- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By DONNY GILL
Breakfast is perhaps the most underappreciated and overlooked meal of our day. We tend to skip it altogether or grab something that is not very good for us such as a doughnut. But, just as Mom used to say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for all of us and especially children and teens.
Here seven reasons breakfast should be a part of your daily routine.
Breakfast provides an energy boost to start the day. We all need to kick off our day by eating as many vitamins and nutrients as possible. Some of our most common breakfast foods are packed with nutrients. Eggs provide us with protein, amino acids and vitamin D. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium which helps build stronger bones. Whole grain bread, oatmeal or cereal provides fiber which is essential for heart health by reducing the risk of heart disease. Fiber also helps reduce the risks of cancer and diabetes. Whole fruit and juices such as oranges, grapefruit and apple are rich in vitamin C. But be careful, not all juices are created equally; some are very high in sugar.
Breakfast helps us to keep our focus. Hunger can be very distracting and once our mind shifts over to what we want to eat, it can be very hard to get back on task.
Breakfast reduces hungriness. Morning is when we get easily angered because we are hungry. Our bodies have just gone through a night’s sleep without any intake of food. It is craving energy and nutrients at this point and without it we tend to become moody and stressed. Do yourself and everyone at your workplace or school a favor and eat breakfast.
Breakfast boosts our metabolism. When our body is deprived of food, it slows down to a survival mode and we don’t burn as many calories as we should. Breakfast provides the spark that our body needs to get up and running at a normal rate.
Breakfast keeps us from overeating. If you wait and do not have your first meal until lunch, you might overcompensate by eating more than a healthy amount. The overeating combined with the slowing of the metabolism can lead to weight gain. Breakfast also reduces the urge to snack throughout the day.
Breakfast helps lower our LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Skipping breakfast sets up a chain reaction in our bodies. First, our metabolism slows. Second, during this survival mode our bodies convert calories to fat. Third, you tend to overeat during the next meal. Fourth, you gain weight and your LDL, or bad, cholesterol level goes up.
Eating breakfast can help you lose weight. Studies have shown people who eat breakfast weigh less than those who skip breakfast. This is a result of the increase in metabolism and you get the energy you need to be active throughout the morning, thus burning calories.
Breakfast can be both nutritious and delicious. You can still have some of the classics such as pancakes, bacon and sausage, but try to add a side of fresh fruit or whole wheat toast or granola. Also, try to include some protein in your breakfast. Protein keeps hunger at bay longer than other nutrients. Even those of us on the run in the morning can still grab a light yogurt or smoothie or even eat a whole grain breakfast bar in the car.
Start the day off right, for your own health and for the mental health of those around you and eat breakfast.
Donny Gill is a health educator at the Hardin County Health Department. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.