Your first meal of the day jump-starts your metabolism, gives your body fuel to move, and energizes your brain. That's why breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. For under 400 calories, you can choose some pretty healthy options such as yogurt with fruit, oatmeal, or an omelet. To make your meal even healthier, check out these tips.
- Add milk to your yogurt and granola. Pour on half a cup of skim milk and you'll add 4.4 grams of protein, 158 mg of calcium, and 210 mg of potassium, all for just an extra 45 calories. Not only that, but it makes your bowl much creamier.
- Eat whole eggs rather than egg whites. Egg whites might be lower in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat and contain most of the protein, but the yolk contains all the vitamins like B12, vitamin D, and iron. If you eat two large eggs, it's about 142 calories, and three egg whites is 51, but remember those 90 calories are packed full of vitamins and minerals. If you're not worried about your cholesterol, enjoy whole eggs for breakfast.
- Add greens to your smoothie. A banana, some berries, and a handful of almonds are ingredients for a super healthy smoothie, but you can up the nutritional ante by adding a cup of spinach or a kale leaf to the blender. Low-calorie greens add fiber, iron, calcium, and protein, and when they're ground up with fruit and yogurt, your taste buds will never even know they're there. If you don't believe me, try this Peachy Keen smoothie featuring spinach.
- Eat an orange instead of drinking a glass of orange juice. Eating the pulp and thin skin offers extra fiber — there are 4.4 grams in the orange compared to only 0.5 grams in the juice. Plus a large orange contains fewer calories, only 86, and if you drank a cup of OJ, it would run you 121 calories.
- Choose steel cut oats instead of quick oats. A half-cup serving of steel cut oats has twice the fiber (eight grams) and protein (10 grams) when compared to the same amount of quick oats. I know steel cut variety takes longer to cook, so try precooking your oats the night before.
- Pour flaxseed oil on your fruit or cereal. For about 60 extra calories, half a tablespoon of this nutty oil will have you instantly reaching your RDI of omega-3s by adding 3.6 grams to your meal (the RDI is only 1.1 grams). Flaxseed oil doesn't offer any fiber, though, so if you're itching for more roughage, sprinkle on one tablespoon of whole flaxseeds. For just 55 extra cals, you'll add three grams of fiber and 2.3 grams of omega-3s.
- Smear almond butter instead of peanut butter. Nut butter made from almonds has fewer calories, less saturated fat, and more fiber, protein, and calcium than spread made from peanuts. Plus I think it tastes better, too.
If you have other suggestions for how to get more out of your breakfast, share them below.