What’s for breakfast? It’s complicated

WASHINGTON — It’s the most important meal of the day, but a lot of us manage to mess up breakfast.

In our hectic lives, adults and kids all too often grab something — anything — quick in the morning. Often, it’s something that doesn’t really fill us up, or that leads to a midmorning sugar crash. And when we sit down for a leisurely weekend meal, we can end up eating way too many calories, sugar and fat.

Some of us may throw up our hands and wonder, why even bother trying to eat a healthy breakfast?

Dr. Will Kimbrough prepares a healthy meal in his kitchen. The local primary care physician likes to eat an omelet with vegetables for a healthy breakfast. (Courtesy Will Kimbrough)
Dr. Will Kimbrough prepares a healthy meal in his kitchen. The local primary care physician likes to eat an omelet with vegetables for a healthy breakfast. (Courtesy Will Kimbrough)

That’s the question I posed recently to my own primary care physician, Dr. Will Kimbrough. He’s one of those “walk the walk” type doctors — fairly athletic and pretty clean when it comes to his diet. Which, as he often reminds me, is not all that easy for a guy from the deep South.

He says when choosing breakfast foods, you need to think about feeding your brain.

Unlike other major organs, the brain runs on only one kind of fuel: sugar.

That doesn’t mean the key to a sharp mind in the morning is a doughnut, but it does mean you need to eat foods that offer a mix of nutrients in the morning, including complex carbohydrates, protein and a bit of fat to keep your brain running at peak performance.

The idea is to keep blood sugar levels steady and within a healthy range. A simple omelet with veggies — Kimbrough’s favorite breakfast — is one option. My go-to morning meal of fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and slivers of almonds is another.

Kimbrough — who is with One Medical Group, in D.C. — approves of my favorite breakfast because it provides a nice balance of vitamins and nutrients. He suggests throwing those same ingredients — perhaps adding in frozen fruit — into a blender for a smoothie on the go.

It’s one way of mixing convenience with nutrition — something a lot of us are looking for during the work week.

And if you eat right, you may not need gobs of vitamins and supplements — except, of course, vitamin D in the dead of winter.

We are going to explore all of the ins and outs of breakfast — the dos and the don’ts — plus ideas how to fix a healthier daily breakfast in our new series “What’s for Breakfast?”. We’ve tapped several of the area’s top nutritionists to share their advice — and I may turn to Kimbrough for guidance as well.

But this is a conversation, and we want to hear from you! Post your comments and questions in the blog — and yes, we do want to know what you eat in the morning. You can also leave messages on the WTOP Talkback line at 844-282-1035 or send an email at talkback@wtop.com.

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