Build A Better Breakfast

By Nicole Duncan

A well-balanced morning meal may be the key to maintaining a healthy weight, but a recent study shows that eating a variety of foods for breakfast—for example, toast with a glass of milk and a banana, rather than just toast—also improves mental functioning and alertness. The scientists found that every additional food group eaten at breakfast increased participants’ mental health scores. “Your brain operates on glucose obtained from carbohydrates, but when protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals are paired with carbs in the morning, they help your body process and sustain that glucose-derived energy,” says Bethany Thayer, RD, a dietitian in Detroit. Boost your energy and brainpower with these three morning-meal combos:

Breakfast Banana Split. Top a banana with low-fat vanilla and strawberry yogurt, and sprinkle with your favorite whole-grain cereal.

On-The-Go Power Mix. Pour whole-grain cereal, dried fruit, and nuts into a zip-close plastic bag, and eat with a travel cup of low-fat or fat-free milk.

Benedict Toast. Layer a slice of low-fat ham, low-fat cheese, and one poached egg on whole-wheat toast, and pair with a small glass of orange juice.