You’ve heard it all before – you must eat breakfast to jumpstart your day, but not all breakfasts are created equal when it comes to your heart health. Sure, it’s easy to grab a donut with your Venti, but by mid-morning you’re feeling sluggish and starving. That hunger makes you reach for desperate measures – the vending machine. We all know most of what you find in there isn’t good for you. So, how do we keep the mid-morning hunger pangs and blood sugar level drop at bay? You do so by starting your day with a protein-rich hearthealthy breakfast.

NO, WE’RE NOT KIDDING.

Studies have shown that those who start their day with a decent heart-healthy meal fair far better throughout the day. Instead of reaching for the sugary cereal in the morning and increasing your chance of developing diabetes or clogging your arteries with processed foods, try a good-for-you meal like a piece of whole grain (good) or sprouted bread (much better) and a couple of slices of cheese; Or, maybe, a handful of nuts, cheese, with a side of zero sugar yogurts like Oikos Zero. All of these foods are not only delicious, but they also promote good heart health.

WHY CHOOSE PROTEIN-RICH FOOD?

Protein is an essential nutrient for your body. It works to keep your circulation running, provides strength for your arteries and gives muscle to your heart, and helps your body to stave off hunger. It’s essentially a morning (or all day long) magic bullet.

Instead of skipping breakfast or grabbing something at the drive-thru daily, you can take an hour on the weekend or whenever you have free time to prep for your week’s breakfast meals and go-to mid-morning snacks. It’s that easy. Buy your cheese and nuts in bulk and throw them into little plastic baggies for a grab and go breakfast. Mix up a fruit and vegetablerich smoothie for a heart healthy meal. There are plenty of options to choose from that are far better for you.

TIPS TO HELP YOU GET YOUR DAY STARTED WITH THE HEALTH OF YOUR HEART IN MIND:

✓ Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. 9 Skip the junk food.
✓ Load up on fruits and veggies.
✓ Clean out your pantry and stock it with proteins and grains.
✓ Drink fresh fruit juices.
✓ Ditch the morning soda.
✓ Drink green tea.
✓ Avoid sugars. (Note: Sugar has 35 different names currently. Do your research to make sure you’re not accidentally ingesting massive amounts of sugar.)

TAKE THE HEART-HEALTHY BREAKFAST CHALLENGE.

Try to eat a good breakfast every morning and watch for changes in the way you look and feel. The changes might seem subtle, but you’re making the right choices, you’ll definitely have done your part to keep your heart healthy and ward off a number of diseases that could promote heart problems. Give it two weeks. Keep a food diary. Make the effort, and soon you’ll feel great.

By Vanessa Jackson

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