By Diann Douglas
Often called the most important meal of the day, many Americans choose to skip breakfast. This is why September is designated as Build a Better Breakfast Month. A meal that has been the subject of much research over the years, it is a proven fact the breakfast eaters are better off than breakfast skippers.
Breakfast literally means breaking the fast. Your body has gone without food during the night, operating in a fasting mode for 10 to 12 hours. A body needs food to fuel up for the day’s activities, so that is why breakfast is so important. It has been proven students who eat breakfast perform better in school; they have a longer attention span and score higher on tests. The same applies to adults, their work performance is better when their body is fueled at the start of the day. With this information at hand, you would think we all would be eating breakfast, but the American Dietetic Association reported that 48% of the children in the US do not eat breakfast.
One myth that doesn’t hold up is that eating breakfast causes weight gain. The truth is that breakfast eaters do a better job at weight management. Research shows people who skip breakfast will overeat the rest of the day causing weight gain over time.
There are many reasons why people skip breakfast. Time is a big factor, people often complain they don’t have time to fix a meal and eat it before heading out the door. Some people claim they aren’t hungry when they first get up in the morning. Still a segment of the population doesn’t like traditional breakfast food. Don’t let these reasons excuse you from starting your day off with a healthy breakfast.
Most breakfast foods are low in calories and fat. Skip the coffee and donuts or a drive through the fast food window. If you find it hard to pull a breakfast together because you aren’t a morning person, take a few minutes the night before to plan what you will eat. It may be that you boil an egg or cut up fruit and store in the refrigerator over- night.
When preparing breakfast, try to include a whole grain, a source of protein and a serving of fruit. Something as easy as cheese toast on whole wheat bread with a glass of 100% orange juice will meet the description of a complete breakfast. You may want to keep the blender handy and whip up a breakfast smoothie, ingredients like low-fat milk and fruit are easy to pour and go. Instead of pouring milk on your cereal, change it up and mix cereal with a container of flavored yogurt and add some fruit.
Make food on the weekend that can be eaten during the week. Whip up a batch of pancakes or waffles and freeze; one can be toasted, topped with peanut butter or cream cheese and filled with sliced fruit, roll it up and you can eat it on your drive to work. Find a recipe for a high fiber muffin, bake a batch and eat one with a glass of milk or orange juice.
For a nontraditional breakfast, leftover veggie pizza and a glass of milk is a good choice. Even mashed pinto beans on a tortilla, topped with mozzarella cheese and a glass of 100% orange juice will meet the criteria of a healthy breakfast.
Start your day with off right by building a better breakfast to give you nutrients and energy to fuel you through the morning. For more ideas on creating a nutritious breakfast or meal planning on a budget, contact the Madison County Extension Service.
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