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7 Keys to a Healthy Breakfast

Author: Susan Bowerman

Choosing the right healthy breakfast can help boost energy, curb hunger, and affect how you feel and perform as you go about your day. A proper, healthy breakfast habit also sets the stage for healthier eating all day long and helps fuel your daily activities.

7 Elements of a Healthy Breakfast

1. Protein

Protein is a vital macronutrient that helps to manufacture hormones and enzymes, and to build and maintain muscle tissue. For optimal muscle repair and growth, it’s best to consume protein at regular intervals throughout the day, which is why it’s important that breakfast provides some protein. Protein is also great at satisfying hunger. One study (insert link of source 1) has shown that respondents who eat a high protein breakfast consume fewer calories during the evening.

We suggest up to 30% of your calorie intake (or quarter of your breakfast plate) comes from lean plant or animal protein, such as soybeans, poultry, fish, and eggs.

2. Carbohydrates

Your carbohydrate stores are low in the morning because your body has tapped into them overnight. This stored energy is used to fuel your basic body functions and to help your body repair itself while you sleep. When you start your activities the next day, your working muscles rely on carbohydrates for energy, and your brain depends on a steady supply. Since carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy, it’s important to replenish them.

We recommend that you get about 40% of your calories (or quarter of your breakfast plate) from whole grains, beans, and fruit - not the sugary, starchy carbohydrates you find in baked goods, soda, and candy.

3. Fat

Your body also requires small amounts of beneficial fats—but don’t go hog wild just yet; you’re probably getting enough. The typical Malaysian breakfasts – such as Nasi Lemak and curry puff supplies more total fat and saturated fat than we need, and not enough healthy fats, such as fats from fish, nuts, olive oil, and avocados. Fats are a very concentrated source of calories, which is why we recommend that you limit your fats to 30% or less of your calorie intake.

4. Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are involved in many chemical reactions your body performs every day, and many minerals - calcium and magnesium, for example— have structural roles in the body. A well-balanced breakfast helps to supply the vitamins and minerals, and taking a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement after the meal helps you get the proper amounts.

5. Phytonutrients

Plant foods produce a wide range of natural compounds called phytonutrients. They contain a number of benefits, such as preventing disease, enhancing immunity, and repairing DNA damage. Their pigments give fruits and vegetables their beautiful colors. That’s why it’s important to eat colorful, plant-filled meals. For breakfast, try adding fruits or vegetables to a protein shake to start your day off right.

6. Fiber

Fiber supports the digestive process, helps to fill you up, and promotes the growth of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. Whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are the best sources of dietary fiber. We recommend that you fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies or add them into your breakfast shake. If you can’t get the recommended 20-30 grams every day, you can work in fiber supplements.

7. Water

The human body is 70% water, so it’s no surprise that we need to stay hydrated to remain healthy. Your body needs water to transport nutrients to cells and to get rid of waste products. Water also helps control body temperature and lubricate joints, organs, and tissues. Start your day with a big glass of water before your coffee or tea – you’ll create a good habit that can last a lifetime.

Sources:

1.       https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25889354/

2.       Nutrient Composition Database, Malaysia

3.       https://discovergoodnutrition.com/2020/01/athletes-why-breakfast-is-so-important/

4.       https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/nutrition-facts/balanced-diet-daily-nutrition/

5.       https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/nutrition-facts/hydration-tips/