Why Is Breakfast so Important?
by Carolyn Burris
What’s for breakfast? Coffee? Or did you skip? Do you hardly glance at the kitchen most mornings? Are you rushing out the door before a day packed with work, school and family activities? If you eat breakfast, is it healthy or a convenient fast food?
Despite the healthful benefits, breakfast may be the meal that is most often neglected or skipped. Eating breakfast not only helps in weight management, it fuels the body to help provide energy, better concentration and problem-solving ability throughout the day, according to the nutrition experts at the American Dietetic Association.
Breakfast is the first opportunity the body has to refuel its blood glucose levels, also known as blood sugar, after eight to 12 hours without a meal or snack. Glucose is your body’s source of energy and is essential for the brain. Blood glucose also helps fuel the muscles needed for physical activity during the day.
Unfortunately, some people skip breakfast in an attempt to lose weight, but this habit is more likely to cause weight gain than weight loss. Skipping breakfast is strongly linked to the development of obesity. Studies show that overweight and obese children, adolescents, and adults are less likely to break the fast compared to thinner people. According to research, skipping meals, especially breakfast, increases the likelihood of making weight control more difficult.
Those who skip breakfast tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal or nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger. Several studies suggest that people also tend to accumulate more body fat when they eat fewer, larger meals than when they eat the same number of calories with smaller, more frequent meals.
Breakfast is a very valuable time to prepare for your day. And don’t forget that breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism, the body’s calorie-burning mechanism. While you are sleeping, your metabolism slows down to a lowered resting pace. And it doesn’t kick into high gear again – burning fuel or calories at a faster rate – until you wake up and feed it in the morning. Breakfast, then, is the the energy boost that powers your day.
What then would be considered a healthy breakfast?
Here are some suggestions and a quick berry smoothie recipe to start your day!
- Ready-to-eat whole-grain cereal topped with fresh fruit and a cup of yogurt
- Vegetable omelet with a bran muffin and fruit juice (apple, orange, cranberry etc.)
- Hot cereal (oatmeal, rice) topped with cinnamon and fresh fruit
- Almond or peanut butter on toast or whole grain bagel with fruit and low-fat milk (or almond, rice, soy, etc.)
- Whole-grain waffles or pancakes topped with applesauce, peanut or almond butter
- Nitrite-free turkey bacon, sliced oranges with toast and low-fat yogurt
- Breakfast smoothie using fruit, yogurt, milk, nuts, etc.
High Energy Breakfast Shake
A quick-and-easy, nutritious and delicious way to start your day!
Prep and Cook Time: 5 minutes
- 1 medium banana
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup whole strawberries (or other berries)
- 1 – 1/2 cup low-fat milk (or almond, coconut, rice milk, etc.)
- 2 1/2 TBS almond butter
- 2 TBS ground flaxseeds
- 1 1/2 TBS blackstrap molasses or honey (can use stevia or xylitol equivalent)
Note: You can also add extra protein such as whey, rice, pea or hemp.
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Serves 2.