Don’t skimp on breakfast, it’s quite simply the most important meal of the day.
The most important meal of the day
Breakfast might just be the last thing on your to-do list in the morning, “but as you’ve been told many times before, a healthy breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” says Dr Jyothi Prasad, chief dietitian, Manipal Hospital, Bangalore.
“There’s a nearly ten-hour long gap between dinner and breakfast, during which the body is on fast mode. As the name suggests, breakfast is the meal you eat to break that fast,” explains Dr Prasad, “It refuels your body with essential nutrients to kick-start your day. So don’t skip it.”
If you’re short on time, grab a quick breakfast that doesn’t consume too much time or get it ready the night before.
Here, Dr Prasad suggests some healthy breakfast options, a combination of south Indian, north Indian, ready-made and continental options.
Quick and healthy breakfast options:
Your neighbourhood supermarket is most likely to have a stock of idli batter. Cook idlies the night before, if you’re too rushed in the morning. Eat idlies with honey, it’s yummy and won’t require additional time for making chutney or such.
Poha (flattened rice):
Poha is simple to make and takes very little time too. “Add veggies like peas, and perhaps even carrots into your poha to make it more nutritious,” says Dr Prasad.
Keep some roasted groundnuts handy to add that extra zing to your poha, groundnuts are also healthy as they pack in antioxidants, folate and a host of other nutrients.
“Choose a multi-grain dosa — what we call adai down south — over the regular kind,” suggests Dr Prasad. It packs in multiple nutrients – just what you need to jumpstart your day.
However, make sure you use a non-stick pan, and less oil though.
Whole-wheat bread sandwich:
If you’re a vegetarian, Dr Prasad suggests a simple paneer, onion, tomato and cucumber sandwich. “Spread a layer of low-fat paneer instead of cheese, as it’s a healthier option,” she stresses. A layer of grated paneer, sliced onions, cucumber and tomato, salt and pepper – and you’re ready to go.
For non-vegetarians, keep some boiled, boneless chicken pieces handy. Mustard sauce or mayonnaise with boiled chicken and onions tastes fantastic, try it out today.
While eggs make for an excellent breakfast option for kids, adults must tread cautiously. “Get your lipid profile checked,” recommends Dr Prasad, before you go on an egg eating spree. If your cholesterol is high, make sure you stay away from egg yolk.
A good source of protein, selenium and riboflavin, egg whites are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. So beat in one or two egg whites, add some chopped veggies (cut and store in refrigerator), a pinch of turmeric, salt and red-chilli powder to taste — mix and scramble or make an omelette. “You can add a slice of brown bread, if you choose,” says Dr Prasad.
“Popular up north, daliya (broken wheat) makes for an excellent breakfast option,” says Dr Prasad. Daliya is unrefined wheat, loaded with fibre and complex carbohydrates, it’s healthy and can be made in a jiffy. Dr Prasad recommends adding a handful of nuts to make daliya a perfect, complete breakfast.
Dr Prasad warns against those sugar-coated cereals in the market. “Choose sugar-free wheat flakes or corn flakes. They pack in carbohydrates, fibre and protein,” she says, “add some fresh fruit or dried fruits and nuts to make it more wholesome.” Museli that combines a variety of grains and driedfruits too makes for a good option.
High in fibre, oats is known to help regulate blood sugar levels and keep cholesterol under check. What more? It’s easy to make too. Again, Dr Prasad suggests adding nuts and fruits or dried fruits to that oat porridge.
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