Brake for Breakfast
Nearly 50 years of research shows that breakfast benefits children, teens and adults in many ways. Eating breakfast improves nutrition and health, provides energy, and boosts brain power.
According to a 2009 survey by the International Food Information Council, 93 percent of Americans consider breakfast an important meal for an overall healthful diet, however, 56 percent report that they don’t eat breakfast every day.
Who wouldn’t want to rev up their body and brain for the day? Some people skip breakfast assuming it will help them lose weight, however, the opposite is true: Breakfast-eaters are more likely to have healthier weights. Some people skip breakfast for the sake of time, but the reality is: Breakfast can be a quick-fix. Read on for more reasons to take five for breakfast and for tried-and-true tips to make breakfast a habit—even for those who are in a hurry or aren’t hungry first thing in the morning.
Breakfast’s Many Benefits
Fuel Up: Adults and children who eat breakfast get more fiber, calcium, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, zinc, and iron than those who skip breakfast. Breakfast provides fuel for body and brain which sharpens concentration and wards off fatigue. According to Nancy Clark, sports nutritionist, “Athletes who skip breakfast generally train less effectively, suffer needless fatigue, and may perform sub-optimally.” Her challenge to breakfast-skippers: “Eat breakfast for three consecutive days and observe energy advantages. You’ll quickly discover that breakfast is indeed the meal of champions!”
Boost Brain Power: Studies show that breakfast may help children do better in school by improving alertness, concentration, problem-solving ability, test scores, school attendance, and mood. Breakfast boosts brain power in adults, too.
Keep on Tickin’: Eating breakfast may decrease risk of heart disease. Research suggests that skipping breakfast may lead to higher blood levels of insulin and LDL-cholesterol. One reason may be that breakfast-eaters tend to get less fat and more fiber in their diets.
Get and Stay in Shape: Studies show that adults who eat breakfast tend to have healthier weights and that those who skip breakfast are at greater risk for obesity and weight gain. Kids and teens who eat breakfast are also less likely to be overweight. One reason may be that breakfast-skippers may overeat later in the day due to hunger. Also, emerging research suggests that eating a nutritious breakfast of whole-grain cereal and milk may help the body better regulate insulin levels.
How to Make Breakfast Happen
The top two reasons people don’t eat breakfast, according to a survey by the International Food Information Council, is that they’re not hungry or too busy. Here’s how to overcome these breakfast barriers.
Fast and Fabulous Breakfast Ideas
• Make a simple sandwich like PB&J on a bagel or ham and cheese wrapped in a tortilla.
• Jazz up cooked cereal (oatmeal, grits, or cream of wheat) with fruit, nuts and spices. Try adding mashed banana, chopped walnuts and brown sugar to oatmeal.
• Give leftovers like a burrito or pizza a second chance—warm or cold.
• Plan ahead so you’re ready to roll in the morning. The night before, fill snack-size containers with cereal and keep single-serve milk and yogurt handy. Other breakfast staples: canned and fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, 100 percent juice, granola bars, soft tortillas, English muffins, whole grain crackers and cheese.
• Rely on school breakfast to provide kids with a healthy start to their school day.
Tips to Tempt Breakfast-Skippers
• Put breakfast on the back burner. If you’re not hungry right away, wait an hour or so. Eat breakfast after you’ve finished most of your morning routine or brown-bag-it to work.
• Start small. Try a piece of whole grain toast, fruit, or yogurt.
• Drink it. Blend up a smoothie or mix up a glass of Carnation Instant Breakfast and milk.
The benefits of breakfast for brain and body are too good to pass up! With these tasty, time-saving tips, you won’t have to!
Breakfast Recipes, National Dairy Council
Rise and Dine! A Breakdown of Breakfast’s Benefits with Expert’s Best Meal Suggestions, Today’s Dietitian, Sept 2011
School Breakfast: Improving Students’ Minds and Bodies, Dairy Council Digest, March/April 2008