Eating a good breakfast is important. Unfortunately, it is often neglected in the early morning rush. In fact, a recent Kellogg survey of 14,000 people in The United States found that more than one-half of all adults said they like to eat breakfast every day. Sadly, it also found that only one-third of the initial group actually did eat breakfast every day!
Simply put, most people want to and know that they should eat breakfast. The challenge is fitting a healthy breakfast into a busy morning schedule while reaping the best return for the effort in a limited amount of time!
It's widely accepted that you should eat 300 to 500 calories for breakfast, or 25 to 30 percent of your daily caloric intake. That may seem like a lot, but starting the day with a good meal reduces the chances you will overeat or snack on easily available, but not very healthy food during the rest of the day. There are serious, known benefits to eating breakfast.
Weight and Your Metabolism:
Our metabolic rate slows during sleep. Eating breakfast kick-starts our metabolism. In a study from the University of Florida, children who ate breakfast consistently consumed more calories each day but were less likely to be overweight. The National Weight Control Registry found that for people who have lost weight, 78 percent of those successful at maintaining their weight loss for over a year ate breakfast! Another interesting fact? The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey studied the diets of 4,218 adults and found that breakfast eaters are more likely to have a BMI under 25.
Cognitive Ability and Concentration:
Breakfast has been lauded as offering better memory, enhanced cognitive ability and an increased concentration span. One theory for this is that after fasting for 8 to 12 hours while sleeping, our glucose levels are low, making us feel lethargic, drowsy and irritable. Eating a healthy meal first thing in the morning stabilizes our blood sugar and 'evens the keel' for our morning start to the day. The same study from University of Florida cited above also found that children who ate breakfast exhibited improved memory, better test scores, and higher school attendance.
Eating breakfast seems to improve overall diets. Breakfast-eaters who opt for cereal for tend to consume more vitamins and minerals per day. Fruit, dairy products and eggs, all part of a traditional western breakfast, also increase your vitamin and mineral consumption.
Whether it's hot or cold cereal, whole wheat toast or muffins, oatmeal pancakes or whole-grain french toast; breakfast is the perfect meal to boost your fiber intake. Did I mention that less than 3% of Americans consume the recommended intake for fiber, according to an article in the Journal of Nutrition
None of this information addresses why people don't eat breakfast ... for which the primary reason seems to be a lack of time. We may not come up with an answer to 'What's for dinner?' immediately, but we have time to think of an answer. If it's 6:30 in the morning and we have to dress, eat breakfast, face commuter traffic and be prepared for that morning meeting, the immediate priority of what's for breakfast often recedes. So what is the solution? Be prepared.
Breaking fast the smart way - a sure-fire path to a healthier, longer life!
- Have yogurt and some berries in the fridge.
- Keep a couple of bananas available to have with whole-grain toast.
- Cold granola with milk and fruit is a delicious standby.
- Making dinner? Boil an egg or two to have on hand for super-tight morning schedules along with a fiber-rich pear.