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The Importance of Breakfast

September is Better Breakfast Month, so there is no better time than the present to discuss the importance of eating breakfast every day. People choose to skip breakfast for a variety of reasons – “they don’t have time”, “they want to lose weight”, “they aren’t hungry in the mornings”. Whatever the excuse is, it is important that this habit changes.

The body uses glucose, a breakdown of carbohydrates, for brain function. Glucose needs to be readily available, meaning it needs to be consumed often because the body uses it as we eat our foods. When you skip breakfast, your body does not receive this glucose and can go into “semi-starvation” mode because it hasn’t received fuel since the night before. Often times 12-15 hours have passed since the last meal. This makes it difficult to concentrate and perform at your best throughout the day.

Breakfast is especially important for children because they need the fuel for their growing and developing bodies. When children skip breakfast, their brain doesn’t have the proper fuel it needs, and therefore they have problems concentrating in school and completing their assignments. This is why it is crucial that children have a fulfilling breakfast every morning.

Skipping breakfast has been linked to the development of obesity. The National Weight Control Registry studied “successful losers” who maintained a 30-pound (or more) weight loss for at least a year. 78% of them ate breakfast daily, and almost 90% ate breakfast at least five days a week, suggesting that beginning the day with a healthy meal plays a role in weight loss and maintenance. Eating breakfast kick-starts the body’s metabolism each morning, helping to metabolize the food eaten throughout the day.

Other studies have shown that those who skip breakfast tend to have a high calorie snack to satisfy their hunger and/or eat more at their next meal. Many people with busy schedules choose to give up breakfast in order to sleep longer in the morning. However, waking up 5-10 minutes earlier can provide the fuel the body needs to have energy throughout the day.

Not only is it important to have breakfast each day, it is important to make this meal nutritious. Eating a breakfast filled with lean protein can keep you full until lunchtime. Besides lean protein, healthy breakfasts can include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low or non-fat dairy. This gives a wide range of options when making your morning meal and will keep you satisfied until lunch, preventing snacking on high-calorie, high-fat foods.

Some ideas for a quick and healthy breakfast are:

  • Hard-boiled egg and banana
  • Low-fat yogurt with fresh berries and nuts
  • Oatmeal with raisins and nuts
  • Whole-wheat English muffin with scrambled egg whites and vegetables
  • Vegetable omelet (mostly egg whites) and whole-wheat toast
  • Low fat cottage cheese with fruit
  • Whole-wheat English muffin spread with peanut butter and side banana
  • High protein leftovers from dinner (sliced meat, fish, or poultry)
  •  Greens Super Smoothie

** For more recipes visit www.eatingwell.com **

 

 

 Resources

  1. Why Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day. WebMD Web site. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/most-important-meal. Accessed September 7, 2011.
  2. The Many Benefits of Breakfast. WebMD Web site. Available at: http://www. webmd.com/diet/features/many-benefits-breakfast?page=2. Accessed September 7, 2011.
  3. Why Does Eating a Healthy Breakfast Help Control Weight. Mayo Clinic Web site. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/ AN01119. Accessed September 7, 2011.
  4. Better Breakfast Month. Dietitians Online Web site. Available at: http://weighing-success. blogspot.com/2011/09/september-is-better-breakfast-month.html. Accessed September 8, 2011.

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