It’s holiday season, and in the crazy of parties and shopping, it’s easy to let some healthy behaviors go. Making time for a balanced breakfast is one of these behaviors. Research shows consuming a healthy breakfast is associated with a healthy weight, consuming an overall nutritious diet, ideal mental function and ability to concentrate, and a positive mood.

Planning ahead can alleviate some of the stress of the morning and limited time for making breakfast. This can mean simply meal planning the night before or creating breakfast items you store in the freezer. For example, make up a batch of breakfast burritos to broil in the morning or a batch of whole grain waffles to throw in the toaster. Planning ahead deletes the excuse of “I don’t have time,” or relying on a cup of coffee alone.

As you create your breakfast plan, a good rule of thumb is to include 3-4 food groups per meal. Start with a source of whole grains and add a quality source of protein. Include a fruit or vegetable and you’ve got a great start to your day.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Whole grain waffle with peanut butter and banana
  • Yogurt parfait with yogurt, granola and fresh fruit
  • High fiber breakfast cereal (at least 3 grams per serving) with added nuts and milk
  • Breakfast burrito made with a whole grain tortilla, eggs, vegetables, and cheese. Or substitute your tortilla with a whole grain English muffin to create a delicious breakfast sandwich.
  • Whole grain toast topped with butter and a touch of cinnamon and sugar, topped with banana slices, with a cup of milk on the side
  • Breakfast smoothie using dairy as a base (yogurt, milk, kefir), added fat (nut butters, flax seed, chia seed), and fruit (banana, berries, you name it!)
  • Oatmeal with added nuts and dried or fresh fruit
  • Hard boiled eggs paired with whole grain toast and fruit if you’re running out the door
  • Homemade trail mix (also if you’re on the run) including nuts, dried fruit and a high fiber cereal
  • Breakfast roll up using a whole grain tortilla wrapped around peanut butter and fruit, such as apple slices or raisins

There’s so much opportunity at breakfast time to get in some of the essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that keep your body healthy and strong. Practice with some of these or other breakfast ideas to explore what you enjoy and what fits into your lifestyle. Start each day well with a balanced breakfast!

Wishing you a wonderful start to your holiday season!