Welcome to the Ask a Dietitian column!

Over the course of the school year, our Registered Dietitians and dietetic interns get some deep questions regarding nutrition and food from students like you. We’ve noticed a trend in what people are interested in knowing more about, so we thought we’d post our answers for everyone to enjoy!

This month, we take on the topic of breakfast: many of us struggle to have something to eat in the morning, but what exactly should you be eating anyways? Are pastries and baked goods healthy options? Take a look at our response below and let us know what you think in the comments.

One student asks:

Dear Dietitian,

I’m always very hungry in the mornings, what would you recommend I have for breakfast? I find I usually grab waffles and muffins even though I know they aren’t the best choices. 

The good thing is that you’re eating breakfast, and that’s a great start! Breakfast sets us up for the rest of the day and is arguably the most important meal. Do you know the adage, ‘Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, Dinner like a Pauper’? Research shows that people who eat breakfast are less likely to snack later on in the day and in the evening.

The potential problem with waffles and muffins is that they are mainly composed of refined carbohydrate, which can cause you to have a sugar crash mid morning. This is because refined carbohydrates are broken down more quickly into sugar and are absorbed swiftly into the bloodstream. This produces spikes and troughs in blood sugar levels, affecting your focus, concentration, and energy levels.

The strategy with breakfast (and, it could be said, for all meals) is to include choices that will release energy more slowly, leaving you feeling satisfied (and not craving food!) for longer periods of time. It has been shown that maintaining steady blood sugar results in better physical and mental health outcomes over the long term.

So what would those choices be?

  • Include protein with your breakfast. Healthy choices include egg, yogurt, milk, peanut 

  • Choose whole grains over refined grain products. Consider wholewheat, muesli, 

  • Try to have foods from 2-3 food groups in your breakfast. For more information on food groups, check out Eat Right Ontario’s handy guide on tips for using Canada’s Food Guide to create healthy meals. For example, muesli and yogurt or milk with a piece of fruit would be a great way to get both grains and a milk product early in the morning.
  • Don’t forget to have a drink too. We know that fluid is really important to help you focus and concentrate during the day, especially after fasting overnight.

Keep these tips in mind and remember: a strong breakfast can power you through the day, so choose what you eat in the morning wisely!

Remember: if you have some of your own questions to ask us, we’d love to hear from you! Email us at AskaDietitian@carleton.ca or visit https://dining.carleton.ca/nutrition/ask-a-dietitian/ and fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

Friday, October 6, 2017 in ,
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