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Why is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Nov 16, 2009

A healthy breakfast refuels your body and replenishes your blood sugar (glucose), giving you the energy necessary to start a new day. In addition, a growing body of evidence indicates that breakfast is good for both your physical and mental health. Studies show that people who eat breakfast - especially a healthy breakfast - are more likely to:

  • Consume more vitamins and minerals and less fat and cholesterol during the day. While the reason is unclear, one study claims that increasing daily eating frequency is associated with consuming more favorable nutrients and fewer less favorable nutrients, such as dietary cholesterol.
  • Have better concentration and be more productive throughout the morning. Researchers believe this is due to replenishing glucose, the brain's main energy source.
  • Control their weight. There are several theories behind the association between eating breakfast and controlling weight. Researchers speculate that eating breakfast may reduce hunger later in the day, or that it may cause eaters to choose less-dense foods at later meals. Eating breakfast regularly may simply be an indicator of someone who adopts a low-calorie, low-fat diet.
  • Have more strength and endurance. People who eat breakfast - and thus have higher energy levels - may engage in more physical activity than may people who don't eat breakfast.
  • Have lower cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease. Research has shown that people who eat breakfast consume less dietary cholesterol than do people who don't eat breakfast.

While eating breakfast is important for all ages, breakfast is especially important for children and adolescents. According to the American Dietetic Association, children who eat breakfast are more likely to have better concentration, problem-solving skills and eye-hand coordination. They may also be more alert and creative, and less likely to miss days of school.

A healthy breakfast should consist of a variety of foods.

  • Fruits and vegetables. Consider fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, fruit or vegetable smoothies, or 100 percent juice without added sugar.
  • Grains. Choose whole-grain cereals (oatmeal)
  • Dairy. Consider skim milk, low-fat yogurt cups or low-fat cheeses, such as cottage and natural cheeses.
  • Protein. Choose hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, lean slices of meat and poultry, or fish, such as water-packed tuna or slices of salmon.

Choose a portion of healthy fat, lean protein, and carbohydrate to start your day!

Example: (portions vary depending on you)

1/2 cup cooked oatmeal sprinkle w/ blueberries

6 almonds

6oz Skim Milk



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