Give your body the energy it needs to get through the day by making breakfast an every day habit...Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day, because it is meant to give us that daily jump-start. Research shows that a person who begins their day by eating breakfast is less likely to be obese than a person who typically skips this all-important meal. Eating breakfast is a great way to get your metabolism up and running to help people shed unwanted pounds. Plus, eating breakfast every day prevents you from snacking on high-calorie and high-fat foods throughout the day. According to the National Weight Control Registry, 78% of individuals who have maintained their weight loss of 30 pounds or more, for at least one year, eat breakfast every day. Eating a balanced breakfast can help keep your family alert, improve mood and reduce mid-morning food cravings.
Children who eat breakfast are more likely to have better concentration, problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination. The State of Minnesota Breakfast Study showed that "students who ate breakfast before starting school had a general increase in math grades and reading scores, increased student attention, reduced nurse visits, and improved student behaviors." This would not be the case however, if they skipped breakfast or ate only sugary processed foods. These foods may cause your child to have erratic energy levels, so it’s best to eat a balanced breakfast, with a whole-grain carbohydrate and quality protein source, and that will help get them going and sustain their energy levels through lunch time.
Remember, many breakfast foods contain a lot of added sugar and preservatives and have had beneficial nutrients processed away. Best to steer clear of frosted and chocolate cereals, fat-laden donuts and fast-food breakfast sandwiches, white bread and high-sugar breakfast bars. Instead of sugary juices, serve yourself and your children 100% fruit juices or fat-free or low-fat milk.
Breakfast does not have to be a big formal meal or a time-consuming process. If you are not used to eat breakfast, start with a simple morning snack and add on from there. With a little planning, everyone can enjoy the health benefits from eating breakfast each day. Stick to the basics and serve simple foods that are both nutritious and convenient for anyone’s busy morning routine.
Here are our top tips to a successful and healthier breakfast:
1. Eat within an hour of waking up.
2. Keep breakfast between 300–500 calories
3. Include two to three food groups in your breakfast (e.g., glass of fat-free or low-fat milk with a piece of fruit, plain low-fat yogurt with fresh or dried fruit, 1% cottage cheese with a handful of nuts and/or fresh/dried fruit or 100% whole-wheat toast with a scrambled egg).
4. Choose oatmeal and cereal that isn't already presweetened with added simple sugars. Instead, sweeten yourself with a little dried or fresh fruit.
5. Pick 100% whole-grain, fiber-containing cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving and with an equal number or less grams of sugar per serving.
6. Don't have time to eat breakfast at home? Keep whole-grain mini bagels or muffins on hand, nuts and dried and fresh fruits that can be taken in the car (apples, pears and bananas are also easy, without being messy!).
Have a great breakfast!
Shari Mermelstein, RD
Program Development Director