What doctors eat for breakfast: recipes for healthy and quick dishes
Making a nutritious breakfast is easier than you think. 17 doctors shared their recipes to prepare quick, healthy and satisfying breakfasts every day, reports Today.
Journalists spoke with cardiologists, oncologists, neurologists, gastroenterologists and dentists to learn more about their favorite foods and how their experiences influence their food choices.
In general, when it comes to nutrition, experts follow similar recommendations, usually based on the Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, or MIND diet. Scientists say following the principles of these diets can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and reduce the likelihood of developing neurological problems such as Alzheimer's disease.
What these three meal plans have in common is an emphasis on whole foods, especially vegetables, fruits, whole grains, leafy greens, legumes, olive oil, nuts and lean protein. People following these diets also typically avoid highly processed foods and limit their intake of red meat, alcohol and sweets.
What do doctors eat for breakfast?
Oatmeal with berries, seeds and nuts
Oatmeal has been mentioned time and time again as a healthy and fiber-rich favorite. So what is it about oatmeal that makes it such a good option?
"Oatmeal is rich in fiber, including the soluble fiber beta-glucan, which supports normal bowel function and prevents constipation," said gastroenterologist Dr. Wendy Ho, clinical professor of health sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Like many experts, Dr. Jennifer McQuade adds a mixture of nuts and seeds—like flax seeds, hemp hearts, or pumpkin seeds—to her oatmeal, as well as some dried fruit.
“I try to get a lot of healthy fiber as well as healthy fats from some seeds, as well as healthy phytonutrients from dried fruit,” said McQuade, a physician in melanoma medical oncology.
Some doctors prefer to add fresh fruit to their oatmeal, especially berries such as blueberries and raspberries, which contain antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients.
However, preparing porridge in the morning can take quite a long time, so some experts prefer to use rolled oats.
They can be prepared in much less time and retain many of the health benefits.
"Oatmeal can be prepared relatively quickly and is not processed in the same way as most instant oats," said Dr. Laura Stein, assistant professor of neuroscience, adding that she likes to cook oats with water and a little skim milk, but sugarless.
Whole grain toast with avocado
Another popular breakfast among doctors is whole-grain toast with nutritious and filling ingredients like avocado or peanut butter.
Avocado toast is a favorite of Dr. Trisha Quartey, a Brooklyn dentist and spokesperson for the American Dental Association. She also often adds egg whites. “Healthy fats keep me feeling full, but I also eat healthier carbs to help get me going in the morning,” Quartey said.
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Cardiologist Dr. Andrew Freeman is also a fan of avocado toast in the morning, which he often tops with vegetables like pickles or onions.
"In just one small piece of toast, you'll have enough calories and nutrients to last you until lunch and you'll feel good," Freeman said.
For Elizabeth Platz, a cancer epidemiologist and professor at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, starting most mornings with whole-grain toast and peanut butter helps curb morning blood sugar spikes.
Some neurologists also like to add some lean protein on the side in the form of salmon to "really balance out some of the concepts of the Mediterranean diet," said Dr. Mona Bahout, an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University.
Plain yogurt with berries
“I eat organic, fresh fruit almost every day—regardless of the season—with plain, unsweetened yogurt,” said Dr. Caroline Tanner, a professor of neuroscience at the Weill Institute for Neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco.
She, like many experts, opts for plain yogurt to avoid unnecessary sugar and instead adds sweetness and flavor through fruits such as berries. Tanner can also add walnuts or kamut to his yogurt.
"Foods like this provide excellent protein, are low in sugar, and the berries also have antioxidant properties," said Dr. Elizabeth Komen, a medical oncologist who treats breast cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Greek yogurt also provides the calcium and phosphate needed to keep your teeth healthy, said Dr. Erinn Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association and associate dean for curriculum and comprehensive education at the University of Kansas City College of Dentistry.
“Many nuts and seeds contain an amino acid called arginine,” Kennedy added. “And arginine feeds beneficial bacteria in a way that has been shown to prevent tooth decay.”
“Yogurt is a good probiotic and contains a lot of calcium, which is good for bones,” agrees Dr. Kevin Sands, a Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist who usually takes yogurt with an apple or pear.
What do doctors eat in a hurry? Smoothie!
Doctors, like most of us, are often in a hurry in the morning. On days when they don't have much time, doctors can turn to homemade smoothies for a filling, healthy meal.
For example, Dr. Imad Najm, director of the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute's Epilepsy Center, said he often makes smoothies using kale, spinach and berries. He also usually adds pecans because they add fat and contain quite a few minerals and antioxidants, he explained.
Dr. Irina Kessler is also a fan of green smoothies. Her favorite recipe includes spinach, kale, frozen mango, lemon, banana, celery and coconut water. But Kessler, a dentist at New York Family Dental Arts, warns that it can stain your teeth and suggests that people who whiten their teeth drink smoothies through a straw.
If you're not a green smoothie fan, you might want to try cardiologist Cheng's heart-healthy recipes, which combine tomatoes and celery or carrots, apple, chia seeds and ginger with water and ice.
How do doctors feel about eggs?
Eggs are still a controversial topic among medical professionals.
Some, like neurologists Najm and Stein, prefer to eat only egg whites, which contain no cholesterol. Others, like cardiologists Freeman and Cheng, try to avoid eggs altogether.
But some people sometimes eat whole eggs. For example, oncologist McQuade sometimes makes frittatas filled with gut-healthy vegetables and herbs that can be prepared ahead of time. And Kessler sometimes brings hard-boiled eggs to the office for breakfast when she's in a hurry.
"Whole eggs are a great source of clean protein and healthy fats," McQuaid said, but overall she still eats them in moderation.
What doctors avoid eating for breakfast
Sausage and bacon
They avoid processed meats, including classic breakfast meats such as bacon and sausage.
“The main thing I see with the traditional American breakfast is that it often has a lot of red meat and processed meats like bacon or sausage,” said Dr. Sunil Kamath, a medical oncologist who treats colorectal cancer at the Cleveland Clinic. . “I would stay away from those things and focus more on lean sources of protein.”
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“I try to minimize the amount of processed meat I eat because it is associated with an increased risk of stomach and colorectal cancer,” said Ho, a gastroenterologist.
“I try to avoid processed meats all the time,” said neurologist Stein. “And I try to minimize unnecessary salt where I can.”
However, doctors also noted that these foods can be part of a social experience, so they don't need to be completely avoided at all costs. “These foods bring people together at breakfast and many people enjoy them, so the key is to minimize their consumption and eat them infrequently,” Ho explained.
Sugar cereals, pastries, pancakes and waffles
Doctors advised eliminating any foods high in sugar and refined or simple carbohydrates with low nutritional value, such as donuts, pancakes, sugary cereals and packaged toasters.
“A lot of simple sugars can end up in a lot of foods, especially breakfast foods,” Bahut said. “And some of them simply have no value for your body or your brain health.”
Dr. Adrienne Jirik, a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic, avoids "any sweets, as well as fatty, salty, overly processed foods or anything with sugar," including donuts and baked goods, fast food, breakfast sandwiches and energy bars.
“Eating these foods can cause bloating, stomach upset, rapid changes in blood sugar levels, accompanied by lethargy or fatigue,” Jirik said.
If you do decide to choose one of these sweet treats, be sure to brush your teeth afterward, says Kessler, "because it will get stuck in your teeth, but yogurt, for example, won't."
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