By Linda Cameron
Breakfast is unarguably the most important meal of the day. However, the breakfasts we’re familiar with aren’t exactly the breakfasts of champions. “The old standbys – cereal and milk, toast and juice, Pop-Tarts or breakfast waffles from the box are full of sugar. Children get hungry before the school lunch hour,” says dietitian Teresa Wagner. Parents themselves often struggle with breakfast, usually starting their day with a quick cup of coffee and a pastry. “Although mornings are busy,” Ms. Wagner says, “making breakfast needn’t be complicated.” A nutrition expert and herself a parent, Ms. Wagner has several tips for deliciously simple and well balanced breakfast meals.
Teresa Wagner, RD, LD
Nutritional Weight & Wellness
45 Snelling Ave. N.
St. Paul, MN 55104
Teresa Wagner is a registered and licensed dietitian, accredited through the Minnesota Board of Nutrition and Dietetics. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Ms. Wagner has a degree in dietetics. She completed an internship at Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Before joining Nutritional Weight & Wellness, Ms. Wagner was a clinical dietitian for the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. You can listen to her clinic’s weekly podcast, Dishing Up Nutrition, for free on iTunes. Nutritional Weight & Wellness has seven offices across Twin Cities.
The Elements Of A Deliciously Balanced Breakfast
“A good breakfast is rich in balanced macronutrients, a well-proportioned combination of proteins, fats and carbohydrates,” says Ms. Wagner. Why are they so essential?
- Proteins (P) consist of amino acids, the body’s building blocks that are instrumental to cellular production, tissue repair and immune function. “Proteins give us energy and have a positive effect on our moods, the immune system and the brain.”
- Fats (F) get a bad rap but are critical to brain health. “It’s because 60 percent of our brain consists of fatty tissue,” Ms. Wagner explained. “Fats also suppress hunger pangs for longer periods and increase the absorption of nutrients from other foods.”
- Carbohydrates (C), found in grains, fruits and vegetables, energize the brain and promote a healthy immune system.
All 3 elements can be found in 4 zesty breakfast recipes Ms. Wagner cooks up.
Morning “Pick Me Up” Protein Shake
Too busy to cook breakfast? Make a morning protein shake from these blended ingredients: 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit (C), 1 to 1.5 scoops of high quality protein powder (P), 1/4 cup canned coconut milk (F), and 1/2 cup water. A morning pickup, this breakfast shake is also a nutritious snack treat. Perfect for busy families.
An easy source of protein, eggs (P) are rich in vitamin A, riboflavin, folic acid, calcium, iron and other nutrients. Eggs scrambled in butter (F) and served with fresh fruit and/or hashed browns (C) on the side make a deliciously wholesome breakfast in minutes. For more nutritional punch, throw in veggies (C) such as chopped onions, bell peppers and colorful zucchini. (Hmmm! Are we talking omelette?)
Related: Best Omelets In Minnesota
Easy Banana/Egg Pancakes
This banana/egg pancake recipe serves two but can be more than doubled for a growing family of school-aged children. Combine 2 eggs (P) with 1 small mashed ripe banana (C), 1 teaspoon vanilla and a few dashes of cinnamon. Cook in 2 teaspoons coconut oil or butter (F). For a nutritiously exotic twist, substitute mashed plantain for the banana.
Tasty Breakfast Burgers
Breakfast burgers are easy to make and nutritious. Place leftover pre-cooked home-made grass-fed beef burgers in the freezer. Reheat a burger every morning. “My son went on a long streak of eating bun-less burgers for breakfast,” says Ms. Wagner. These burgers (P) pair well with avocado (F), fresh fruit (C), and leftover potatoes (C). It’s dinner made into breakfast.