A healthy breakfast consists of foods that are nutritious – this is good because you need a good meal to wake your body up and give you energy until lunch! Eating a “junk food” breakfast will let you down, because the sugar will wear off after about half an hour, leaving you even more tired than you were to begin with, and then you’re hungry before it’s time to have lunch. When speaking with the nurse at Garnet Valley Middle School in Concordville, Pa., Noreen Goetz RN, last week, she stated that one of the main problems she and the other nurses are noticing is that many children who are coming in the nurses office sick, have not eaten any breakfast at all, stating that they do not have the time. Besides the obvious health reasons, a lack of breakfast makes it difficult for nurses to administer medications to their students who are ill.
Why You Should Eat a Healthy Breakfast?
- Breakfast provides you with the energy and nutrients that lead to increased concentration in the classroom.
- Studies show that breakfast can be important in maintaining a healthy body weight. The body needs iron (an important nutrient) in their diets, which without breakfast they are sorely lacking and are more likely to have a higher body mass index (BMI), which is a sign they may be overweight. (kidshealth.org)
- Hunger sets in long before it’s time for lunch, especially if you arise at 6:00 a.m. or even before. Many people who have not eaten breakfast snack on foods that are high in fat and sugar, because they do not take the time to think about what they are eating from being so hungry.
- People who skip breakfast are unlikely to make up their daily requirements of vitamins and minerals that a simple breakfast would have provided.
- Breakfast provides energy for the activities during the morning and helps to prevent that mid-morning crash and poor choice of surgary foods by lunch time.
Healthy Tips for a quick healthy breakfast (www.jhsph.edu)
- Pick 2-3 foods, including at least one from each of the following food groups:
-bread and grain (i.e.cereal, toast, muffin)
-milk and milk product (i.e. low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk)
-fruit or vegetable group (i.e bananas, apples, carrots)
- Pick up easy carry breakfast items when at the grocery store. You should buy foods like fruit, low-fat yogurt, whole grain breakfast bars, or granola bars for those mornings when your children have to eat breakfast on the go.
- Make an omelette! You can shorten preparation time by chopping up your vegetables the night before or purchase ready cut vegetables.
- Get up 15 minutes earlier. You can fix and consume a healthy breakfast in 15 minutes or less.
- Plan ahead to eat breakfast. This means you should decide what you are going to eat for breakfast before the next morning. You can save time by putting out the box of cereal or cutting up some fruit the night before. Even more efficient, plan everything the night before, outfit, bookbag and breakfast. Give yourself a chance to sit peacefully and consume a healthy good meal.
What to look for in dry cereals
Cereal may be your child’s go-to item for breakfast, whether they grab a handful to eat dry while on the run, or they have time to sit down. Read the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list before you buy cereal. The key items to look for when choosing cereal are: (mayoclinic.com)
- Fiber. Choose cereals with at least 3 grams (g) of fiber per serving, but if possible, aim for 5 grams per serving or more.
- Sugar. Having sugar doesn’t automatically make a cereal unhealthy. But the healthiest choices have 5 or less grams of sugar per serving. The label lists total grams of sugar per serving, which includes both naturally occurring sugar and added sugar. Some cereals contain dried fruit, which has natural sugar and adds to the total amount of sugar. But these cereals may still be healthy choices if eaten in moderation. Avoid cereals that list sugar at or near the top of the ingredient list, or that list multiple types of added sugar, such as high fructose corn syrup, honey, brown sugar and dextrose.
- Calories. If you’re counting calories, choose cereals lower in calories, ideally less than 120 calories per serving. Some cereals have more calories per serving but can still be healthy choices.
- Milk. Young children, two and younger, still need all the fat and caloires that comes from whole milk for growing strong and heathly bones and brain development. For older children and adults however, whole milk can be a source of unwanted calories and fat, particularly in this era when so many of us are overweight. High cholesterol is also a concern to be aware of as it can lead to increased risk for heart disease later in life. To make matters more complicated though, there is certainly recent evidence to suggest that a diet with absolutely no fat or cholesterol is also not the best. Probably for most of us, one percent milk makes sense if we are drinking a glass of milk or pouring it onto our cereal. Some people find it too watery so 2% milk is fine to use. For families with older children, one percent milk should be fine for everyone.
It is important to note that all these different types of milk have pretty much the same amount of vitamins A and D, as well as calcium. All of them will provide what older children need for continued growth and strengthening of their bones.(life.familyeducation.com)
- A word about cereal bars. Cereal bars may be a good breakfast option. Just be sure to look for those that meet the same guidelines as dry cereal.
Some kids skip breakfast because they sleep too late or because they think it’s a way to stay thin. But skipping breakfast doesn’t help people maintain a healthy weight. In fact, someone who skips breakfast tends to eat more calories throughout the day.
How does your body react to skipping meals?
Your body goes into a ‘fasting mode’ when it starts using carbohydrates, proteins, and fats for energy. As fasting continues this is what happens to your body in medical terms.
As glucose (sugar) levels drop. the body looks for other fuel sources. The brain and nerves prefer energy from glucose, protein tissues (muscle and liver) are broken down (fitlaunch.com). Cells use it as a very important source of energy!
- Glycogen, is the body’s largest source of energy. The biggest storage sites are found in the liver and muscles. The energy storage becomes depleted during fasting.
- The body continues to protect itself and tries to preserve the remaining protein, the body starts metabolizing fat for energy in the form of ketone bodies (acetoacetic acid).
Ketones are used when the body runs out of energy stored in the liver and surrounding muscles. This process is know as ketosis. Symptoms of ketosis are:
- lowered blood pressure
- kidney disease
What happens to your metabolism when your body is in ‘starvation mode’?
Starvation mode generally kicks in around 1200 calories and when you go below this level, your body will start hoarding energy. Add this to teen who burns well above this amount in one day if she is active in sports, and we have starvation. How does this effect do to your metabolism?
- When you scale back on energy supplies because of a lack of fuel, the body starts to scale back on energy production, i.e. you are not able to preform your daily routine.
- Your metabolism slows down from a lack of fuel.
- Your body goes into conservation mode to protect its fat storage and uses lean tissue and muscle instead!
- Digestion becomes difficult because your metabolism is slowed.
Say as Dr. Mom always says, “Eat your breakfast it is the most important meal of the day!”