Start the Day out Right – Eat Breakfast
Ever wake up feeling foggy, sore and maybe even a little cranky in the morning? It’s no wonder! The muscles and brain have gone without food for twelve (or more) hours and they are crying out for fuel. That is why it’s vitally important to eat breakfast.
If you think about it, the word alone sends a message. “Breakfast” literally suggests “breaking the fast” that occurs with sleep. This key meal provides the body with get-up-and-go energy and fuel for the brain to enhance focus and concentration throughout the day. As if that’s not enough reason to rise and dine, here are some others:
Research shows that breakfast can be important for maintaining a healthy body weight. A study from Harvard University examined 3900 subjects and found that those who ate a regular breakfast were 44% less likely to be overweight. They were also 41% less prone to developing insulin resistance which can boost chances for coronary artery disease, stroke and type II diabetes.
Eating breakfast helps to “jump-start” the metabolism. Registered Dietician, Elisabetta Politi who is the Nutrition Manager for the Duke Diet and Fitness Center at Duke University Medical School says, "When you don't eat breakfast, you're actually fasting for 15 to 20 hours, so you're not producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat to lose weight."
Without a healthy breakfast, hunger sets in long before lunchtime. Because it might be difficult to prepare a mid-morning meal, people often tend to snack on quick-energy foods that may be high in fat and sugar like doughnuts, pastries or fast foods. A good, healthy breakfast not only provides vitamins and minerals, it helps to prevent the energy lull that comes with a mid-morning slump.
Make good choices when it comes to breakfast – opt for fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. Here are some tips for a healthy (but still tasty) breakfast:
- Make a veggie omelet – for better convenience, chop the vegetables the night before.
- Enjoy a cup of fruity Greek yogurt and a slice of whole-wheat toast drizzled with honey.
- Try whole-grain cereal (fortified with folic acid) or oatmeal topped with nuts and/or fresh fruit – bananas, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or peaches.
- Toast a whole-wheat English muffin and fill with peanut butter and banana slices – this is delicious and portable!
- Try a fruit smoothie - keep frozen berries or peaches on hand and blend with a banana, some ice, a cup of almond or rice milk and a little vanilla protein powder. Pour into travel mug for a filling and nutritious breakfast on the go!
If you find that you are regularly rushed in the morning, try setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier. This should be enough time to fix and consume a healthy breakfast. For extra measure, prepare all or most of the meal the night before. On those inevitable days that you are really pressed for time, try whole grain breakfast or granola bars.