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Eat a Better Breakfast

Sandra CainBy: Sandra R. Cain

For Better Living 

March is National Nutrition Month.  What better time to re-examine your eating habits and make changes to eat more healthfully!  Let’s start by thinking about what we can do to improve our breakfast.


Skipping breakfast can make us feel tired, restless, or irritable. In the morning, our bodies need to refuel for the day ahead after going without food for 8 to 12 hours during sleep.


Start with some powerful protein.

The missing ingredient in many morning meals is protein. Protein keeps us going strong and helps us stay focused until lunch.  Go lean with protein. Try a slice or two of Canadian bacon, an egg, a slice of deli meat or cheese, a container of yogurt, a scoop of cottage cheese, or leftover meat from the night before. Think outside of the breakfast box.  You may enjoy a scrambled egg with chopped veggies and grated cheese.


Be sure to add in grains.

A high‐octane carbohydrate will give your body and brain energy for a busy day. Choose whole grains for extra nutrition. They have more fiber and more antioxidants. They tend to digest more slowly and provide longer‐lasting energy.


Go outside the cereal box for grains. Whole‐grain breads, muffins, waffles, pancakes, rolls, tortillas, or even pastas can also help you rise and shine. They get you going for the day.


Get fresh with fruits or veggies.

Breakfast is a perfect time to enjoy the produce your body needs. If possible, choose fresh fruit. Try bananas, kiwi, pears, apples, mangoes, melon, oranges, grapefruit, or whatever is in season!  Use a combination of fruits to make a nutritious smoothie.   Canned and frozen can be used in yogurt and fruit salads. Dried fruit is tasty on cereal or in trail mix. You may want to make an omelet with fresh chopped veggies


Rethink your morning drinks.

Some of us can’t seem to get going without that morning cup of coffee or that triple, extra whipped, tall mocha! Some caffeine is probably okay for most healthy adults (except pregnant women). But, many Americans are getting lots of extra calories from fancy coffee drinks. Skim or 1% milk is a very smart choice. Drink it plain or blended into a smoothie, shake or latte. Are you worried about too much caffeine? Switch to decaf, herbal tea or lower‐caffeine green tea.


What about breakfast bars?

So‐called energy bars are everywhere! The packages are filled with nutrition promises. They say they can replace meals, boost energy levels, promote weight loss, and give you more protein,

vitamins, and minerals. There’s no magic in these bars. Some are no more than souped‐up candy bars, with lots of fat, saturated fat and sugar. Choose bars with 1015 grams of protein and at least 3 grams fiber.


Set the example.

Let your child see you making time for  breakfast every day. Even if it’s a piece of whole-wheat toast and a banana with a glass of juice or milk, you’re showing how important it is to re-fuel your brain and body with a healthy morning meal.


Adapted by the Nutrition Services Branch, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

Omelet Lorraine

2 eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup egg substitute

2 tablespoon fat-free milk

1 tablespoon dried minced onion

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

¼ cup reduced-fat shredded cheese

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes


In a small bowl, beat the eggs, egg substitute, milk, onion, salt and pepper.  Coat a 10 inch skillet with nonstick spray and place over medium heat.  Add egg mixture.  As eggs set, left edges, letting uncooked portion flow underneath.

When eggs are set, sprinkle bacon, cheese and parsley over one side.  Fold omelet over filling. Cover and let stand for 1 minute or until cheese is melted. Yield: 2 servings


Berry Best Smoothies

3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate

3 tablespoons fat-free yogurt

12 ice cubes

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled

1 medium banana, cut into chunks

½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries


In a blender, combine all ingredients.  Cover and process for 30 – 45 seconds or until smooth.  Pour into chilled glasses. Serve immediately.


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