Your mom and your middle school health teacher weren’t far off when they called breakfast the most important meal of the day!
“Tried and true—eating a healthy breakfast will repay you in energy benefits,” says Carol DeNysschen, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Buffalo State College.
Not only will eating breakfast chase away those embarrassing stomach roars that always occur just as your professor pauses to breathe, but if you eat the right foods, they can also give you more energy, which means a whole lot more productivity and positivity for the rest of your day. Not sure where to start? No problem! Her Campus has compiled a list of seven foods that will get you ready to tackle whatever life throws your way.
1. Steel-cut oats
When some of us think of breakfast, images of pancakes, waffles, bagels, toast, pastries and donuts float through our minds. What do all of those foods have in common? They all fall into the grain category, but not necessarily in a good way. Before you reach for that white toast or bagel, think it through.
“Try to stick to whole-grain carbohydrates,” DeNysschen says. “Keep in mind that the whole-grain carbohydrate source will digest more slowly, so that enhances a steady level of blood glucose, or blood sugar.”
Fiber-rich steel-cut oats will help keep you full until lunchtime, unlike those pancakes and pastries!
Scrambled, over easy, hard boiled, poached—on their own, eggs are a great power food any way you crack them.
“Eggs are a great source of protein,” which means they’ll keep you fuller longer, says Dr. Mary Kay Meyer, professor and chair of The College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Alabama. “Don’t be afraid to include them several times a week.”
Give yours an extra energy boost by whipping up an omelet with healthy greens, like spinach or kale, and other vegetables, like mushrooms, tomatoes or peppers. You’ll have a healthy breakfast that is sure to get you ready for whatever the morning throws your way. You could also try “framing” your eggs in a piece of whole-grain toast or half of an avocado.
3. Canadian bacon
While eggs may be a great source of protein, some classic breakfast meat won’t hurt either.
“I believe in the old adage, ‘Eat like a king in the morning, a queen at lunch and a pauper at dinner,’” Dr. Meyer says.
If you want to get some protein the healthier way, try Canadian bacon. It’s leaner than its more traditional counterpart: “Two ounces have only 1.2 grams of saturated fat,” says DeNysschen.
Eat it grilled alongside some eggs, or mix it into an omelet for extra protein that is sure to keep you powered through anything.
4. Low-fat yogurt
Woke up late? While a breakfast bar might be a quick and easy option, it may not be as healthy as you think. “They are usually full of sugars,” DeNysschen says.
Instead, she recommends an alternative source of protein that also takes no prep time: low-fat yogurt. With all of the yogurt varieties available today, there’s something for everyone. Try Greek yogurt, which has even more protein than regular yogurt.
However you choose to enjoy it, yogurt is packed with protein, potassium, vitamin B12, calcium and more. Just be sure to choose a low-fat version that isn’t full of added sugars. Be wary of versions with fruit mix-ins; you can avoid excessive sugar by adding in your own fresh fruit!
With all the high-calorie, sugar-packed, fancy varieties of coffee drinks available at every coffee shop today, coffee has become more of a dessert than a pick-me-up morning favorite.
“There is nothing wrong with a cup of coffee—just avoid high levels of sugar added in,” DeNysschen says.
If you aren’t quite ready to drink your coffee black, try it with skim milk and small amounts of natural sugar instead of artificial sweeteners.
You pack a lot into your days, so make sure that your food packs enough energy for you! However, we all know that mornings are often rushed and hectic, especially in college. Try preparing as much of your breakfast as possible the night before so that you won’t have to scramble (no pun intended) around half asleep in the morning trying to make your meal. But when even your best-laid plans don’t pan out and you sleep through your alarm, at least grab a yogurt on your way out the door. Whatever you do, Dr. Meyer reminds us, “Do not skip breakfast!”