the light side about a half hour before working out,” she suggests. Try Greek yogurt or a smoothie for a quick, easy-to-digest meal that will keep you energized through your workout and the rest of your morning.

4. When you are able to (even if it’s only one day a week), take the time to make yourself a gourmet breakfast—perhaps an omelet stuffed with a medley of sautéed veggies and a whole grain muffin. You’re worth it and your body will thank you for the attention!

5. Don’t break the fast while multitasking! Yes, it’s better to have breakfast while posting something on Twitter than to ditch this meal altogether, but when possible, pay attention to the texture, temperature and taste of your meal. If you pay attention to what you’re eating you’ll not only appreciate those three T’s even more, but you’ll also feel more satisfied and be less likely to search for something else.

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