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Bring Back Breakfast

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Choose the best breakfast:

A. Leftover cold cheese pizza and orange juice
B. Peanut butter and banana sandwich and milk
C. Cold cereal with raisins and soy milk
D. Shake made with frozen fruit, milk, juice, and wheat germ
E. Poptarts, a hard-boiled egg, and vegetable juice

If you chose A, B, C, D, or E, then you're correct! The best breakfast is the one that you'll eat regularly (and is relatively well-balanced).

The Neglected Meal

Gone are the days when it was unthinkable to start the day without a good hearty breakfast. Now people have more excuses than they can shake a spatula at for why they cannot or do not eat a morning meal. Do any of these sound familiar?:

The Case for Breakfast

We have all heard it—breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But you know what, it is true. Here are some reasons why:

Breakfast is the time to refuel. After fasting for the 8-12 hours after dinner and during sleep, your body needs to replenish its energy supply. The brain is especially in need of a fill-up, because it has no place to store its main energy source, glucose, which comes from the foods we eat. Without eating you won’t be able to think or concentrate. Muscles also rely on glucose for a portion of their energy.

Eating breakfast is associated with better attitudes about work and school. People who pass on a morning meal are often tired, irritable, or restless in the morning.

Eating breakfast regularly is associated with maintaining a healthful weight. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, people who skip breakfast are more likely to overeat at snack time and other meals throughout the day.

Breakfast can add to the healthfulness of your diet. Breakfast food can be an important source of the following nutrients in your diet:

No More Excuses

Now it's time to let go of those excuses.

I do not have time. A little planning may help. Make use of what you have and focus on foods you like. Most foods can be warmed in the microwave.

I am not hungry in the morning. Eat something small, such as toast, juice, or an egg, at breakfast time. Bring along a snack for when you are hungry mid-morning.

I am trying to lose weight. Studies have found that people who regularly eat breakfast cereal regularly tend to have lower body mass indices. Skipping breakfast sets you up to be ravenously hungry later in the day, which can lead to overeating. Of course, you still need to make healthful choices. Be aware of portion sizes. For example, many bagel-shop bagels and muffins are much higher in calories than you think. Also, stay away from some of the traditional, fatty breakfast foods, including:

I do not like breakfast foods. Anything can be a breakfast food:

When I eat breakfast, I'm more hungry mid-morning. Hunger pangs are a healthy, normal signal from your body. Bring along a healthy snack for these times. Or try eating a little more protein or fat with breakfast to keep you feeling full longer.

Back to Breakfast

Eating a healthful breakfast helps prepare your mind and body for the day ahead. If you regularly skip breakfast, use these suggestions to get yourself back on track.

RESOURCES:

Choose My Plate—Department of Agriculture
http://www.choosemyplate.gov

Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
http://www.eatright.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Dietitians of Canada
http://www.dietitians.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 10, 2016. Accessed July 11, 2016.

Overcoming excuses to skip breakfast. American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Eat Right website. Available at: http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/overcoming-excuses-for-skipping-breakfast. Accessed July 11, 2016.

The case for eating breakfast. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/pages/The-Case-for-Eating-Breakfast.aspx. Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed July 11, 2016.

The importance of breakfast. University of Florida website. Available at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fm174. Accessed July 11, 2016.

The importance of eating a good breakfast. Kaiser Permanente website. Available at: http://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/Images/Importance%20of%20Eating%20a%20Good%20Breakfast%20(6909-E)_tcm75-14514.pdf. Accessed July 11, 2016.

Last reviewed July 2016 by Michael Woods, MD  Last Updated: 7/11/2106