A perfect beginning to your day is to ‘break the fast,’ helping fuel your body’s energy tank and to begin obtaining daily nutrients. Eating breakfast at home is easier for controlling portion sizes and breakfast options. But eating breakfast away from home is trickier. Large restaurant portion sizes are routine which add more calories along with extra salt, fat, and sugar to this first meal of the day.
So, if you typically eat your first meal of the day at a restaurant, how do you retain a semblance of “health” in the meal by still providing vital nutrients keeping you energized and alert all day?
Let’s take a look at important steps to follow towards a healthier, nutrient-rich breakfast when eating out:
- Reduce unhealthy fat
Who doesn’t like bacon or greasy sausage on the side with the day’s first meal? They may taste good, but your body may disagree with indigestion. In addition, processed meats like bacon and sausage are full of unhealthy saturated fat, calories, and salt, raising your risk of heart disease and stroke. Choose instead Canadian bacon or low-fat turkey bacon, lean cuts of beef, pork, or ham.
- Skip the pastries
Baked goods like sugary donuts, muffins, or Danishes are tempting but are not the best way to start your day. They are loaded with saturated fat and refined carbohydrates, offering little nutritional value. Instead, choose a healthier carbohydrate made from whole grains, such as a warm bowl of oatmeal with berries, whole wheat toast, or a whole-grain English muffin. Each will provide fiber and protein, keeping you satiated all morning.
- Order smaller portions
When choosing off the menu, choose the smallest portions available. Or ask your server if you can get a smaller portion of a meal. If choosing foods from a buffet, avoid piling your plate high with food. Instead, start with small portions and eat until you feel full, not stuffed.
- Add on protein
To get a healthy breakfast boost, always be sure to have a healthy protein source. Protein digests slowly in the body, leaving you to feel fuller, longer. One of the best protein sources beloved as breakfast food is eggs. A large egg contains approximately 7 grams of protein and other nutrient powerhouses of vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, and choline, along with lutein and zeaxanthin.
For breakfast, other healthy proteins include Greek yogurt, a bean burrito, turkey bacon, cottage cheese, peanut butter, and other nut butters, and protein powder added to a beverage.
- Other helpful hints
- Pair proteins and carbohydrates in your morning meal. Carbohydrates provide energy, and protein offers longer-lasting satiety.
- Watch out for ‘extras.’ Many of the extra nutrients you consume come from toppings like butter, maple syrup, and jelly. Although tasty, these extras add up, so be mindful of portion amounts.
- Look for breakfast items like oatmeal, berries, Greek yogurt, scrambled eggs, and whole-grain toast. These simply prepared foods are higher in fiber, protein, calcium, and other important nutrients to start your day.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.