For Better Living

People use many strategies to prevent weight gain, but starting the day with a good breakfast is an important part of keeping off the holiday pounds. As I’m sure you have always heard, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Some people think they should skip breakfast to cut back on their calorie intake for the day so they can lose weight. Actually, the opposite is true. Research has shown that breakfast-eaters have healthier weights and are at less risk of being overweight than people who skip breakfast. People who skip breakfast tend to eat more calorie-dense foods later in the day, more than making up for the calories they would have eaten at breakfast.

Breakfasts are important for at least two reasons. As its name suggests, this meal breaks the body’s overnight fast which boosts the body’s metabolism so it can burn more calories. Breakfast is also an important time to consume some of the nutrients the body needs, and skipping breakfast may prevent the body from getting important fiber and nutrients.

Free time is limited during the holidays, and one way to save some time is to eat breakfast on the run or pick it up at a restaurant drive-through. While this may be convenient, they may not be the most healthy options.

You don’t have to stop and cook an elaborate meal to have a good breakfast. You may want to consider a banana with peanut butter, a pack of peanuts and an apple, cheese and crackers or even a boiled egg and some toast.

Cereal is another good, quick breakfast, but sure to read the label information before buying a cereal. Look for cereal that has less than 200 calories, less than 6 grams of sugar and at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving.

Breakfast bars can be another quick healthy choice. Look for bars that have less than 200 calories per bar, less tan 6 grams of sugar per 100 calories and at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per bar.

Eating a healthy breakfast is very important during the holidays because skipping any meal can lead a person to snack when they get hungry. Not only are many snacks high in fat, sugar and calories, but it can be hard to monitor portions, making it easy to overeat.

Source: Mississippi State Cooperative Extension

North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension

French Omelet

2 eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup egg substitute

¼ cup fat-free milk

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ cup cubed fully cooked lean ham

1 tablespoon chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped green pepper

¼ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, egg substitute, milk, salt and pepper. Coat a nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Place over medium heat. Add egg mixture. As eggs set, left edges, letting uncooked portion flow underneath.

When eggs are set, sprinkle ham, onion, green pepper and cheese over one side. Fold other side of omelet over filling. Cover and let stand 1 minute until cheese is melted.

Yield: 2 servings

Sandra R. Cain is the N.C. Cooperative Extension Agency director in Bladen County. She can be reached by calling 910-862-4591.

Start your holidays with a healthy breakfast