What are your first thoughts when you wake up in the morning? We often feel more tired than hungry. Most of us would rather spend a few extra minutes sleeping than fixing breakfast. If you choose to skip breakfast, this is the first dilemma; blood-sugar levels are very low as you begin your day of school or work.
Traditional breakfast foods are not so healthy.
The second problem is that traditional breakfast items—pancakes, cheesy omelets, waffles, bagels, muffins, bacon, sausage— are not the healthiest choice. Why? They don’t provide a good balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates, and most importantly they do not supply important phytochemicals (cancer-fighting components produced by plants).
Eating a good breakfast gives you many benefits, including:
- Decreased risk of cancer
- Decreased heart disease and stroke
- Decreased cravings/appetite because blood sugar levels are maintained rather than rapidly going up and down.
- Better school/work performance: Consistent blood sugar levels have been shown to correlate with higher grades and athletic performance
Eating breakfast may reduce your hunger later in the day.
This makes it easier to avoid overeating. When you skip breakfast, you may feel ravenous later and be tempted to reach for a quick fix. Prolonged fasting that occurs when you skip breakfast can increase your body’s insulin response, which in turn increases fat storage and weight gain. In fact, skipping breakfast actually increases your risk of obesity.
Eating breakfast helps you make better food choices during your day.
When you eat breakfast, you tend to eat a healthier overall diet, one that is more nutritious and lower in fat. When you skip breakfast, you’re more likely to skip fruits and vegetables the rest of the day, too.
Eating breakfast increases your physical energy.
Breakfast refuels your body and replenishes glycogen stores supplying your muscles with immediate energy. Skipping breakfast is associated with decreased physical activity.
Suggestions for a healthier breakfast.
We know having breakfast significantly increases our ability to function successfully in our daily activities but what constitutes a better breakfast? A healthy breakfast includes fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. Here’s some ideas that are quick for when you’re on the go in the morning:
- Small bags of trail mix or muesli with ingredients such as nuts, dried fruit and toasted oats that you can take with you.
- Whole grain cereal, milk, banana
- Peanut butter or almond butter on whole grain crackers or bread and fruit
- Yogurt, granola and fruit
- Bran or other whole-grain cereal, milk and fruit
- Cheese and whole grain crackers with fruit or veggie sticks
- String cheese, fresh fruit, and whole wheat toast
- Fruit and yogurt smoothie, accompanied by a few whole grain crackers or a slice of whole grain toast
- Milk or yogurt and a handful of nuts and dried or fresh fruit
September is Better Breakfast month!
Similar to planning what you are going to wear, spend a little time planning what you will eat. If you aren’t hungry when you wake up, be sure to take your breakfast to eat a little later and remember the benefits of a Better Breakfast!
What ideas do you have for a healthy, quick breakfast?