“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” I’m sure most of us have probably heard this phrase numerous times throughout our life but did you ever stop to wonder if it’s true? Taken literally, breakfast means “break the fast” because it follows the longest period of time that our bodies go without being fed. During the day, our bodies are used to consistent feedings every 3-4 hours but that schedule changes during the overnight period. Starting our day with a balanced breakfast has benefits for both our body and our mind; unfortunately many people make a habit of skipping this meal all too often. From school-age children to adults, we are in need of a breakfast makeover that will fuel our bodies for the tasks ahead and set us on a path of healthy eating for the rest of the day.
Preventing the mid-morning slump
Many people make excuses for why they don’t eat breakfast. Some think they don’t have enough time, some don’t feel hungry, and some have the misconception that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight. Whatever the reason, the results of not eating a balanced breakfast remain the same – fatigue, headache, and irritability by midday. Starting your day right keeps your body running smoothly which in turn keeps you feeling good all day long.
Eating for brain power
Ever wonder why your teachers always stressed the importance of eating breakfast before taking achievement tests? Research continues to show that breakfast eaters have greater attention spans, improved concentration, and generally are better test takers than those who don’t eat a morning meal. Remember that our brains run on glucose and if we don’t supply it with the correct amount of fuel, memory and thought processes cannot work at full capacity.
Revving up our metabolism
It’s no secret that starting your day with balanced nutrition helps to kick-start your body for the tasks ahead. In much the same way that we incorporate activities into our morning routine to help us wake up such as a hot shower, favorite music mix, or a warm beverage (decaf of course!), food acts as a wake-up signal for your body by providing it with the energy it didn’t receive while you were sleeping. Starting your day with a healthful breakfast and routinely feeding your body throughout the day will help boost your metabolic rate and keep you energized all day long.
If you struggle with making breakfast a priority, try planning in advance (and even prep the night before) so that you’re not stressed in the morning. Set your alarm 10-15 minutes early to allow time to eat before heading off to school or work. I challenge you to eat breakfast for an entire week and evaluate the changes you observe in your energy level and overall mental functioning. I’m certain you’ll find some exciting benefits to changing your eating habits and making time for the “most important meal of the day”.
~Ashlee Overstreet, Director of Dietetic Services