Well, school is back in session and for many of us that means getting into routines. A big part of that includes getting up and eating breakfast.
I often tell my patients who honestly report skipping breakfast to consider the word “BREAK the FAST”. I urge them to think about it. Their bodies have been without fuel for hours while doing the restoration work while they sleep. To expect our bodies to perform well on no energy is ridiculous. It’s like driving a car without gas.
According to a Food Insight survey, 93% of Americans agree that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet less than half of them actually eat breakfast regularly. It seems intuitive, yet there is an enormous body of research that demonstrates the benefits of eating breakfast and the risks of not.
Here’s what we know about skipping breakfast: People who skip breakfast tend to have higher cholesterol and larger waists; adults who skip breakfast are less mentally and physically efficient, have increased risk of heavy machinery and factory accidents and athletes will train less effectively. Further it is almost impossible to get all your daily nutrients in if you don’t eat breakfast.
Here’s the good news: most importantly, children who regularly eat breakfast have better exam scores. This has been shown many times. I tell all my pediatric patients that they will do better in school if they simply eat breakfast.
Additionally, eating breakfast can raise metabolism by as much as 10%. This has been shown as breakfast eaters being less obese, chosing less sugary foods as snacks later in the day, being more productive during morning work; less enticed by fatty foods, feeling fuller and more satisfied on less calories at lunch; burning more calories in a morning workout, etc. etc.
So, hopefully you are convinced that eating breakfast is an important thing…but what should you eat? There are a lot of studies looking at this subject as well. In summary it doesn’t really matter what you eat as long as you eat something. Those who choose the sugary/fatty choices had less benefit than those eating healthier choices, but still fared better than the non-breakfast eaters.
Most stick to the common breakfast foods: cereal and milk, eggs and toast, yogurt, fruit and granola. My daughter often has cold leftover chicken or other seemingly “heavy” foods…she is a straight A student. The healthier choices seem to have a balance of protein and carbs.
Often people skip out on breakfast because they feel they don’t have time or they don’t like breakfast or they don’t know what to eat at all or they are just too lazy.
Here are some ideas:
- Yogurt, fruit and granola (most fast food places and coffee shops offer this already assembled)
- Ditto oatmeal, nuts and dried fruit
- Peanut butter on toast
- Eggs: a recent article in the Valley Press by Julia Blanton delineates how eggs really are a great source of protein. You can even buy them hardboiled and ready to go at many supermarkets
- Melted cheese on bread (big fave in my house)
- A smoothie with fruit, yogurt or protein powder, milk, nuts whatever or again buy it premade by Odwalla or Naked juice or similar
- Cereal and milk-obviously
All this said, I can’t stress enough the importance of breakfast. My mother tells the story of how my grandmother used to chase her down the stairs of their New York apartment building with a glass of orange juice begging her to drink it….Parents chase your kids, feed them in the car, demonstrate good habits and eat a good breakfast yourself. Kids, why not raise your grades and have something to eat before school?