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Senior Nutrition: Breakfast Foods That Get You Moving

Independent Living | Senior Living Tips | Here For Myself | Nutrition Bites

The old saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” has stood the test of time — and for good reason. Breakfast is a key part of senior nutrition, and the benefits of this first meal of the day are vast: From improving energy levels and concentration to reducing the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and more, eating a healthy breakfast is a verified way to support overall health.

If you’re looking to improve your breakfast regime, start a new morning routine or are in need of some breakfast ideas for seniors, here’s everything to know to start your day in a healthy, satisfying way.

Why Is Breakfast Important For Seniors?

When it comes to senior nutrition, fueling your body and mind with breakfast is important for many reasons, including:

  • Energy: The body gets its energy from glucose (which comes from the carbohydrates you eat) and stores some of this glucose as glycogen to use when other energy supplies run low. In a fasted state, which often occurs overnight between your last meal and breakfast, these glycogen stores become depleted, meaning the body has to turn to less efficient sources for its energy, leaving you feeling sluggish. The best way to replenish the energy and nutrient stores in your body is by eating first thing in the morning.
  • Brain health: The brain primarily relies on glucose to function optimally. Eating breakfast upon waking supplies the body with glucose to fuel your brain and support mental performance throughout the day.
  • Weight control: There is ongoing debate about eating or skipping breakfast and the benefits of each on metabolism and weight control. Overall findings conclude that when it comes to health and the number on the scale, filling up first thing in the morning with breakfast can help you to avoid making unhealthy food choices you may otherwise make later in a hungrier state, and set you up for success in choosing other healthy options throughout your day.
  • Medications: Many medications must be taken with food in order to avoid an upset stomach. Getting into the routine of taking daily medications with breakfast is a good way to make sure medicine is consumed properly. Bonus: Taking medications in the same fashion each day can help you remember to take them.

Related: The Importance Of Fiber For Older Adults

How To Make Sure Your Breakfast Is Nutritious

When it comes to breakfast, the choices are truly limitless. But, not all breakfast options are created equal. When deciding on breakfast, you ultimately want to choose high-quality, whole foods. In general, the fewer ingredients a food item has, the better. Here are some other tips on how to create a healthy, hearty breakfast:

  • Opt for whole grains: Foods like bagels, toast, waffles, oatmeal, cereals or English muffins all have whole-grain varieties. Whole grains also are good sources of fiber, which supports senior nutrition in many ways.
  • Look for lean protein: Eggs, yogurt, and nuts or seeds are great sources of protein. 
  • Add vegetables: You may not immediately think of greens with breakfast, but there are many ways to incorporate veggies into this meal. Try scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms or an omelet with bell peppers and onions. Don’t prefer greens so early? Incorporate them into a smoothie with fruits as a way to avoid the taste while still reaping the benefits.
  • Choose fruits: Fruit is a key part of an overall balanced diet, and a versatile ingredient when it comes to breakfast.

Another breakfast tip: Be mindful of sugar content. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends about 36 grams (9 teaspoons) of sugar per day for men, and 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day for women. 

Food items like cereals, breads and granola bars may appear healthy at first glance, but check the ingredients list before consuming them. “Sugar” is only one word used to describe this ingredient. If you see terms like “dextrose,” “glucose,” “cane juice,” or “high-fructose corn syrup,” to name a few, beware — these are all alternative names to sugar that mean the same thing. In addition, ingredients on food labels are organized by the quantity of the ingredient from highest to lowest, meaning the closer sugar (or one of its counterpart names) is to the front of the list, the greater presence it has in the food item. 

Healthy Breakfast Ideas For Seniors

The beauty of breakfast is that whether you’re looking for something sweet or savory, there are healthy options to satisfy any craving. In addition, the time needed to prepare a hearty breakfast typically takes just a few minutes. 

A few breakfast meal options you might consider incorporating into your routine include:

  • Oatmeal topped with fruits and nuts or seeds
  • A veggie omelet with a side of whole-grain toast
  • A whole-grain bagel topped with avocado and cherry tomatoes
  • A smoothie with spinach, fruit and yogurt
  • Hard-boiled eggs with a side of fruit

Senior Meals And Nutrition At Independence Village

At Independence Village, every meal is crafted with our residents in mind. Not only are residents able to choose from multiple, customizable meal options each day, but they also have access to our in-house registered dietitian and personal nutritional plans. To learn more about our dining options, contact StoryPoint at 1-844-403-6569.

Related: What To Eat To Boost Your Immune System As A Senior

Related: Why Seniors Should Eat Whole Grains For A Healthy Diet

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