This is the most ignored meal of the day, yet it is the most important since you are basically fuelling your body for starting the day. A common mistake that many commit is skipping breakfast and later have a heavy lunch to compensate for it. This can never be compensated in fact, lunch needs to be taken in smaller portions than breakfast and should not be heavy. In order to have alert, productive and energy filled morning hours, one has to practice taking and maintaining a healthy breakfast.
Skipping breakfast can make you feel tired, restless, or irritable. In the morning, your body needs to refuel for the day ahead after going without food for 8 to 12 hours during sleep. Your mood and energy can drop by midmorning if you do not eat at least a small morning meal.
Breakfast also can help keep your weight in check. Breakfast kick-starts the body’s metabolism, the process by which the body converts the fuel in food to energy. And when the metabolism gets moving, the body starts burning calories. People who skip on breakfast often consume more calories throughout the day and are more likely to be overweight. That is because someone who skips breakfast is likely to get famished before lunchtime and snack on high-calorie foods or overeat at lunch.
For the early risers, preparing breakfast may seem a task too time consuming for the morning. Most people hence opt to go without it or take plain coffee and hit the road. Planning for your breakfast the previous night will ensure that you do not take time making breakfast in the morning. Students who eat breakfast have more energy, do better in school, and eat healthier throughout the day. Without breakfast, people can get irritable, restless, and tired. So make time for breakfast — for you and your kids!
PLANNING FOR HEALTHY BREAKFAST
It would be great to serve fresh fruit, and low-fat milk each morning. But it can be difficult to make a healthy breakfast happen when you are rushing to get yourself and the kids ready in the morning and juggling the general household chaos.
Try these practical suggestions to ensure that — even in a rush — you and your kids get a good breakfast before you are out the door:
- Stock your kitchen with healthy breakfast options
- Prepare as much as you can the night before (gets dishes and utensils ready, cut up fruit, etc.)
- Get everyone up 10 minutes earlier
- Let kids help plan and prepare breakfast
- Have grab-and-go alternatives (fresh fruit; individual boxes or baggies of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal; yogurt or smoothies; trail mix) on days when there is little or no time to eat
For kids, if they are not hungry first thing in the morning, be sure to pack a breakfast that they can eat a little later on the bus or between classes. Fresh fruit, cereal, nuts, or peanut butter sandwich are nutritious, easy to make, and easy for kids to take along.
Easy Breakfast Ideas
The morning meal doesn’t have to be all about traditional breakfast items. You can mix it up to include different foods, even the leftovers from last night’s dinner, and still provide the nutrients and energy kids need for the day.
Try to serve a balanced breakfast that includes some carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Carbs are a good source of immediate energy for the body. Energy from protein tends to kick in after the carbs are used up. Fiber helps provide a feeling of fullness and, therefore, discourages overeating. And when combined with healthy drinks, fiber helps move food through the digestive system, preventing constipation and lowering cholesterol.
Good sources of these nutrients include:
- Carbohydrates: whole-grain cereals, brown rice, whole-grain breads and muffins, fruits, vegetables
- Protein: low-fat or non-fat dairy products, lean meats, eggs, nuts (including nut butters)
- Fiber: whole-grain breads and cereals; brown rice, bran, and other grains; fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts
Here are some ideas for healthy breakfasts to try:
- Whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk topped with fruit
- Whole-wheat brain/buns stuffed with sliced hard-cooked eggs
- Hot cereal topped with nuts or fruit sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or cloves
- whole-grain sandwich topped with peanut butter and fresh fruit (banana or apple wedges) and low-fat milk
- Breakfast smoothie (low-fat milk or yogurt, fruit, and teaspoon of bran, whirled in a blender)
- Vegetable omelet with whole-wheat toast
- Heated leftover rice with eggs