An Italian dietitian who grew up on the Mediterranean diet shared her four favorite breakfasts.
Marika Mancino says each meal should contain protein, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber.
Staying hydrated and having an active lifestyle are also important parts of being healthy, she says.
A UK registered dietitian who grew up following the Mediterranean diet in Rome shared her four favorite breakfasts with Insider.
The Mediterranean diet has long been considered the gold standard of healthy eating plans and has been named the best diet six years running by U.S. News & World Report.
It focuses on vegetables, healthy fats such as olive oil, lean proteins including fish, and complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and beans, while fried foods, red meat, and refined sugar are kept minimal.
Marika Mancino is an Italian who moved to Cambridge, England, in 2011. She says she bases her clinical practice on the diet, which she follows herself, because she thinks it’s the most “complete one” and “also very tasty.”
She tells her clients to be mindful of both portion sizes, which shouldn’t be too big or too small, and how to build a plate.
“In every meal, we should be having a source of protein, a source of fat, a source of fiber, and carbohydrates,” she said.
Lifestyle factors such as being active, being social, and staying hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day are also important parts of being healthy, Mancino says.
Whole-grain toast with peanut butter and banana
Mancino’s favorite breakfast is seeded toast topped with peanut butter and banana. You can use any type of whole-grain bread such as rye, she said, but ideally not white bread.
Peanut butter is a great source of healthy fats, Mancino said, and bananas are highly nutritious, containing protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and several minerals and vitamins.
She has a latte with cow’s milk on the side, which also contains protein, she said.
Porridge with toppings
Oats are a staple of the Mediterranean diet and a good source of fiber, Mancino said. She likes to make a bowl of porridge for breakfast and will often pair it with her favorite topping: peanut butter and banana.
Porridge can be paired with any type of fruit. Mancino says her son has his with chocolate and a good-quality jam.
Bran flakes and milk
Another morning meal option is breakfast cereal with milk, some fruit, and nuts to make it balanced, Mancino said.
There are hundreds of options in the grocery store, but cereals such as bran flakes, shredded wheat, or those that contain some dried fruits can be good choices, she said.
It’s important to check the nutritional label, she said, because some cereals contain a lot of added sugar.
Bread with ricotta, cream cheese, or eggs
Mancino sometimes likes to have a savory breakfast, which will often consist of whole-grain bread and soft cheese — either ricotta or cream cheese.
But this isn’t a complete meal, she said, so it should be paired with other sources of protein in addition to the cheese and some fruit or vegetables for added nutrients.
Mancino says she often has her bread with eggs, an excellent protein source and another staple of the Mediterranean diet.
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