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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Skip Breakfast If You Want A Fatter Belly

Breakfast is the most under-utilized, neglected and most-skipped meal of the day.  This isn't news to any of us.  But did you know that skipping breakfast increases your risk of obesity?  Prolonging your body's fasting state by skipping breakfast alters your insulin levels and causes your body to store more fat - particularly in the abdominal region.  Yep - skipping breakfast gives you a fatter belly.  Starting to rethink eating breakfast yet?  Not only does the mid-morning hunger drive you to the vending machine or the doughnut aisle of the grocery store, but those who skip breakfast generally eat less fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  So breakfast really sets the nutritional tone for your day.  
No time you say?  That's no excuse.  Here are some quick, eat-on-the-go breakfast options:
  • Zip-lock Breakfast: high-fiber dry cereal + handful of almonds + handful of dried cherries or cranberries
  •  Granola Bar & Fruit: Caution - choose high fiber, lower sugar options.  Remember that most granola bars are essentially candy bars in disguise.  Grab a banana, apple or orange to go along with it.
  • PB&J: Whole grain bread plus some peanut butter and real-fruit jam makes a great breakfast.  Make a bunch of sandwiches ahead of time and keep them in the fridge or freezer ready to grab and go.  
  • Yogurt & Fruit:  Slice up an apple the night before (it won't brown too much in 12 hours if rinsed and kept in a plastic bag), then use your yogurt as a fruit dip.
  • Savory Sandwich: For those that prefer savory breakfasts, try making a ham or cheese sandwich on whole grain bread the night before.  Pair it with some clementines or grape tomatoes. 
  • The Muffin Man: Make a batch of high fiber muffins (shredded carrots,  applesauce, flaxseed, wheat bran, raisins and bananas all make tasty & healthful additions to muffins), then wrap individually and keep in the freezer.  Pull one out the night before and you'll enjoy a bakery-style breakfast without all the extra fat, sugar and calories.  Try  Fresh Apple Muffin or Carrot Cake Muffin
Think about it.  Going for a doughnut mid-morning is going to make you more likely to "blow-it" the rest of the day and you'll be less likely to make an effort to work in fruits and veggies.  But, if you make an effort to include a fruit or vegetable with breakfast, it will increase your likelihood of eating more fruits and vegetables the rest of the day.   So give up your breakfast-skipping habit and enjoy the energy and health that is bound to follow.

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