Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Multiple Sclerosis
The unpredictable symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) like fatigue can make it difficult to eat breakfast on the table consistently, but missing breakfast means lacking in nutrients, which can take a toll on your body. energy do have every day.
The benefits of breakfast are seemingly endless. According to the Cleveland Clinic, breakfast not only replenishes your daily energy stores, but it also improves your heart health, lowers your risk of diabetes, and helps alleviate brain fog.
How Skipping Breakfast Creates Nutritional Gaps
The results of several recent studies highlight the risks associated with not eating sufficient amounts of nutritious food.
In a study published in April 2019 in The Lancet, researchers have identified a suboptimal diet as an important and preventable risk factor for chronic noncommunicable diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers evaluated the eating habits of people living in 195 different countries and collected nearly 30 years of data. The study found that in the United States, the consumption of whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables was insufficient. In other words, not eating enough of these foods is bad for our health.
A recent analysis of the breakfast habits of 30,000 American adults highlights the role of breakfast in meeting your nutritional needs. The study, published in April 2021 in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, suggested that people who skip breakfast lack important nutrients, including folate, calcium, iron, and some vitamins. What’s more, the study found that people who lack nutrients for breakfast don’t get them later in the day.
If you’re one of those Americans who sometimes or always skips breakfast, consider trying these quick, easy, and tasty strategies to make breakfast a more regular part of your day – and make sure you meet your expectations. daily nutritional needs.
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What should you include in your breakfast?
Breakfast is a great time to include a variety of essential nutrients on a daily basis:
- Complex carbohydrates These nutrients are found in whole grains, beans and legumes, colorful fruits and vegetables. Tip: The developers of the MIND diet specifically identified leafy greens and blueberries as foods that support brain health, which is important for MS.
- Protein You can get your morning protein fix from eggs, Greek yogurt, soy milk or milk, tofu, tempeh, tree nuts, nut butter, and seeds.
- Heart healthy fats Nut butters, avocados, oily fish, nuts, and seeds are great options.
- Calcium Meet your daily calcium needs by drinking skimmed or skimmed milk. Tip: If you abstain from dairy for any reason, make sure your alternative is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
- Folate Start your day by incorporating folate-containing foods like green leafy vegetables, cereals fortified with folic acid, wheat germ and orange juice into your breakfast menus.
- The iron Fortified breakfast cereals, tofu, quinoa, and leafy greens like spinach are all sources of iron.
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Quick and flexible breakfasts to try
If you have MS, try one of these quick and easy ideas:
- Smoothies Combine colorful berries, frozen banana pieces, leafy greens, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, nut butters and milk or a fortified dairy alternative.
- Whole grains Prepare a whole grain like oatmeal or quinoa with milk, or part milk and part water. Serve it with berries and nuts for added flavor and a nutritious boost.
- Avocado or guacamole toast Buying guacamole in individual cups like Wholly Guacamole’s will save you time.
- Cereal Dry cereal with low fat milk is as simple as it gets, but not all breakfast cereals are created equal. Look for products that contain at least 3 grams (g) of fiber and less than 6 g of added sugars per serving. Garnish with colorful berries or sliced fruit for added nutrients.
- Breakfast Sandwiches There are several ways to make a breakfast sandwich:
- scrambled eggs or tofu with leafy greens, peppers and onions
- Egg salad sandwich or tofu salad sandwich
- Peanut butter and jelly. Tip: When made with whole wheat bread, this old-fashioned favorite is easy to make, travels well, and makes for a healthy breakfast. And for a change of pace, replace the jelly with a sliced banana.
If you’d rather get a head start on breakfast, you can try a pre-made breakfast:
- Leftovers reused If you like savory dishes in the morning, consider rehearsing dinner the night before. For example, baked sweet potatoes topped with sautéed greens and an egg would be a colorful way to start the day. Or if you have leftover salmon, add it to scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu, or include it in a sandwich.
