We don’t need to tell you that grabbing a chocolate chip muffin in the a.m. — or skipping your morning meal altogether — isn’t the best way to start the day. In fact, it can harm your health in the long run. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who regularly bypassed breakfast had a 21% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“You haven’t eaten since dinner, so that was many hours ago, and your metabolism needs a kickstart,” Keri Gans, nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet, told YouBeauty. “Breakfast is fuel, and your body will work so much better the sooner you eat. The longer you wait, the hungrier you may get, and then you may wind up overeating.”
Of course, when you’re racing out the door to work, it’s easier to just grab a cup of coffee or a sugar- and calorie-laden muffin, but making breakfast doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated. Just follow a simple rule of thumb for a healthy, balanced breakfast: high-fiber carbs, healthy fat, and lean protein.
So what is a healthy breakfast? Here are three good-for-you breakfast ideas that you can whip up in minutes:
- Oatmeal made with nonfat milk and topped with chia seeds and almond butter, with or without a sliced small banana. You can cook oatmeal in the microwave (following the label’s instructions) or cook one big batch on Sunday to reheat and eat the whole week.
- Scrambled egg whites and whole wheat toast topped with avocado and sliced tomatoes.
- Low-fat plain yogurt mixed with berries and a high-fiber, whole grain cereal topped with slivered almonds.
While what you eat for breakfast is key, how much you eat is crucial, too. “Portion size is extremely important,” says Gans. “If your portions get too large, so do the calories. For example, 1/2 cup dry oats, 1 cup milk, 1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter and 1 tablespoon chia seeds are good portions. More than that and you might be consuming more calories than you would like.”