When you wake up in the morning, your stomach is running on empty. In order to replenish your energy and to stimulate your metabolism, it is essential to "break" your fast. 4 in 10 Canadians report not eating breakfast every day. 42% of them say they are just not hungry and 38% of them blame a lack of time.
Why eat breakfast?
- Provide energy to start the day
- Increase alertness and improve memory
- Prevent sugar cravings and overeating throughout the day
- Help maintain or lose weight. When you skip breakfast you send a message to your metabolism that you are starving. Your metabolism will then slow down the process of burning off calories and will store extra calories instead. This makes losing weight or maintaining a normal weight very difficult.
Children should never go to school with an empty stomach. Breakfast is particularly important for them as 60% of learning happens before lunch. According to Breakfast Club Canada, when children get a balanced meal in a positive stimulating environment, there are marked improvements in:
- Behaviour and concentration
- Academic performance
- Social skills, self-confidence and the ability to interact with peers and adults
- Overall interest in the subjects being taught
- Incidents of bullying
Need advice on how to adopt a healthy diet? Meet one of our dietitians. Click here.
What makes a balances breakfast?
Breakfast should consist of fair-sized portions and contain one serving from each of the following groups:
1/ Protein Source
- 1 cup low fat milk or calcium-fortified soy beverage
- 3/4 cup plain oygurt or 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 50 grams cheese (<20% m.f.) or 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons 100% natural nut or seed butter or 1/4 cup nuts
- 1/2 cup softened tofu
- 1 fresh fruit or 1/2 cup of frozen fruit
- 1/2 cup fruit salad or fruit sauce with no added sugar
- 1/4 cup dried fruit
- 1 fresh tomato
3/ Cereal Products
- 1/2 slices bread (1st ingredient is a whole grain)
- 30 grams fiber-rich cereal
- 1/2 cup plain whole oats
- 1 whole wheat English muffin or pita bread
- 1 small homemade bran muffin low in fat and sugar
Some foods to avoid (or consume occasionally only)
- Pastries (croissants, Danishs, donuts, etc.)
- Fruit salad in syrup
- Fruit sauce with added sugar
- Honey, jam, Nutella and other sugary spreads
- Cream cheese, cheese spreads and processed cheese
- Fruit juice, 100% pure (limit to 1/2 cup)
- Smoked salmon
- Cold cuts and bacon (choose low sodium and nitrite-free)
Looking for more healthy breakfast recipes? Downoload our FREE recipe booklet.
On the go
For extra fiber and omega-3, add one of the following to your cereal, yogurt, smoothie or directly on your toast:
- 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 tbsp. hemp seeds
A healthy breakfast should always follow a good night's sleep. Get our FREE ultimate sleep guide.