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Ask a Dietitian

"Diana, just a quick heads up to let you know we are still using your cookbook and the guys will often be heard saying what would Diana say about this or that....really good feed back... I made your potato salad and the oriental coleslaw on Sat. for a family luncheon and had rave reviews so thanks again."

Maeghan Henke
BC Hydro

Complimentary Breakfast Foods for Maximum Nutritional Benefit

March 1st, 2016

Despite knowing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, 40% of Canadians skip breakfast. When you skip breakfast you miss out on an important opportunity to get enough protein, fibre, iron and other nutrients you need in your day. There are several ways a complete breakfast can help you.

Brain Boost:

After an overnight fast, your blood sugar levels are low and your brain is running on low energy supplies. Breakfast provides your brain with the carbohydrate energy it needs to concentrate, be alert and perform better in academics. Research shows that kids who eat breakfast perform better at school.

Healthy Body Weight:

Studies shows that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than those who skip breakfast. People trying to lose weight have better success with weight loss and keeping the weight off when they eat breakfast. According to Public Health Nutrition 2015, Bi et al., skipping breakfast can have adverse effects such as increasing the risk for Type II Diabetes.

Key Nutrients from a well-planned breakfast:

Iron: Iron is an essential nutrient that we need to get from food. Non-heme iron coming from oats, cereals, nuts, eggs, leafy greens and toast is not well absorbed. Vitamin C improves absorption of iron when consumed at the same meal. It is also dose sensitive so the more vitamin C there is the greater the %absorption. Vitamin C also facilitates the incorporation of iron into its storage protein ferritin. Delicious sources of vitamin C include Tropicana 100% pure Orange juice, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, oranges, onions, peppers and broccoli.

Fibre: women need 25g of fibre per day and men need 38g of fibre per day. Breakfast is one of the most important meals for getting fibre in your diet. Quaker Oats and All Bran Buds are two fantastic cereals providing soluble fibre which helps lower cholesterol. In particular, the beta-glucan in oats has been shown to lower blood cholesterol and Health Canada recognizes that role by approving a health claim about it. Whole grain breads such as Silver Hills provide 5 g of fibre per slice. Fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts also provide a source of fibre.

Potassium: A diet low in sodium and high in potassium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke and heart disease. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of potassium and are naturally low in sodium, not to mention they are full of antioxidants.

Protein: protein acts like an anchor for your carbohydrate energy and makes it last longer. Getting enough protein at breakfast will ensure your energy lasts through the morning, keeping you full until snack time. Great breakfast proteins include eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, soymilk, nuts, nut butters, seeds and protein powders.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are your body’s best fuel source. They are digested easily and are the only nutrient that cross the blood brain barrier. Choose sources of carbohydrates that are nutrient dense and offer a source of fibre such as whole grain cereals like oatmeal, fruit and whole grain breads.

 Winning Breakfast Combinations:

Hot cereal: Quaker Oats hot breakfast cereal cooked with milk or orange juice and water and sprinkled with chopped walnuts and dried cranberries, served with a glass of 100% pure Tropicana orange juice. (for extra nutrition use Tropicana with calcium and vitamin D).

Citrus Oat Smoothie: 3/4c Quaker Quick Oats, 2/3c Tropicana Pure Premium OJ, 3/4c Plain non-fat Greek yogurt, 1 medium banana, 1 tbsp honey, ice. Blended together, serves 2.

Parfait: Blueberries and strawberries topped with Greek 0% Vanilla yogurt, sprinkled with All Bran Buds

Omelet: Sautéed onion, peppers and fresh arugula in an omelet served with 1 slice whole grain toast

Bagel: Whole grain bagel, almond butter, sliced banana, pumpkin seeds, glass of OJ