Starting the New Year with a healthy breakfast

What, another post on breakfast?  Yes.  My opinion is that breakfast is a great way to start your day, and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or detailed in prep.

As a registered dietitian, I have heard many reasons for not partaking in the traditional first meal of the day. Non-breakfast eaters claim that they are not hungry, too rushed, on a diet, out of the habit, sticking to coffee or colas, opting for a doughnut at work, or eating an early lunch.

These reasons do not necessarily mean that people think breakfast is not important. Busy lifestyles and numerous responsibilities just get in the way of a sit-down morning meal.

So what is so great about starting the day breakfast anyway?

  • First of all, for most people, it has been several hours since the previous day’s dinner or evening snack. Because of this fast, blood sugars will be low in the morning, especially in children whose smaller bodies store less blood sugar. Without a morning meal to replenish the body, one may feel sluggish or have trouble concentrating. Breakfast helps to prime to body and mind to meet the challenges of the day.
  • In addition to low blood sugars, skipping breakfast reduces the amount of other important nutrients in the diet such as calcium from dairy products, vitamin C from fruit or juice, and fiber from whole grains.
  • The wake-up jolt from caffeinated and/or sugared coffee and colas is soon gone. When hunger strikes, you may be tempted to eat the first thing you can find, which could be the donuts in the office cafeteria or the candy bar in the vending machine. Clearly, not the best use of calories.
  • Then when lunch time does roll around some may overeat due to extreme hunger or from overestimating the calories supposedly saved by not eating breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast, though, can help reduce hunger and the tendency to overeat.

To make breakfast a healthy habit, have a plan. Set the morning alarms so that you and the family have enough time to eat without rushing. Organize breakfast when cleaning up after dinner so things go smoothly in the morning. Put out glasses for juice, and bowls and spoons for cereal.

If a hot cereal is a family favorite, try making oatmeal overnight in the Crockpot. This is an inexpensive, low-maintenance, and heart-healthy start to the morning.

Have easy-to-grab foods including individual yogurt containers, bananas, Clementines, and whole wheat bagels available for busy mornings. For variety, try non-traditional foods such as cold pizza, mac and cheese, or apple slices with peanut butter.

Depending on the age, children can help with meal suggestions, preparation, and evening set-up. Make breakfast a fun, family affair, and a way to develop health eating habits.

Breakfast is an important meal in your day. Eating a healthy breakfast can increase energy, provide needed nutrients, and help keep those extra pounds off.

For more suggestions, click on the links provided or visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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