Building a Cancer-Protective Breakfast

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It’s September. Summer is slowly fading and our autumn is revving up. Whether you are getting back from vacation or starting school, now is the time to focus on building a healthy morning routine. Launching your day with a healthy breakfast provides you the opportunity to start with a bevy of nutrients, fiber and plant compounds that help lower cancer risk and can help provide energy throughout the day. Having breakfast can also cut down on compulsive snacking later on, which can play an important role in keeping you at a healthy weight. Studies are inconsistent about whether a balanced breakfast supports a healthy weight, but it seems that getting more of your day’s calories earlier in the day may be helpful. Healthy weight is important, since strong evidence shows that having overweight or obesity increases the risk of 12 cancers.

Planning your cancer protective breakfast is as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. First, start with a 100 percent whole grain as your breakfast base. Oatmeal, quinoa, whole-grain bread and cereals are all great choices. Whole grains are a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium and plant polyphenol compounds. There is strong scientific evidence that eating whole grains decreases the risk of colorectal cancer.
  2. Next, add colorful vegetables and fruits to your morning meal. Think berries, melon, avocado and tomatoes. Vegetables and fruits also contain high amounts of dietary fiber along with phytochemicals, which naturally occur in plants and can help protect our cells from oxidative damage.
  3. Finally, be sure to include healthy protein-rich foods that will help keep you full for longer—limiting your urge to snack and perhaps overeat later. Nuts, seeds, eggs, yogurt and tofu are all delicious options.

An all-time favorite and easy-to-throw-together simple morning meal is breakfast toast. It is so versatile and doesn’t take much time. Start with a base of 100 percent whole-grain toast. Then decide on which vegetables or fruits you want to include and last choose a healthy protein, including any type of all-natural nut butter, hummus or eggs. After deciding on your three main components you can have some fun putting it all together. Check out AICRs recipes: Beautiful Breakfast Toasts along with other tasty breakfast ideas.


Author: Sheena Patel Swanner

Sheena Patel Swanner MS, RDN is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She is an experienced nutrition professional who makes cancer prevention a reality by empowering and motivating others through healthy, fun, and inspiring recommendations to choose wholesome and delicious foods.

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