Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
How many of you have heard that statement before? Growing up, my siblings and I, just like other children, were bombarded with the food pyramid. If you’re not familiar with the food pyramid, it was a system developed by the USDA, US Department of Agriculture, to help families eat a more balanced diet. At the base of the pyramid were grains and at the top of the pyramid were sugars and oils. This has since changed into the Food Plate that children are using in schools today.
I can remember vividly teachers in health class explaining to us the importance of dairy, and how it was the sole source of calcium and vitamin D. I can also remember them telling us how oil can be harmful to the body because of clogged arteries causing high cholesterol. I love how science continues to develop & debunk past truths. For example, recent studies have shown that consuming dairy products does not give the body nearly as much calcium as one may think. In fact, milk was pushed on Americans for the benefit of the dairy industries.
The Cycle: Tell Americans “milk builds strong bones”, they consume more dairy products, we make more money.
According to the USCF Medical Center, 1 cup of milk gives you 300 mg of Calcium. You can get about the same amount in 1 cup of Soy milk which contains between 200-400mg of fortified calcium. Although, I personally wouldn’t recommend soy because soy extracts nutrients from the body. Another alternative to dairy milk and soy milk is Almond milk.
Dairy Milk Alternative: Almond Milk
Almond milk may not be a great source of calcium but it does offer 30 percent of the recommended daily amount, when fortified, as well as 25 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin D. These two nutrients work together to provide healthy bone and teeth formation. It’s also naturally lactose-free, contains about 30-60 calories, and 3 grams of fat. You can use it in cereals, smoothies, protein shakes, and any other dish or dessert where you’d use dairy milk.
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I’ve never been too big on breakfast to be completely honest. But when I did have it, my idea of a great breakfast included sugary cereals like Honey Nut Cheerios or a “hearty” breakfast that included bacon and grits with butter, sugar, salt and pepper. That sort of breakfast was usually provided by places like IHOP or Waffle House. One of the best breakfast cereal alternatives around is Oatmeal.
Cereal Alternative: Oatmeal
Growing up my great grandmother would almost force my sister and I to eat oatmeal. Now as an adult, I love oatmeal and prefer it with cinnamon, bananas, and peanut butter. Oatmeal is a great source of fiber, iron, and vitamin B-6.
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White Bread Alternative: Organic Whole-Wheat
If you’re anything like me or everyone else in the world right now, consistently on the go, then you’ll love how easy it is to switch up this classic. Toast is very versatile and thanks to social media, the ideas are endless. Two of my favorites right now are Avocado toast with red pepper flakes or Banana with Peanut Butter. I prefer the smooth variety but I’ve heard that “crunch” gives us humans a feeling of satisfaction.
All you need is a great choice of bread like Organic Honey Whole Wheat and your favorite fruits, yogurt, or maybe even veggies like sweet potato. You could just throw it back old school with the PB & J. 😉 The possibilities are endless y’all!
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Last and certainly not least is my personal breakfast favorite: Fruit. Fruit can be refrigerated or left out in a bowl for easy access. Easily accessible options are bananas, grapefruit, oranges, and apples. You can add grapes and berries to yogurt with a generous topping of granola for that satisfying crunch.
I’d suggest using a greek yogurt. It is thicker in texture but provides about 17g of protein depending on the brand you use.
Breakfast helps kickstart brain activities so don’t skip it. Here’s a little tip: drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, it aids in digestion, and gets the organs moving. I know it is difficult to break old habits, I’m still in the process myself, but I promise the benefits are worth it. Over the course of this journey, I’ve learned not to give up just yet because it will get easier. So don’t fret if you fall off the wagon just dust yourself off and try again.