- Pre-portioned smoothie bags Add your favorite ingredients to a resealable bag, date it, and store in the freezer until smoothie time in the morning.
- Mini Frittatas or Egg Muffin Molds Use a muffin pan to whip up your favorite frittata recipe and enjoy them throughout the week.
- Breakfast Quesadillas or Taco Toppings Prepare the garnishes for these dishes in advance. You can include eggs, tofu, tempeh, beans, and lots of colorful veggies.
- Night oats There are so many overnight oat recipes! Using milk or yogurt to make oats overnight provides a protein boost – and be sure to add fruits, nuts, and seeds for texture, fiber, and more nutrients.
RELATED: 10 smoothie recipes that boost the immune system
Tips to make breakfast easier when you have MS
While MS symptoms like fatigue can put the brakes on your plans, these strategies can help keep them from derailing your morning meal:
Write down 3-5 quick and easy breakfasts that you and your family enjoy
Once you’ve selected take-out meals, make a list of all the foods needed to prepare them. Post your list on the refrigerator, on a bulletin board, or wherever it is easy to see.
Whenever items are used, add them to the replacement grocery list to make sure you always have what you need around the house.
Simplify breakfast time
Look for breakfast dishes that take 30 minutes or less to prepare and require very few ingredients.
Tip: If you love using an Instant Pot slow cooker or pressure cooker, find breakfast recipes that use those time and energy savings.
Have a backup plan
Life is busy, schedules change, and MS symptoms can come on and make you lose energy when you least expect them. So plan ahead by keeping certain foods close at hand that require little or no preparation.
Meal planning is all about anticipating your needs in advance and strategizing about what to do when the inevitable happens. Do your best to keep your backup plan simple.
RELATED: Healthy eating habits for multiple sclerosis
MS Fatigue: How to stack the deck in your favor
It’s hard to explain what it feels like to live with a chronic disease like MS, especially when it comes to symptoms like fatigue. Christine Miserandino created a metaphor called the spoon theory to describe the amount of mental or physical energy a person with a chronic illness has available for their daily activities and tasks.
In her metaphor, Miserandino, who has lupus, describes how she starts each day with a finite number of spoons. Each task or activity she engages in costs her a certain number of spoons. When she runs out of spoons, she runs out of energy.
I like the spoon theory because it helps quantify how a chronic disease like MS affects your energy levels – something that is otherwise intangible.
I like to combine the spoon theory with another metaphor: the human body as a motor. And in people like me who have MS, that engine has been made less efficient.
Ideally, a person would start each day with a full tank of fuel, but people with MS start their day with only a gallon or two, and we run out of energy quickly. It helps explain why it’s so important to optimize our fuel choices – and to use one more automotive benchmark, why it’s so important not to skip a pit stop like breakfast!
What Research Shows About MS Diet and Fatigue
While there isn’t a single diet that universally improves MS symptoms, research has shown that a variety of diets can improve fatigue levels in people with MS.
A study published in July 2016 in the journal Multiple sclerosis and related disorders showed that a very low-fat, plant-based diet was associated with significantly improved fatigue levels in people with MS.
Another study, published in January 2017 in Degenerative neurological and neuromuscular diseases, have shown that the paleo diet can help reduce perceived fatigue in people with MS. However, the number of people who completed this study was very small.
While these two diets are different in the foods they include and exclude, they are similar in that they require higher vegetable intake than a typical American diet, and both emphasize whole foods. unprocessed. These are changes that anyone can make, even without following a specific diet.
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The essentials about breakfast
Breakfast matters. It’s an opportunity to nourish your body and support your brain health – and perhaps more importantly for people with MS, a chance to start your day with a few more “spoons”!
If you skip breakfast due to decreased appetite, be sure to share it with your doctor. And if MS creates obstacles that make it difficult to navigate your kitchen easily, consider asking your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist. For any questions related to nutrition, your doctor may refer you to a registered dietitian for help.