Source: US Department of Agriculture
So … why is breakfast important? How can you make breakfast work for you? Take a few minutes to learn how smart breakfast choices can put you on the right track toward a better day.
A morning meal does far more than keep hunger pangs away. A regular breakfast offers benefits that may surprise you. Check these facts.
- Delivers nutrient essentials. Examples include nutrients that often get short-changed, such as calcium, vitamin D, potassium and iron, as well as fiber. Of course, the nutrients you get depend on the choices you make.
- If you skip breakfast? Other meals and snacks during the day probably won’t make up for nutrients you miss. And, mid-morning hunger may lead to overdoing it on calories at your next meal or snack.
- Promotes your healthy weight. Contrary to myth, skipping breakfast doesn’t promote weight loss. In fact, a regular breakfast habit is a smart strategy to keep a healthy weight and maintain weight loss. Smart breakfast choices give you fuel throughout the morning. Breakfast eaters typically take in fewer calories during the day, too.
- Is good for your mind and your body. Your brain and muscles need an energy supply (that gets converted to glucose in the body) from food for sustained work during the day.
- Gives children and teens an “edge” in school. Kids who eat a morning meal tend to do better at school: better test scores, more alert and better short-term memory. Breakfast may impact behavior, too: less tardiness, fewer discipline issues and better school attendance.
Stay tuned, as research reveals more about the benefits of eating breakfast.
Re-Think Your Breakfast “Plate”
MyPlate is a reminder: Make breakfast choices count. Choose foods from three different food groups on MyPlate, paying special attention to whole grains, fruits or vegetables and dairy foods.
Consider your first “plate” of the day an opportunity to fit in:
- Nutrient-rich foods … that many adults and children don’t get enough of—whole grains, fruits and fat-free or low-fat dairy foods.
- Shortfall nutrients … fiber, from fruits and foods made with whole grains; calcium, vitamin D and potassium from milk; potassium from fruit and 100% fruit juice.
Common Barriers, Smart Solutions
With today’s busy schedules, life may seem to get in the way of healthful eating. To overcome breakfast barriers, get out of a breakfast rut. Be creative with a “breakfast plate” that fits whole grains, fruit and dairy foods into your day—with flavor, convenience and smart nutrition.
- No time? Save sit-down breakfasts for weekends. Stock up on easy to carry foods: cabinet (individually portioned breakfast biscuits made with whole grain, instant oatmeal, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, whole-grain bread; dried and canned fruit; peanut butter, nuts and seeds); refrigerator (fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt, milk bars, string cheese, 100% juice, whole fruit, such as oranges, berries and apples); counter (bananas).
- Need it “to-go.” Pack an insulated bag with yogurt, a tangerine and a pack of whole-grain breakfast biscuits or a milk bar and grapes or a portion of cereal, carton of fat-free milk and a peach. Keep food cold with a frozen ice pack.
- Too much effort? Simplify! Pack your breakfast or get foods and utensils ready the night before.
- Watching your weight? Forget skimping or skipping. Fit in a whole-grain choice (look for options that contain 16 grams or more whole grain per serving) that can give you sustained energy for the whole morning. Add fruit and a fat-free or low-fat dairy food for a balanced breakfast.
- Not hungry when you awake? Get yourself ready first; do a quick household task. Then eat at home, or carry your breakfast to work or school.
More Tips for Smart Breakfast Choices
For a nutritious breakfast choose a food from 3 food groups. Some delicious, quick ideas are:
- Ready-to-eat cereal (opt for whole grain cereal) and low fat or fat free milk topped with your favorite fresh fruit.
- Whole grain toaster waffles spread with peanut butter and apple slices.
- Toasted English muffin topped with reduced fat cheese and sliced tomato.
- A low-fat latte, a banana and crunchy breakfast biscuits made with whole grain.
- A hard-cooked egg, whole-grain crackers and tomato juice.
- A bran muffin plus a carton of low fat or fat free yogurt and fruit