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Build the perfect breakfast bowl to kick start your day

A healthy a.m. meal can give you energy, satisfy your appetite and set the stage for smart meal decisions all day long

Racha Adib

Published: Updated:

Eating breakfast does exactly that, it’s role is to break your fast, hence it’s responsible for refueling your body and jump-starting your day. So don’t overlook this meal — it’s more important than you think.

Some people choose to skip breakfast because they want to save calories, but they should probably reconsider that plan. Next time you rush out the door in the morning without something to eat, consider this: Chances are you’ll be ravenous by lunchtime and you’ll be setting yourself up for overeating. The truth is, your morning meal doesn’t have to mean you load up on a lot of calories, sugar and fats, and at the same time it could still be easy to prepare.

A healthy a.m. meal can give you energy, satisfy your appetite and set the stage for smart meal decisions all day long.

Breakfast basics

Keep the breakfast basics in mind and set yourself up for a healthy start. What exactly counts as a healthy breakfast? Incorporating food from most of the food groups:

• Fruits and vegetables. Examples include fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, and fresh juice without added sugar. Choose a variety of colors.

• Whole grains. Examples include whole-grain bread and hot or cold whole-grain cereals. Choose high fiber and low sugar options.

• Lean protein. Examples include hard-boiled eggs, nuts and seeds, and nut butters such as peanut butter. Use these with caution as they are high in calories.

• Low-fat dairy. Examples include milk, yogurts, and cheeses, such as cottage cheese or labneh. Choose low fat varieties.

Together, these food groups provide complex carbs, fiber, protein, a healthy amount of fat and various vitamins and minerals — a combination that packs a nutritious punch and helps you feel energized and satisfied for hours.

What’s the best quick and hearty breakfast?

It’s time to build your breakfast in a bowl! Choose one or two options from each food group that suits your tastes and preferences in order to round out a healthy breakfast bowl.

Here’s a look at one of our favorite breakfast bowls, along with why we chose it.

Ingredients

From the fruits and vegetable fruit group:

• Blueberries. These purple fruits pack a lot of antioxidants and can help with everything from memory, to blood pressure and preventing cancer. Blueberries are also low in calories and contain only 80 calories per cup, so you don’t have to worry much about the quantities you’re using.

• Bananas. There’s nothing like a banana at breakfast to keep those mid-morning cravings at bay. This yellow fruit—especially when it’s still a touch green—is one of the best sources of resistant starch, a healthy carbohydrate that keeps you feeling fuller longer. It also adds natural sweetness to your breakfast bowl, so you won’t have to sweeten it with added sugar. Bananas also provide a healthy dose of potassium which naturally helps to lower blood pressure.

From the whole grains food group:

• Steal cut oats. You may have noticed a heart-shaped seal on your oatmeal container and that’s because oats contain a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol and protect your heart when eaten at least three times a week. Steel cuts oats contain more fiber than instant oat but nonetheless any type of oats is always a healthy choice.

• Wheat germ. Packed with important B vitamins such as folate, vitamin B1, and Vitamin B6, wheat germ is important for the heart and for our overall mood. Just two tablespoons provides about 15% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin E and 10% of your daily folic acid and it’s easy to add in your breakfast bowl.

From the lean protein food group:

• Chia seeds. Sprinkling chia seeds into a yogurt will turn your breakfast into a gold mine of omega-3 fatty acids; it’s also a great source of fiber

• Hazelnuts. Rich in hearty mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic as well as essential fatty acid like linoleic acid, hazelnuts help lower LDL or bad cholesterol and increase HDL or good cholesterol and as a result helping to protect against heart disease and strokes.

From the low-fat dairy food group:

• Greek yogurt: This tangy yogurt is loaded with calcium and boasts plenty of protein to keep you feeling full all morning. Choose a plain, non-fat variety, and top it up with other ingredients for taste.

Directions

Prepare the porridge the night before mixing in the yogurt with chia seeds and ½ a teaspoon of vanilla, giving it a stir or two before bedtime and letting it soak all night.

The porridge keeps well for 2-3 days in the fridge, making it the perfect to-go breakfast or snack meal. In the morning, dress the porridge with steel cuts oats, wheatgerm, fruit cuts and hazelnut, and top with some honey if you like it extra sweet.

Remember, you can dress your porridge with whatever topping you like but try to use at least one ingredient from each food group.