Breakfast – It’s More Important Than You Think!
Why Breakfast is So Important
When you take the time to literally “break the fast” in the morning it affects your eating for the rest of the day. As Allan Borushek says, “Starting the day with a well-balanced meal that supplies adequate protein, carbohydrate and fiber helps keep hunger at bay and allows you to make wise choices for the rest of the day.”
We know it can be hard to get motivated in the morning, but consider these facts about breakfast and your health. We’ll help you understand why it’s important and give you tips on how to work it into your routine.
Help with weight control
In a study published in The American Society of Nutritional Sciences’ Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that calories consumed early-on in the day were more satiating than the same amount of calories eaten later in the day; this led to lower calorie consumption overall. Eating breakfast helps with weight control by setting your metabolism at the beginning of the day with healthy, satiating food.
Research also shows skipping meals in general, especially breakfast, can actually make weight control more difficult. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal or unknowingly nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger. Those calories add up.
Erratic eating habits disrupt normal metabolic functions. When you don’t eat for a long period (this can be several hours, not days) your body thinks it’s starving and begins to slow down to conserve energy (calories) for future use. The end result is that your body holds onto calories rather than burning them. When you do eat, because it’s still in storage mode, your body is taken by surprise and may not metabolize as efficiently..
Boost brain activity
Your mental health benefits as much from eating breakfast as your body; particularly one that contains whole grains. A good breakfast provides the blood sugar boost necessary for formulating the memory-boosting neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Children, in particular, need a good breakfast to help them function well and think clearly at school. Research has shown that children who eat breakfast have better school attendance and better grades than those who don’t.
Boost fiber intake
Breakfast is also an ideal time to get that healthy dose of fiber in the form of wholegrains and fruits. Allan Borushek notes, “Not starting the day with a high-fiber breakfast makes it difficult to catch up during the day to reach your daily fiber quota of 20-35 grams (for adults).”
CalorieKing Tips to Get a Good Breakfast
- Try preparing your breakfast in advance – make a smoothie or hard-boiled eggs the night before. Measure your cereal out in a bowl so it’s waiting when you get up. It doesn’t have to be a gourmet production; low-fat cheese, a whole-grain bread roll plus a piece of fruit to have on-the-go can be a simple, fast and easy meal. Or try trail mix, fruit and yogurt for breakfast on the run.
- Set your clock just a bit earlier if need be to make sure you and the kids get something before you leave the house. If you can’t get going – try to pack something nutritious you all can take with you and have it waiting in the fridge to grab and go.
- If you feel like you can’t stomach breakfast in the morning, try eating a bit later when you get to work when you’ve had time to wake up. Or, if it seems too much to eat a whole breakfast in one sitting before you head out the door, try spreading it out over a couple of hours.
- Be sure to include some protein rich foods for breakfast, such as milk, cheese, eggs and soy products. Only eating high-carb foods such as bagels, pastries, and donuts can set you up for snacking mid-morning.
- Finally, if you don’t like breakfast foods, don’t eat them! Try leftovers, soup, a sandwich, or lean meats in the morning. Many cultures serve rice and vegetables as a breakfast meal – and it’s a great idea.