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Breakfasts for champions
Quick fixes to start your day right

01/12/17
By Matt Ingersoll listings@hippopress.com



Every morning you have a chance to start your day with healthy food choices. Here are a few quick ways to make that happen.

 
Plenty of protein
It’s OK to eat carbohydrate-rich foods like bagels or toast for breakfast, but even better to supplement those foods with a great source of protein, like eggs or milk.
“Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, so it helps to sustain you and make you full longer,” said Julie Izsak, owner of Bedford Nutrition and a registered dietician. “If you’re already eating protein foods for lunch and dinner too, then eating protein foods for breakfast will also help to keep your energy level constant throughout the day. … The problem with [eating just] carbohydrates is that it makes your energy level go up and come right back down, and you crash.”
There are tons of ways to make eggs, and turkey sausage or turkey bacon can up your protein too. If you really want that toast or bagel, top it with a nut butter instead of jelly. 
And if you’re in a hurry, Izsak said yogurt is also an excellent source of protein — especially Greek yogurt, which often has double the amount of protein of regular yogurt. 
 
Don’t sugarcoat it
If you do reach for yogurt, stay away from syrupy flavored yogurts, Izsak said, because they can be loaded with sugar. Foods with processed sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup can often contain excessive levels of sugar and make you hungrier again faster.
“The best thing to do would be to go with a plain or a vanilla flavored yogurt and then add your own fruits or nuts to it,” Izsak said. “You can mix it with either fresh or frozen juice, or chopped up nuts or granola, which makes a quick and healthy breakfast, or add a small amount of organic maple syrup if you want to sweeten it a bit.”
Traci Komorek of Fresh Roots Nutrition in Concord said about four to six grams of sugar per serving is a good rule of thumb when selecting any type of cereal or granola for breakfast.
“Foods like instant oatmeal and processed cereals … often will only increase your appetite for sugar,” Komorek said. “A meal should make you full for three to four hours or it’s not balanced or significant enough.”
If you need a little sweetness, you can add fruit to your meal — but that means real fruit.
While both fresh fruit and fruit juices contain natural sugar, Izsak said using fruit in its natural state is better when making recipes like fruit smoothies for breakfast.
“It’s very easy to drink four ounces of juice, but you’re not getting fiber that would be in fresh or frozen fruit to help you slow down your digestion, and so you get hungry quicker,” she said.
Izsak said another tip is to stay away from “juice drinks” like Hi-C because of the added sugar in them. She suggested looking for labels on juices that say “no added sugars” or “all natural sugar” and limiting your intake to four ounces per day.
 
Cereal succession
Cereal may be one of the quickest and most accessible options for breakfast, but it’s not always the healthiest.
“The more processed the food is, the faster it is to digest, and it raises your blood sugar faster,” said Kim Dorval, owner of Nutrition in Motion. “The problem with cereal is that it is very lightweight and you can easily overeat it. … One serving of most cereals, which you can hold in your hands, is like 30 grams, and that can be contrasted with, say, a quart of strawberries. So it’s not just the processing, but the weight of it.”
Dorval said choosing a cereal with added protein or added fiber, like Kashi or Special K, helps to slow your digestion down. But, she said, whole unprocessed foods like eggs or fruits are still better than any kind of cereal.
“You can even sprinkle cereal on top of yogurt if you still want to eat it but also want to control your intake amount,” she said. 





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