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Shelly Barnes: Get up, get ready, get something to eat

Shelly Barnes • Updated Sep 12, 2017 at 11:15 PM

It’s the most important meal of the day. Yes, breakfast. We think about what we will have for dinner or where we are going for lunch today, but what about breakfast?  Your body hasn’t had any nourishment for about 12 hours, and it’s ready to get going. Breakfast replenishes your supply of energy and other essential nutrients to keep your energy level up throughout the day.

Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast tend to eat about 100 fewer calories throughout the day. Breakfast skippers overcompensate at other meals. So set yourself up for a day of healthy eating and minimizing blood sugar swings by eating something every morning.

A good plan for breakfast combines complex carbohydrates like whole grains and fruit, along with a protein. The carbohydrates give a burst of energy as they break down relatively quickly and enter the bloodstream. The protein breaks down more slowly, giving a longer feeling of fullness or satiety and a slow release of energy to get you through to lunch without an energy slump. Add a low-fat dairy choice for added calcium and vitamin D for a complete breakfast.

Even if you are short on time in the morning, you can still have something to eat.  The key is to plan ahead and have a well-stocked pantry. Plan ahead and boil eggs to have in the refrigerator, along with string cheese, fresh fruits, yogurt or even applesauce. Stock the pantry with healthy energy bars, ready-to-eat cereal, crackers and peanut butter for quick and easy weekday breakfasts. Weekends can be a time for more leisurely and creative breakfasts.

So make a plan to carve out a few minutes of your routine to get something to eat each morning before you start the day. As you make eating breakfast a part of your daily routine, you will discover a new found energy and a kick start to healthier eating.

Here are a few ideas for healthier breakfasts. Try them out and see what works for you.

Ready-to-eat cereal can be an easy and delicious choice for breakfast. But beware and choose carefully as so many are high in sugar and low in nutrition. Be a breakfast detective and find the best choice for your family. Here’s what to look for in a 1-ounce serving or about 1 cup of flakes:

• 100-200 calories (ideally less than 120), 2 or more grams protein, 3 or more grams fiber (ideally 5 or more), 8 grams or less of sugar, 3 grams or less of fat and no trans-fat and 10-25 percent daily value for key vitamins and minerals such as iron, folate, B6 and B12. A cereal tip is to drink all of the milk in your cereal as it is a good source of protein and many of the vitamins and minerals that are sprayed onto the cereal go into the milk. 

Frittata Muffins

• Vegetable spray.

• 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped.

• 6 eggs.

• 1/2 cup milk.

• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard.

• 1/4 teaspoon salt.

• 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

• 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese.

• 1/4 cup finely chopped onion.

• 1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper.

• 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed.

In small skillet, cook the mushrooms in vegetable spray, sprinkling with a pinch of salt and pepper. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese, onion, bell pepper, peas and mushrooms. Spoon into 12 greased muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until set. Let them rest five minutes and then remove.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state and provides equal opportunities in all programming and employment. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.  Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

For more information on this or other family and consumer sciences-related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at sbarnes@utk.edu or 615-444-9584.

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