Thursday, July 11, 2013

Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day

How many times have you heard the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, yet you choose that cup of coffee for breakfast?  Many nutrition experts agree on the importance of consuming breakfast.  In fact eating breakfast can offer you health benefits throughout the day. 

Weight Management
Consuming breakfast as a daily habit can help you lose weight and keep it off.  A common myth is skipping breakfast will produce weight loss through the avoidance of extra calories. In reality breakfast skippers tend to feel ravenous during later hours of the day – leading to unhealthy food choices such as candy bars and chips from the nearest vending machine.  In addition, eating breakfast will boost your metabolism.  When breakfast is skipped your body will burn fewer calories, in efforts to conserve all it has for future energy. 

Eating breakfast can provide you much needed energy to start the day.  A healthy breakfast refuels your body and replenishes needed nutrients. Specifically breakfast helps to reload blood glucose levels – which act as the source of energy for your body’s cells.  Lack of energy can lead to lethargy and poor work performance.  In certain conditions such as diabetes skipping breakfast can lead to lower blood glucose levels and ultimately poor supply of glucose to the brain.

Healthier Overall Diet
Studies suggest eating breakfast sets the foundation for healthier eating habits throughout the day.  Typically breakfast eaters consume more vitamins and minerals  - and they eat less fat and cholesterol during the day – than those who skip breakfast.  For those who struggle with consuming the high amount of fruits and vegetables recommended, breakfast offers an optimal time to start the intake of these food groups.

While eating breakfast is imperative, consuming a healthy breakfast is even more essential.  All breakfasts should include a protein such as eggs, low fat dairy, nut butters, or lean meats to provide a complete fullness.  Eating high sugar foods such as sugary cereals and donuts should be limited due to the quick rise in blood sugar they produce. Approximately an hour after eating a sugary food your blood sugar will decline and you may start to experience symptoms of hunger.  Conversely fiber will keep you satiated for a longer period of time.  Attempt to include at least 5 grams of fiber in your breakfast through whole grains, oats, fruit, or chia seeds.  Lastly, try to include a fruit or vegetable with your daily breakfast.

Your family's dietitian,
Kristen Smith

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