The beginning of a new school year is a good time to re-evaluate that morning breakfast rush. While parents, grandparents, caregivers, and health professionals claimed it the most important meal of the day, today’s grab-and-go generation often leaves breakfast in the dust.
There are many reasons why breakfast is important. Start with the fact that the body’s metabolism slows down at night and doesn’t speed up again until you eat something. Also, breakfast is the jump-start to your metabolism needs. It’s also a kick-start for your brain. One study on children found that kids who eat breakfast score higher on test.
Did you know that 25% of Americans do not eat breakfast? This number has increased continuously over the past years. So, why are so many people skipping breakfast? You don’t have time to make or eat breakfast. You’re not hungry when you get up. You think skipping breakfast helps you lose weight. Here are a few tips on overcoming some of these barriers for skipping out on breakfast:
If you are not hungry when you wake up, split your breakfast in half.
Before you leave the house, eat something little, such as a slice of whole-wheat toast and a glass of fat-free milk.
Pack a piece of fruit or a breakfast bar for later.
Plan and shop ahead of time.
When you are at the grocery store remember to include these three components for a great breakfast:
Carbohydrates - bread, muffins, rolls, tortillas, rice cake, or rice. Whole-grain versions pack a better nutritional punch.
Protein - go for the lean options, such as turkey bacon, egg, peanut butter, cheese, yogurt, or cottage cheese.
Fruit - choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried versions. For optimum nutritional value it is recommended 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, so breakfast is a logical place to start.
My favorite breakfast is a plain rice cake with crunchy peanut butter and sliced bananas on top. This is a simple and easy way for me to get all three of those components in for breakfast.
So, as you are shopping for back to school supplies and clothes, don’t forget to plan for breakfast to start your day off right.
(Kim Reid is the home and consumer health educator with the NC Cooperative Extension Service in Sampson County.)