The four key components of a healthy breakfast—and why you don’t want to miss out on a single one.
We’ve all had those days—when you’re running late and grab a yogurt cup or a solitary banana to scarf down at the office only to hear that telltale rumble from your midsection an hour later. You had your a.m. meal, so what’s the problem?
Your body needs more than a solo starter. Morning eating helps ensure all-day energy to combat pregnancy fatigue and satisfy your appetite to curb cravings later in the day. But those benefits only kick in if you choose wisely.
Breakfast is a team effort that requires multiple key ingredients, so make your meal a combo (but not in the drive-thru sense) and add a few more foods to your lineup. According to experts at Bastyr University’s Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science in Kenmore, Washington, a balanced breakfast includes four all-important components:
1 | Protein: Consider this the foundation of your first meal of the day. With it, your body feels fuller for longer, which keeps unhealthy snacking in check.
2 | Complex carbohydrates: This boost is just what you need to feel energized and hit the ground running. Opt for whole grain varieties for fiber, which ensures your digestive system gets moving, too.
3 | Healthy fats: Some fats get a bad rap, but good-for-you options, such as those found in avocados, nuts and seeds, are actually beneficial for you and baby. They’re filling, and they supply energy you
can rely on for hours.
4 | Flavor: A healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be bland. Garnish your meal with a little something extra to make a dish you’ll actually want to eat.
Put this formula to the (taste) test, and turn the page for four filling breakfasts that give you a healthy start to the day—and your baby-on-the-way a healthy start in life.
Greek yogurt parfait
Dish out a serving of tangy Greek yogurt for loads of calcium and nearly twice as much protein as regular ol’ yogurt. Top it with muesli (which is like loose granola but without the extra sugar) for fiber. Add banana and walnuts for potassium—to help with hypertension and leg cramps—and omega-3 fatty acids, vital building blocks for brain and eye development.
Scrambled breakfast burrito
Pile your tortilla with scrambled eggs and avocado for a healthy dose of folate (the natural form of folic acid that prevents neural tube defects, like spina bifida), potassium, and vitamins C and B6, which has been known to ease morning sickness. Spoon some salsa or fresh tomatoes on top for extra antioxidants and iron—a mineral in high demand for the expectant crowd.
Nutty berry smoothie
Barley might be a surprising smoothie ingredient, but it’s well-suited to the task of bulking up your liquid breakfast, with twice as much protein and about half the calories as oats. Toss all the ingredients into a blender (raspberries for antioxidants and vitamin K; almond butter for mono-unsaturated fat; and milk for protein and bone-building calcium), and pulse until smooth for the ultimate grab-and-go fare.
Oatmeal blueberry pancakes
A sprinkle of flaxseeds goes a long way when it comes to omega-3s and fiber, which staves off dreaded constipation. But they can’t be eaten whole if you want to reap the nutritional benefits. Mix ground flaxseeds and blueberries right into a basic oatmeal pancake batter, and finish your stack off with a whipped ricotta topping (made of pasteurized ricotta cheese and honey) for a tasty meal you’ll flip for.